Sunday, November 18, 2012

We Sisters be doing too much with the food

There are a couple of Sister girls on Youtube who I watch because they are so interesting and up on their game.  Youtube has become the vehicle for those sisters who are enterprising and entrepreneurial and have personality to go with it.  I admire them because they are maximizing the Youtube platform, and they are doing their fabulous thing, as well as becoming famous in the process.  Some of them have millions of hits in their Youtube statistics.  They inspire me to overcome fer and do my Youtube thing as well.

Now I said all of that to show my approval of these ladies, so that you will know I have nothing but love for both of these sisters. They are the bomb and I will continue watching their channels.  What I'm about to point out is absolutely nothing personal against these two sisters.  As I have stated, I have nothing but love for them both.  But I gots no love at all for the way they're preparing their food in these particular videos.  To me, it's just exasperating to watch them lay it so thick, and as I watch, I can make no practical sense of it.  It seems so over the top and extremely wasteful, frankly, and I can't help but wonder why so many of us cook like this.

When we cook, why do some of us have to go and put soooo much on it? What, exactly, is the meaning of this?  If what we're doing is trying to be cute, it's a total fail, in my humble opinion.

I've watched a number of chefs on the Food Network and other cooking networks do this same thing.  Are we sisters copying them?  When Emeril declares the wonders of "pig fat" and Paula Deen tosses butter, one stick after the other in her pan, I have to wonder why, and why would we mimic this?  My mom never cooked like this.  I remember my first introduction to this style of go hard cooking was with Patti Labelle's cookbook back in the day.   I was shocked to learn that her "Over The Rainbow" Macaroni and Cheese had FIVE different cheeses in it!  Say WHAT?

If its for flavor's sake, the above examples have gone far beyond that place where flavor peaks.  It may seem cute to pile drive the fat in your dish, maybe in homage to Emeril, Paula and Patti, but it's extremely extra, not to mention being detrimental to your health and life!

In the above video, Carolyn is obviously being cute with piling on the fat, for it's own sake. She was doing really good in the beginning of the video as she prepared her baked chicken wings.  It's obvious that this girl knows how to get down in the kitchen.  She's very fluent in kitchenese!  And she was doing so well with the baked chicken wings. But right about the 11:30 mark, she goes in as she prepares her "Double Stuffdt Burgers".  She stuffs and piles on the fat, and she keeps going in each minute thereafter.  She did bake the chicken wings, though, and for that I thank her.

In this video, Tina is dead serious about what she's doing.  As she prepares her "Creamy Cheesy Chicken Fettucini, she starts going in at the 2:20 mark.  At the 6:20 mark, she goes hard and adds another BAM! to her dish each minute thereafter.

My point here is not to lambaste these two very beautiful sisters.  But I will go in on the cooking styles they are choosing.  This is the type of cooking that destroys our health.  There's no two ways about it.  There's too many of us struggling with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, organ failure and an overall state of physical disease to be eating like this.  This overfattening of our food is what contributes to the lessening of the quality of our lives.  Decade after decade, Americans are getting sicker and sicker at younger and younger ages! Too many of us have made not feeling our best, our new normal.  We have gotten used to a much lower quality of health, and many of us accept it like it's just our lot in life.  We stay committed to our eating habits, even though we know they are killing us.

As women we are exercising power as we feed this type of food to our families.  We are hurting our children and destroying their health.  I know this sounds very harsh and hard, but it's the unvarnished truth!  We don't do it maliciously, but we do it none the less.  The question is will we keep doing it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wasted Fruit In The Hood

Wasted Figs in the Hood

We live in an over-abundant world.  God, in His infinite wisdom and eternal love has made it that way.  He has made it so we have more than enough, right here on earth. We have the makings of paradise if we would just look around us with "eyes to see".  We don't need to fret about material needs, because we have all that we need.  Do you believe it?  In the Holy Scriptures, Matthew 6:31-34 Jesus tells us:

Matthew 6:31-34(NKJV) 
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

A fig tree on A Street in East Oakland

I went to church this past Sunday and was excited and anticipating the preached Word being delivered by our friend, the Rev Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, Jr., of Trinity Baptist Church of Metro Atlanta, Georgia.  He's a preacher who can peel the paint off the walls of the church with his delivery and power, so I was looking forward to being in the company of the saints and listening to a Word from the Lord.

