Sunday Mediation: We should make time for public confession

12 08 2013



Yesterday in Sunday School we discussed Nehemiah 9, when all the exiles of Israel gathered for a public confession. I asked the Sunday school group if there were instances when our church community opportunities to confess our sins. Struggling to come up with examples, we decided that specific public confession isn’t necessary because we need our privacy and it’s difficult to trust others. It’s more appropriate to choose a few people that we can trust to confess our sins.

However, this answer didn’t sit well with me. If we cover sins in private, how can our community ever heal? For example, some women may suffer from domestic violence and unfortunately, I don’t hear people in church talking about it often (except well, when the preacher last week said that prayer can stop abusive spouses). What if, we gathered like the Israel and called out public sin? How fast would our communities heal then?

The worship service featured Dr. Lonise Bias, a nationally known motivational speaker. She spends her life working with women and children to battle mental health and live their lives to their full potential. In 1986, she lost her son to drug overdose. A mere four years later, her younger son was killed in a drive by shooting. In the sermon, she discussed the excruciating pain she endured in the following years. She remembers her own pain to decimate violence and drug use in our communities by starting nonprofit foundations and mentoring women.

Dr. Bias used a form of public confession in her sermon. She lamented: she explained how she laid in a hotel room screaming and crying a year after her son’s death. She prophesied: she warned us of the dangers of drug use. She expressed that after hearing her story, several people told her that they’ve stopped using or resisted the temptation to try cocaine. In a section of her sermon when she encouraged parents to be the primary influence of their children, she mentioned briefly that media that features violence against women affect our boys negatively (I’ve NEVER heard anyone talk about violence against women in the pulpit in this way).

Dr. Bias was not general; she was very specific about the sin of drugs, gun violence and violence against women. She was specific about her lament. She didn’t hide behind spiritual generalities and trust that the congregation would just get it. We have to spend the time in public confession, and make the time to call our specific societal sins that affect us all so we can address them as a community and change the minds of our people.


31 Write Now Blog Challenge

2 08 2013

I’m already behind!

Luvvie of launched her second 31 day writing challenge, and i saw it and said, I should do that!

I’ve been blogging sporadically for about 10 months now. I haven’t been regular because I can’t find the focus to figure out what I want to write about.

But I’m so full of ideas. I know I want to write more.

I’m joining this #31writenow day challenge, a day late of course,  I’ll post something everyday to this blog to force myself to write down my thoughts and join in the public dialogue.

Who else will join me?

5 Things I’m Getting Over…Natural Hair Edition

5 07 2013

Last year I cut and combed out my locs, leaving me with about 6 inches of nappy hair. Before I wore locs, I pretty much only wore coils or two-strand twists. I NEVER moisturized my hair, except when I washed it. I knew nothing of proper hair care, and this time around, I was determined to learn. So I watched every video, tried numerous products, and spent hours trying techniques to keep my hair moist and healthy. But, I realized, these techniques are time consuming, expensive and sometimes unnecessary! So I’m over it. Here’s the list:

1. Defining my curls. Why? No amount of gel, pomade, water or butter will give my hair that curly curly look. It’s just the way it is.

2. Twisting my hair every night. I don’t have that kind of time. Plus, if I wake up and my hair looks like Don King, great opportunity to rock one of my fabulous scarves!

3. Pre – poo. Before I wore dreads, I knew very little about all these natural hair terms, pre -poo is one of them. So I began pre – pooing before every wash after the dreads were gone. Between pre – poo, shampooing, conditioning and styling, wash day could take four hours! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

4. Avoiding the trim so I can have length. So after I cut and combed out my dreads, I KNEW I needed a serious hair cut. But I didn’t do it. For a year, my apartment was always covered in tiny curly hairs because the damaged ends were of course, breaking. And my hair LOOKED damaged. Straggly ends, an uneven fro, it was a mess. FInally in March, I got about 3 inches cut off. It was shorter, but the hair around my apartment was greatly reduced. It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.

5. Hair typing. When I first learned about hair typing about a year ago, I was excited there was a name for my hair. I struggled to make my tight coils fit into a category though. I studied the descriptions of the type 4 categories, and none of them fit. So forget it! My hair is my hair, type Emma. And nothing else.

