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“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, “We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.” True story. And so, the Devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.” And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor.” – Pat Robertson

UrbanFaith.com has posted an article on Haiti and their supposed pact with the devil. What do you think? Was there such a pact? Or is it, as one commenter at UrbanFaith said, absurd to think that “God conspires with the white man to enslave, but the devil conspires with the Black man to liberate himself?”

Here is a quote from the article by Lakita Garth-Wright:

“It is apparent to anyone who knows the history of Haiti that the real dealings with the Devil have been three-fold: First, its initial contact with European colonization and the satanic institution of slavery; second, the nearly century’s long embargo that the West imposed on the island as retribution for liberating itself; and third, the economic exploitation perpetrated against Haiti by those very same Western players in modern times, as well as the poverty prostitution the nation has been forced to perform for the Devil’s spawn — the Bretton Woods system and its minions. The fact that the Haitians themselves have had a hand in their own suffering is well publicized, sampled, looped, and mixed. But it takes two to tango.”

You can read the rest of her post here: http://www.urbanfaith.com/2010/01/pat-robertson-was-right.html#comments.

Ron

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“Could you talk a little more ‘Black’?” – White theatre director at my first professional acting audition

“Why you talkin all white?” – Black classmate of mine in Jr. High School

“Two things everbody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves” – Zora Neal Hurston (“Their Eyes Were Watchin’ God”)

Senator Harry Reid has come under fire with calls for his resignation due to a racial comment he made in private, but was recounted in “Game Change”. During the 2008 presidential election, Reid was quoted as saying that Barack Obama would probably be successful as a candidate because he was “a light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Well geez! Me and countless, and I do mean countless, other African-Americans said the same thing! Because we’re racist? No. It’s out of an awareness of the social climate we live in, and what facilitates success in a racialized America (by racialized, I mean race consciousness, not racist). 

  As a student enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University’s Theatre program, students were required to take voice and speech classes. Because the program was dedicated to training students who could perform the Classics, i.e. Shakespeare, Checkov, Moliere, the Greeks, we went through arduous training to not only learn other dialects, but also to unlearn any regional dialects we may have brought with us. The idea was that if we students were to perform the classics with our “native” dialects, some from Brooklyn “Nu Yawk”, England, Latin America, Texas, Russia, well… no one would really accept us as authentically living in the worlds we were trying to portray on the stage. We would lose credibility. As a foundation, we were all taught “Standard American English” (which most Americans do not even speak). Some African-American students resented being “stripped” of their dialect which they saw as a part of their cultural identity, and saw it as an attempt by “The Man” to coerce them into assimilating into “White” culture. Actually, it was a service to us (I am an African-American) by making us more  skilled in our chosen field. We understood the distinctives of black dialect, even if not all of the African-American students spoke in it.

Although I’m disappointed that people equate “Black english” with a lack of intelligence, nevertheless, there is such a dialect, and in many circles, no one who speaks poorly, or has a poor use of proper english, is seen as highly intelligent, fair or not (and it is unfortunate). And yet, there is a need to connect to the masses, on their terms and in their vernacular, or as Paul the Apostle has said: “To be all things to all people, that you may win some.”  The truth is most of us, Black people included, know that not all Blacks speak in “black english”, and so does Senator Reid, and that some do. That there are some who use “proper” english, and some who can do both when necessary. Reid simply acknowledged this fact, which only highlights the silliness of pretending we don’t know what Reid is talking about when he speaks of a “black” dialect. I for one, as well as many African- Americans I spoke with during the presidential campaign, commented on how Obama would go in and out of his “Black-cent” based on the audience and the message he wanted to send. So, attacking Reid for saying out loud what we were already thinking (Come on, admit it), is hypocritical. 

African-American conservative John McWhorter (due to the subject of the post, I’m intentionally pointing out ethnicity to show diversity of thought on this issue), a scholar, author, and linguist, who is fluent in five different languages (including “black english” I suppose ;-0), had this to say about the Harry Reid controversy: 

“In mentioning that Obama doesn’t speak in “dialect,” Reid acknowledged something many blacks are hot and quick to point out, that not all black people use Black English. Okay, they don’t – and Reid knows. He didn’t seem surprised that Obama can not sound black when he talks – he was just pointing out that Obama is part of the subset of blacks who can. He knows there is such a subset. Lesson learned. Indeed Reid implied that black dialect is less prestigious than standard, such that not speaking it made Obama more likely to become President. That is, he implied what we all think too: Black English is, to the typical American ear, warm, honest — and mistaken. If that’s wrong, okay – but since when are most Americans, including black ones, at all shy about dissing Black English? And who among us — including black people — thinks someone with what I call a “black-cent” who occasionally popped up with double negatives and things like aks could be elected President, whether it’s fair or not? Reid, again, deserves no censure for what he said unless we’re ready to censure ourselves too.”