As I was driving and took my exit at Edwards off the 580 Freeway and came down the hill and made my way into deeper East Oakland, I looked around the hood as I always do.  Maybe I was checking to see if things were in place generally speaking.  So much goes on in the mean E. 14th St. between 73rd and 90th Avenues.  E. 14th is also known as International Blvd, a euphemism that mostly doesn't work.  There is so much pain and hopelessness here, both imposed by others and self inflicted.  But at the early hour of 8:00 am, it's relatively quiet.  I continue driving along the boulevard and turn right at 85th Ave, where the solid rock of Allen Temple Baptist Church sits, an oasis in the midst of the desert, or not, depending on who you're talking to.

I drive down a block and make another right on "A" Street and pull up to my normal parking place around the corner from the church.  It's a cool little space that's available to me most of the time, in spite of the many cars parked all around. This neighborhood usually fills up with the beautiful cars of the church family, an overflow from three modest parking areas for the church.  Allen Temple takes over the area within a two block radius with the kinds of cars that silently speak of having made it out of this hood - Mercedes Benzes, Range Rovers, Jaguars, and the occasional Cadillac.

So my little parking place is so cool and mostly available, because it's in front of the driveway of an abandoned house.  I've been able to get this space because many of the church folks don't realize the place is abandoned.   But I'm in the know, and I pull to the curb, partially blocking the driveway.  Now , I only have a block to walk to the church.  Ghetto perks, I suppose.

As I was parking this day, for the first time I notice a fig tree in the front yard of this house, by this garage. This tree has already dropped its fruit and is now approaching the end of its season.  I thought it was strange that I hadn't noticed this tree before now. It's not like it's hidden.  So I glanced at it and was struck by the huge amount of figs that were covering the garage driveway and the ground under the tree.  There were at least a hundred figs! All wasted and rotting.  I decided that this is one of those strange paradoxes of life.  I lamented to myself, then went on into the sanctuary and forgot about it.

Later in the week, I thought about it again and an analogy came to my mind.  The wasted fruit in the hood, laying there rotting and unused is like so many of the people in the hood.  Too often, because of the difficulties of life, they believe and accept whatever negatives they were told about themselves and their circumstances.  Too often because they don't get the proper love and care and positive affirmation, the negative things of life influence them and stunt their spiritual growth.  Because they don't know any better, and have no one to carry them to the pool of knowledge, they accept the narrow confines of their wrong thinking.  Because no one will put in the work of convincing them that they can overcome the negatives of life, they accept these narrow confines as inevitable.  When people - family, friends, associates and loved ones tell them and show them the lie that life is hopeless, and when there is no one there to bring forth the truth, then they believe the lie.  Consequently the spiritual light of life goes out and they fall victim, lay wasted, their talents and beauty dropped to the ground and slowly rotting away until the end.  What a tragedy!

I went back to the place by the church where the fig tree is and took a few pictures of it.  I can't help but think how sweet and delectable figs are, and how nutritious, healing and cleansing they are to our bodies.  Figs are known to help in lower blood pressure, and fig leaves are known to lower the amount of insulin needed by diabetics.  God has given us the food and medicine we need and in his love and attention to detail for us, he has made the medicine delicious!

I've noticed that the city of Oakland is filled to capacity with trees.  There are so many fruit trees in this city, it's not even funny.  My neighborhood the Fruitvale District is even named after the trees.  Here's a thought: If we as a community across this city would harvest the fruit of all of the trees, and distribute this fruit to families in need at little or no cost, we could put a dent in hunger and sickness in this city, killing two birds with one stone.  Of course this is something that would need the cooperation of the residents of this city all working in together in harmony and love.

As well for the people struggling to survive emotionally speaking, if we would make a point of blessing the lives of people around us, freely giving love and hugs and words of encouragement to the people we come in contact with, even if we believe they don't deserve it, we could help turn around the sadness of wasted potential in the lives of so many people in deep East Oakland.  Amazingly, God has given us an endless supply of love.   The more we spend the more God gives to us, so that we can never run out.