Fillibustering or Fasting?

30 06 2013

State Senator Wendy Davis of Texas fasted for the women of Texas last Tuesday.

            How did she do it? With a filibuster. Wendy Davis talked continuously against an abortion bill that would shut down 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics, and it would ban abortions after 20 weeks from 11:18 am until midnight. She was not able to sit down, eat, drink water or take a bathroom break, or the filibuster would be invalidated.

            But fasting is typically an internal Christian spiritual practice right? Not necessarily.

            The prophet Isaiah once admonished the people of Israel to fast not only for spiritual clarity but also to create social change. He said, “Is not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaish 58:6)

            Wendy Davis lived out this Scripture last week. She said nothing about the fast she will endure, but instead, she stood for 13 hours about the consequences of this prohibitive abortion bill.

            Many Christians endure physical discomfort as a spiritual practice. The Apostle Paul glorified this type of suffering, repeating his experiences over and over again through his many letters. For Paul, suffering shows his own humanly weakness so that God will be elevated. (2 Corinthians 11:30) Early Christians took these words of Paul and implemented self-suffering for spiritual practices. Some people went without basic needs such as food or sleep for days. Monks endured days long fasting to be connected spiritually. Some early European Christians voluntarily participated in flogging.

            These Christian practices provide spiritual healing and clarity for many, but it’s an internal and individual revelation. Spiritual disciplines mark someone as Christian, however, while someone fasts, people still go hungry. Some people endure pain willingly, still their neighbors endure domestic violence, or people don’t have adequate health insurance and desperately need medical attention to alleviate pain.      

Last night, SB 5 in Texas failed because Wendy Davis went without basic needs for 13 hours. When she fasted, things changed. The spiritual practice became not internal, she did not do it for her own needs, but external, she did it for the needs of her community. 

Jeggings. Ick.

9 06 2010

I surf shop when I’m bored. Last night I was on looking at jeggings. Now, I was aware of  these leggings posing as jeans in the fashion world, but why did you have to name them jeggings Express? The word sounds like something you do not want to say aloud. Like slimy. Or jiggly. Or Jello. (I have a problem with the word Jello. And the food.)

Secondly, fashion continuously makes clothes that most women have to squeeze into. I was so mad when skinny jeans came into style, until I found out that I could squeeze my hips and thighs and calves into them and look ok. I succumbed to the pressure. But jeggings? Once I conquer one fashion hurdle they challenge me further! Well, Express. I quit. You win. I am not wearing something that is named something that sounds gross.

Janelle Monáe

3 06 2010

I have to admit. I knew about Janelle Monáe’s album. I just chose to ignore it. Well, not quite. I sampled her music on iTunes and decided that it sounded to weird for me. I did not want to hear another genre bending album because I am still traumatized by Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak. What was that album? I’m sorry, but no one wants to hear you whine about something for ELEVEN effing tracks. Seriously. AND it was all autotune!  You guys don’t understand how much I HATED that album. Ok, tangent over.

So, I waited a full week before I downloaded  ArchAndroid. Biggest mistake ever! Because this album is awesome! There is a new level of creativity to her music. She borrows from many genres, pop, R&B, hip-hop, rock, even movie soundtracks. Some tracks  sound like it should be the overture for a epic movie. If you are looking for a poppy hit, listen to “Faster” and “Wondaland”, if you need a soulful ballad “Sir Greendown” and “Say You’ll Go” has it. “Mushrooms and Roses” transports you to a outdoor summer concert scene where everyone is cooling out. Her topics range from toxic love to achieving goals and staying motivated. Janelle Monáe is like the Outkast of Neo-Soul/R&B, and you can hear her influence from Michael Jackson, especially in “Locked Inside”. Whatever mood you’re in, this album has it. It is what lovers of music have been hungry for. Janelle Monáe’s ArchAndroid gets an A+. Stop whatever you are doing and download her album.

Confessions of a loveHATER

2 06 2010

I hate love. It kinda started with my distaste for love songs. Seriously. At one point in my life I cringed every time I heard one, but now I can tolerate them. Why do people spend so much energy on love? All it does it make you do crazy things. And makes you really tired. It’s probably why I’m so passionate about music, books, and movies and other pop cultural elements because I refuse to love.