You can read John McWhorter’s article here: http://www.tnr.com/blog/john-mcwhorter/reids-three-little-words-the-log-our-own-eye

Peace,

Ron

Dan, over at Cerulean Sanctum has followed up his last post, “Your Holy Spirit is W-A-Y To Safe”, with an addendum:

“Should churches see revival in the days ahead, I believe that those touched by genuine moves of the Holy Spirit are going to be those OUTSIDE traditional charismatic church venues. These will be churches where people have been earnestly praying for God to shake them out, churches filled with people most desiring of repentance, not charismata.” http://ceruleansanctum.com/2010/01/not-to-us.html.

Ron

Some conservatives have decided to publish a Bible that reflects “conservative” cultural values. According to The Conservative Bible Project, “As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible”, so they’re going to produce one with a word and thought translation that follows conservative guidelines designed to correct the other “defective” translations. 

For years I’ve warned Christians of  the dangers of conflating Christianity with political ideologies (liberal or conservative), and how good ideas become ideologies, and then under the right (and sometimes threatening) conditions, morph into full-blown idols with a life all their own. It looks as if conservatism is taking another step in that direction.

You can read Ben Witherington’s post on The Conservative Bible Project here:  http://blog.beliefnet.com/bibleandculture/2010/01/the-conservative-bible-project.html

Roc

Time magazine has published a major report on the desegregation of the American church: Can Megachurches Bridge the Racial Divide? http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1950943,00.html. The progress of  Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church is featured.

“Since Reconstruction, when African Americans fled or were ejected from white churches, black and white Christianity have developed striking differences of style and substance. The argument can be made that people attend the church they are used to; many minorities have scant desire to attend a white church, seeing their faith as an important vessel of cultural identity. But those many who desire a transracial faith life have found themselves discouraged — subtly, often unintentionally, but remarkably consistently. In an age of mixed-race malls, mixed-race pop-music charts and, yes, a mixed-race President, the church divide seems increasingly peculiar. It is troubling, even scandalous, that our most intimate public gatherings — and those most safely beyond the law’s reach — remain color-coded.”

(Hat tip to Ed Gilbreath at Reconciliation Blog: http://edwardg.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/the-desegregation-of-the-american-megachurch/).

Dan, over at Cerulean Sanctum, is asking “Why is the Church in America so timid and powerless?”

“When the Holy Spirit shows up in power in a church, the status quo changes. Those people especially touched by Him, ones who were often sideline sitters, suddenly are empowered to take on new roles and responsibilities within the body of Christ. The old ways of doing church fall into line with God’s way. Distracting programs and costly plans end up abandoned. Miracles happen. The charismatic gifts break out. And on and on. And that threatens a lot of people. Especially those in charge.”

http://ceruleansanctum.com/2010/01/your-holy-spirit-is-w-a-y-too-safe.html

After a long, unplanned, and unannounced sabbatical from my blog (please forgive the absence), I am now ready to resume blogging. I know that I’ve certainly lost some readers, but according to the number of clicks I’ve continued to receive, there seems to be a continued interest, as well as some new readers of old posts. So next week I’ll resume making regular posts, but there will also be some changes; to the links on my blog roll, maybe the look of the site, and possibly even a name change (all of which reflect some of the changes I’ve gone through over the past year). I hope you’ll come on board, and check it out. Meanwhile, with the coming of a new year comes new resolutions. Though I haven’t made any (I am working on my “goals” for the year), below I have posted some of my reflections on some of the things I learned in 2009.  I pray that we’ll all have a great and prosperous 2010!

Peace,

Roc

Life Lessons of 2009: Some Things I learned

– Regarding religious and political systems, ten years after The Matrix I still find that it’s better to take the “red pill”. Many people, however, are still not ready to be “unplugged”, and will always prefer the safety of the “blue pill” rather than the real deal (Colossians 2 and Matthew 23:37). 

– Following Christ and practicing religion is still not the same thing (Luke 10:25-37).  

– Crises that make a person weak and vulnerable to attack (divorce, sickness, depression, loss, etc.) will reveal true friends and supporters, while exposing false friends and hidden enemies (Psalm 35:10-28)… 

– …And yet, there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). 

– I’ve read it many times, but now know it to be true: Jesus did not come to bring peace (Matthew 10:34-39). Following Him will separate you from your idols, no matter how dear. He wants to BE our Peace. 

– God is merciful and just: He wastes no experience and is able to redeem our losses (grace always abounds more than our failures). And no one “gets away” with anything, so do not worry or retaliate returning evil for evil (Psalm 37:1-15). Forgiveness can be hard to give and to receive, but love wins out. 

– Gratitude is a key to joy, even in the midst of hardship. Gratitude and hardship; the two are not mutually exclusive: secret treasures are hidden in dark places. 

– Destiny may be an event in life, but it is also present in the moment, in the choices we make while walking in God’s will day by day (Proverbs 16:9). 

– Time flies, so it’s important to “number our days”, forgetting the past, enjoying life as it comes, redeeming the time by making the most of every opportunity. :-)

 Roc

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