The world is full of abundance.  Do you believe it?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Black Woman Confronts Self Injury Disorder aka Cutting (of the wrists)

We are living in very difficult times, pretty much the world over.  We in the West may not be as poverty stricken as some countries when it comes to material resources (and that's up for debate) but we definitely have our share of emotional and mental traumas.  There is so much mental imbalance and emotional brokenness!  In my opinion, it all stems from a lack of love - both giving and receiving, and it's evident everywhere we look.  Our children often bear the brunt of this love poverty.

I was recently reading Blu Jewel's blog, someone who I recently subscribed to.  She is an intelligent sister who is a part of my large blog circle of friends.  I came across a post where she shares a very personal struggle that she has had over the course of her life.  She candidly and bravely talks about the fact that she had been cutting herself as a coping mechanism for an inordinate amount of stress that she had been dealing with in her life.  It's amazing to me how many of us are struggling with some trauma or another - and how we often are excellent at masking our pain.

In this piece that is published in its entirety at Up For Discussion blog, Sister Blu Jewel tells her story, so that we can learn more about Cutting, aka Self-Harm and how it affects the lives of so many young women and men.  As evidenced by Blu Jewel's story, it affects black women as well.  This dynamic of the disorder is under-reported.

Not Just for White Girls: Self-Harm (Part 1)

Introduction to Self-Harm
When we think about certain things, we tend to assign gender, sex, age, or skin color as if it, whatever we’re talking about, solely fits into that presumed category.  In reference to Self-mutilation, sometimes called Self-Injury/Harm, it’s seen as specifically a ‘white girl’ condition.  Well, I’m here to dispel that myth.  How you may ask…because I’m not white and can personally identify.
Please, refer to the link in order to gain a better understanding of what Self-Harm is.

Sadly, I had a difficult time finding U.S statistics for white-to-black ratios of those who Self-Harm.  But suffice it to say, the statistics would not be quite accurate as many African Americans, such as myself, do not report what they’re doing unless someone finds out and mandates counseling.  What I do know for sure is that it’s more prevalent than most of us think and it’s rising at an alarming rate.  My recent interaction with some college students (ages 19-22) determined that 3 of the 20 young ladies in the room had or continues to wrestle with self-injuring.  In addition, two of the students knew of other young ladies who were currently engaging in the behaviour.  Know this readers, this behaviour is less about a latent desire to commit suicide, but instead is predicated on some of the same reasons why people become anorexic, bulimic, promiscuous, etc.  Self-Harm is a coping mechanism adopted to manage stress, pain, discomfort, etc.
My Journey/Story
I began Self-Harm (SH) at age 13.  I am now 44 and didn’t stop until I was about 37.  At the time, I didn’t know my behaviour had a name and it wasn’t until my late teens that I began to understand it.  According to a British study on Self-Harm, 1 in 12 teenagers Self-Harm, with many outgrowing it by their 20's.  Personally, I feel their results are skewed because as I said before, they can only quantify what has not been identified.  Furthermore, some do not start until their late teens or early 20's.  My case went unreported until I was 25, which by then I’d already been cutting for 12 years.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Iyanla Vanzant vs Evelyn Lozada

Roundtable of war and grace  Anna Renee
Not too long ago, Evelyn Lozada's life made turn for the worse, when her month old marriage fell apart.  She accused her husband Ocho Cinco of domestic violence after he allegedly head butted her during a confrontation they had.
I have never watched her show, but had read things here and there about her out of control temper.  Some people were even commenting on Facebook that just because she has out of control anger issues, does not mean she deserves to be domestically abused by her husband.  Interestingly, many women feel she did deserve it - what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  She dished it out, so she should be made to take it. 
What I appreciate is when someone is able to look beyond the foolish behavior to the heart of the person  and what pain they are suffering through that often pushes them to act so out of pocket like Evelyn did.  And my sister girl, Mother Iyanla was on the case.  With her new OWN show, Iyanla, Fix My Life in the works, she has started earnestly spreading her gift helping women to see into their issues and heartaches and bad decision making. 
Thank God they had sights for our poor sister Evelyn.  In a society that worships beauty and wealth, we often feel no sympathy for people who are so endowed.  But the truth is, neither wealth nor beauty stands for anything.  A devastatingly beautiful woman like Evelyn can easily be the most broken creature walking around in stilettos. 
For many woman, our brokenness stems around our unresolved daddy issues. And Iyanla went in and quickly found that was the case with Evelyn. The episodes that were taped were so real and so raw due to Evelyn's realness.  So much healing came out of Evelyn's encounter with Iyanla.  It was a beautiful and very power thing to watch.  If only we all had a mother/sister/girlfriend like Iyanla, who can get right in our face with our stuff and tell us the truth about who we are.  All this time Evelyn was acting like a "thug among women" when really she was just a broken little girl still grieving the loss of her father at the time she needed him most.

iyanla vanzant2

iyanla vanzant3

iyanla vanzant 4
iyanla vanzant 5
iyanla vanzant 6

Monday, October 1, 2012

Are You Too Arrogant To Give Yourself Credit?

You have decided to work on a particular area of your life, and have made significant steps towards your goal of perfection.  You're no slouch either; you've put in work and can perceive a certain amount of success, although you're not satisfied with it.  You haven't reached the prize of the high calling yet, but you know that you're on your way.  Even your friends and family are noticing a change in you, although you won't allow yourself to celebrate your gains.  Why do you belittle, deny or ignore your steps in the right direction, rather than encourage your gains?  You do realize that you're being arrogant towards yourself, right?

It seems to be a human thing that we are always striving toward some goal.  We are always reaching for some prescribed box to force ourselves into. We do this, not for our own upliftment, but to comply with the ever changing opinions of nameless, faceless people who will never know us nor care to.   Whatever foolishness is currently floating on the winds of popular culture, that's what we too often mindlessly seek to have.  Whatever "they" tell us we lack as women, we mindlessly seek to acquire.    Yesterday, it was a zero fat body...except for the boobs.  Keep them fat and fatter by any means necessary.   Today it's having monstrously huge all costs!  The end always justify the means, even if you went to a back alley butt pumping party to get yours.  For many women, risking our lives is a small price to pay to conform.  We erroneously believe that in conforming, there is love.  BTW, seeking to conform is not solely a woman thing, not by a long shot.
But I digress.

So when you are working out, losing the weight slowly, surely, sanely, do you despise your small beginnings?  When you are building a new skill set, do you hate yourself for not already knowing, or for taking too long to learn?  Are you upset at yourself  because you're still answering phones at the job, and are not yet that natural hair salon owner?  Deep down, you feel you should somehow already know what you're now learning, you should never have gained all the weight, or you shouldn't have been so fearful in the first place.

Do you even know why you hate on yourself like this?  Do you know why you are so harsh in your unspoken self judgements and give yourself zero leeway in your growth curve?  Do you understand why you're this way, even when you're doing the right thing and see your positive growth?  It's a lack of emotional clarity.

Ok, to recap:
1. Self hate wells up within your heart when you aren't doing "the right thing".
2. When you decide to do the right thing, you're angry at yourself for not deciding sooner.
3. You hate your life during the process of doing the right thing. 
4. And the pièce de résistance, you hate yourself when you get the end result you sought, because you still aren't happy.    

All of this is kinda arrogant, you know.

Have you ever stopped to question whether you're correct in your self hatred, or do you arrogantly believe you're always right?  Sit down with a nice cup of tea and ponder these hard things.  While you're at it, take another sip of your tea and question your reading of your entire life.  Have you been well balanced in your conclusions?  Have you allowed self prejudice to come in and besmirch your true essence?  Be honest, now.  Have you negatively judged yourself in those milestone times of your life?  Well, that's alright.  You can be kinder and gentler to yourself now.  As Mother Maya Angelou has taught, "When we know better, we do better."  You didn't know any better.  You actually thought your negative self assessments were right, just because you made them.  You actually thought you were right when you called yourself a fat pig, ugly duckling, skinny stick figure, short and stumpy, dummy, etc., etc.  Now you know you were jacked up in your self assessments. 

Are you beginning to see the light?  Do you see where you were wrong all this time?  Good.  You have now freed yourself from the grip of arrogance, if you can now see yourself in a better light.  Maintaining this emotional clarity is a lifelong endeavor.  You are always a work in progress as you move to the place of self acceptance, but it's a journey worth taking and it gets easier as you go. 

Blessings and Happy Trails...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This Is Perfect for Today

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips. He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.
His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever..
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.
She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"
Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, "dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied "I ate potato chips in the park with God." However, before his son responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! Embrace all equally!
Have lunch with God.......bring chips.
Send this to people who have touched your life in a special way. Let them know how important they are. I did!!!!
God still sits on the throne. You may be going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that only He can. Keep the faith!
My instructions were to pick people that I wanted God to bless, and I picked you.
Here is the prayer: Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and e-mail buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings. In Jesus' precious name,

Ladies Who Love Boys Who Are Bad

Come on ladies, we're gonna talk about that Sexy... Fine... Edgy... Slightly Dangerous "Bad Boy" that turns us on and gets our juices flowing--our conquering juices, that is! What is it about this fine specimen of manly creature that is sooooo attractive to us?  Sandra Bullock is a prime example of this.  She was attracted to the man, Jesse James, a wild biker man, covered with tattoos and oozing with primal sexiness!  His deceptive boylike voice only added to his allure.  He's a contradiction, an enigma, a perfect project for taming!  But it just may be that the lion is not tameable.  Sandra  has been devastated by that bad boy, but she HAD to know he was "bad to the bone" Is his name Jesse James or not? 

 So what is really up with this phenomenon of the Bad Boy? 

In a word--Excitement! Yes, that man is edgy and challenging and we ladies like challenges just as well as men.  We also have competitive natures, just not necessarily in the same areas.  We want to keep up with this beautiful Bad Boy--to contain and control and domesticate him!  But let's keep one thing in mind about these Bad Boys--they are unpredictably predictable!  We kinda know that they are gonna do what they do, but we don't always know when or how or with whom. 

Now, instead of accepting this about this beautiful creature called the BAD BOY, and just flowing with it like water for chocolate, we ladies allow our mothering natures, our setting things right, nurturing natures to kick in.  And when dealing with that Bad Boy, who has been rebelling against his momma since he was 10 years old, this mothering nature is just not gonna work.  Simple as that.  He's a rebel! That's what attracted you to him!  So you have to let a rebel be a rebel!  The ONE THING a rebel loves and thrives on, it is when a woman like you or me tries to CHANGE HIM from being a rebel!! That's when he can really put the pedal to the metal in his rebelliousness!  That's when he can really be bad! That's when he comes aliiive!  

Now ladies, if you want that rebellious, sexy, Bad to the bone Boy, you have to accept him for who and what he is.  Do Not, I repeat, Do NOT try to change him.  Anyway, it just doesn't make sense to want to change him into that thing that you're not attracted to anyway.  If he humored you and actually changed, you'd probably kick him to the curb, and pronto! 

So in closing, ladies, I want you to repeat after me:  "I have no power to change my bad boy, and I will accept my bad boy for who and what he is, whatever his vice".

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Minds Are Not Our Own

We are living in times of much mind manipulation.  Various groups make huge profits based on controlling the minds of the people.  The new pharmaceutical companies are the best example of this ability to "herd" people.  In less than five year time span since they started their onslaught of the new drug commercials that appear on every network, they have been able to legitimize numerous drugs to us that we would never have accepted previously.   In the beginning of their manipulations, they resorted to tricks to obscure information about the negative side effects of their drug products. One trick was to use a speeded up voice over in their TV advertising when mentioning drug side effects.  Another was to list the bad effects in illegible small print.  They needed these tricks to make us accept the drugs.  Now we are mentally conditioned, and we accept what they tell us.  They don't have to resort to tricks anymore.  We are not outraged when they tell us their drugs may stop our hearts, blind us, give us suicidal feelings, give us TB, compromise our immune systems, etc.  We overlook these warnings and accept what they tell us are the benefits. 

This ability to manipulate and seduce people into acting against their own best interests is now commonplace.  The pharmaceuticals are not the only ones hard at work in this area.   It's also politicians, Corporate America, the government, presidential candidates and many more.  They use all forms of media to pump your minds full of their propaganda.  Once you accept their truth, you'll do their bidding automatically, and you'll think you chose the path yourself.  You have effectively been stripped of your own God given mind.  You are now a danger to yourself and society.

This phenomena of mind control is used by the ruling elites to the best effect. The "One Percent" has launched a mental assault on the American people in recent years, and have had great success.  It's a means to maintain their oppressive power.  Just get inside the heads of your targets - learn their hopes, dreams and fears and manipulate those emotions against them.  When the One Percenters barrage white America with negative racist imagery of people of color in general and President Obama in particular, they have an end result in mind.  If middle class American racist fear prevails, then the elite can use that fear as leverage for its own ends.  The racial fear is the means, the wealth of the middle class is the ends.  The fear of the President's race is used to strip the President in the eyes of white America.  He now becomes a black muslim racist nigger jigaboo - a mythic stereotype that needs to be neutralized.  This is how the ruling elite forces the middle class to turn against their own interests.  Do we have any defense against this?

In First Corinthians 2:16 of the bible, we are told that we have the "Mind of Christ". What does this mean? It means that we have the ability to discern good from bad, truth from lies, what makes sense from the non-sensical. But we to have Truth as a foundation.  We have to be connected to God alone, not a charismatic leader.   Often, these leaders are deceptive and quickly become self deceptive.  They start to believe their own lies, and that's where the danger lies. 

Our minds are like gardens - they need to be properly tended. We should water our minds with God's wisdom and his Word.  The very heavens and nature itself shows forth the glory of God.   In fact we often sit out in nature to get our heads and minds together and ponder deep issues.  The Power and Beauty of God is reflected in all of nature itself.  Let's use our God given minds to the glory of God!

Friday, March 2, 2012

What Bible Version Is Best?

I love books and I love browsing in bookstores and libraries.  I've gone to bookstores and have browsed so long that I make the bookstore staff suspicious of me!  I imagine they're thinking, "who is this weirdo?" I can easily browse for hours at a time.  In the past, my favorite sections have been the self help and spiritual sections but these days the religion section is my favorite.  Since I've become a Christian I have coveted the bible in all its versions, as well as Christian books of all kinds. 

I have found a Christian bookstore in my neighborhood called Tammy's Bible Bookstore here in Oakland California and have lingered there for hours making comparisons of Bible versions and prices.  The sales lady is kind, curteous and helpful, yet I wonder what she thinks when I sit on the floor looking at the books?  She's always careful to smile and let me know that I'm not crazy for doing it.  It looks like I'm a mess, but I'm trying to insure that I'm buying books by people who are real about their testimony!   I feel a little self conscious when sitting on the floor, but what can I say? I'm only blessed by truth tellers!

Over the years, I've amassed a little cache of spiritual weaponry.  My little bookstand overflows with  my bible versions and testimonials and teaching books.  But I especially love my bibles, and can barely read one version at a time.  I usually read two at a time and keep a third to check certain verses that I need translated.  I love the King James Version for it's poetic flow.  I also like the New King James for eliminating the thees and thys and other old words while keeping the beautiful poetic flow.  The New Standard Revised edition reads in an interesting way because it reworks sentence structures of the verses. I like the Message for its modern American idiomatic style - it reads like poetry as well.  I dislike The Message for the same reason.  The New Living Translation version of the Life Application Bible was valuable to me in the beginning of my studies because it teaches from the perspective of the proper heart attitude that we should have as Christians.  I also enjoyed the breakdowns of the historical, political and social settings in the different time periods; and because it gives a synopsis of the personalities of the Bible. But my favorite is the Amplified because it expands on Greek and Hebrew definitions of certain words within the verse itself.  I don't have to look up words in concordances.  My flow is not disrupted as I read, and that helps my understanding of the original meaning of the Scripture.

So there it is, my chaotic little Bible study! I'm doing my best to understand as much as I can, as God gives it to me day by day.

What version of the Bible to you love?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Men's Strategies For Fighting Sexual Addiction

Men are being lured into the hellish underworld of internet porn in record numbers.  Too many of our men are being caught and exposed living double lives - holding positions of trust within our communities by day, and sexually victimizing children by night.  From mugshots, their vacant eyes stare back at us.  We are shocked that this is happening. Statistics tell us their victims are often as young as 8 and 9 years old.  Often the horrors these children have endured is unspeakable, so we close our eyes and stop our ears.

Not too long ago the news would report of raids in random houses in suburbia.  These brothels were filled with traumatized Asian girls, who didn't speak our language and had nowhere to go for help.  We now became familiar with the term "human trafficking".  These girl were smuggled into our country and forced into sexual slavery, and we were repulsed and angered that this was happening here in America.  What we never imagined was this fate could befall our own American children.  Unfortunately, the tsumani of human trafficking has reached our shores and is threatening to drown us.  We are overwhelmed and ill prepared to respond.  Now it's OUR children who are disappearing into thin air. 

In times past, western men went to foreign countries to indulge in exotic sexual trysts with women of different cultures. It was seen as a sexy, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" type thing.   Things have changed drastically, and now the ugliness of internet porn has replaced those "sexy" global excursions.  It's now child pornography and it meets our men right in their living rooms.  It's no longer about pleasureable exotic destinations and beautiful foreign women.  It's now about ugly, brutal rape, sexual domination, degradation and bestiality.  There's an onslaught, an all out war on men and they are losing - their jobs, families, money, community standing and self respect - in short, their humanity.  As they are dragged deeper and deeper into more violent and perverted things, most of them are overwhelmed by it, and dont know how to escape. Many men are compelled to act out the demonic fantasies in reality. An increase in abductions and murders and abuse results.  Can we help them?  How?

Human trafficking is a billion dollar global economy and is second only to the brutal drug economy, with all of its murders and devastation.  Human Trafficking has already surpassed gun running in terms of profits. Why has child pornography become so pervasive?  Why are men consuming so much of it and why are they responding to it like a hard core drug? What is the emptiness of a man's heart which is not being addressed?  What is the remedy to a man's sin sick and broken soul?

The insecurity, the stress and the pain of life as a man in a man's world is the reason.  The pain of a man being required to deny his human emotions. The fear in the heart of a young man concerning the meaning of manhood. The false ideas and confusion of what being a man is truly about.  Society doesn't even allow men to sit down with each other and wrestle with false ideas of manhood - that's perceived as weakness, which is a death blow to a man's self image.  Who can a man let his guard down with and be real without being seen as a "punk", a meaningless yet fearful term that is blown out of all proportion in a man's mind?  Men aren't allowed acknowledge emotional pain to each other.

There is hope.

Though the internet is a gateway to ravages of child pornography and also fuels human trafficking the same internet is also is a gateway to the answer and the road to healing.  The internet's potential is its ability to create that roundtable of war and grace where issues and pain can be talked about and shared.  Because of its anonymity, it's the ideal first step, a cyber-place where men can gather and get the hard stuff off their chests.  In the right online community, they can allow themselves the luxury of being human and dealing with situations in their lives while remaining anonymous and without having to fear judgement.  Men are very talkative and real in the privacy of the internet.

Jesus Christ is the answer.

In seeking the help needed to overcome the grip of sexual addiction, Jesus is the answer.  He is the non-judgemental healer of men's hearts.  He is a man's man, tempted but never sinning, the ultimate role model of true manhood. He's a warrior in the time of war and a man with a heart of love at all times. He's acquainted with the pain you are feeling.  Jesus redeems men's souls and grants freedom from all addictions.  There is no better way, but through Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

There are many men who have gone through the fire and the storm and have come out free on the other side - through a relationship with Jesus.  Jesus teaches what manhood is truly all about, and  He grants His peace to a mind caught in the turmoil of self hatred.  His peace passes all understanding.  He's a heart fixer and a mind regulator.  Through walking continuously in relationship with Jesus, you can learn what it means to be fully human, free from the power of lusts that would ensare you - and filled with joy, self love and self respect and also respect from those who truly love you, in spite of a fallen world all around you.                                              

Important tools and methods for recognizing, acknowledging and fighting against sex addiction