Why Was Jesus Silent?

*Another presentation in the KIR continuing series of articles of the Steppin’ On The Feet Jesus Washed (SOTFJW) Project-Mission!
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I’m sure the religious right is going to ping me on this one but I’ve got to say what’s been on my mind for YEARS, if for no reason than to have a little fun (maybe start some shit)! And before any of you judge me: No, I am NOT a “lost soul” for thinking the following things. I am not being “blasphemous” or “disrespectful” of God, Jesus, Christianity itself, or any Christian. In fact, I happened to know more about God, Jesus, Christianity,and the Bible than most of you think! I’m also one who believes my sense of humor is a God-given gift! So to all you dissenting, please… do two things: lighten up and shut the fuck up!
Now…let’s go!

God gave Moses, one of the central figures of the biblical Old Testament, 10 commandments for mankind to follow and obey. It could be argued that God gave Moses what was needed at the time to keep his people in line. Another could argue that there were an AWFUL lot of equally important items God could  and probably SHOULD have covered when He took Moses aside for several days and had His little “Father to son” chat, but didn’t. I’m sure God had his reasons; He always does. (And you know, that often pisses me off! But hey; I’m a child of God too, so childish tampers and attitude is expected of me! Right Dad?) Anyway…
Generations later, God’s Son Jesus comes along. Jesus had 33 years to cover a bunch of stuff regarding man’s behavior, too! In his many journeys, Jesus issued some commandments of His own and even gave us the Beatitudes (you know, those famous “Blessed are they…” passages). But not once did Jesus – considered the central figure of the biblical New Testament – ever ADD to Moses’ Ten Commandments, the very things Man has ALWAYS fussed, debated, fought, and even killed his fellow man and woman about, since before, during, or after His time on Earth!
Inquiring minds want to know: Why exactly was Jesus SILENT regarding the following (but not conclusive) issues:

  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Masturbation (a BIG issue!)
  • Abortion (though there was probably a different word for it then, I’m sure there were women who had UNWANTED pregnancies!)
  • Alcohol use (not just wine, but BEER– yes, they had BEER back then; just ask the Egyptians!)
  • Music (always a BIG issue for EVERY generation!)
  • Drugs (yep, there were drugs back then; you’d have to be an idiot to think otherwise!)
  • Appearance (e.g. style of dress, hair styles, body art, i.e. tattoos and piercings
  • Terrorism (definitely lots of THAT going on!) 
    and let’s not forget another BIGGIE…
  • Respect for OTHER religious dogma or beliefs (Christianity was a NEW religion back then but after Jesus left, many of his followers threw out HIS book and took matters into their own hands, becoming REAL ASSHOLES to all the NON-Christians!)

I think Jesus Christ was absolutely a KOOL dude for his day. Never mind that it seemed rather odd that He wanted to leave us so shortly after the crucifixion and resurrection events happened. Never mind that He left everyone back then, through the centuries, and up to the present – with the impression that He didn’t want to stick around with us mere and awfully sinful, kill-your-own-kind mortals, any longer than necessary; and never mind that He didn’t want to rule HERE, on planet Earth, and save us from ourselves and, of course, from that gawd-awful Satan-person and his cronies – as many had predicted and really expected Him to do. Nah, I’m sure none of those things makes Jesus look any less kool!  Like His Father, I’m sure Jesus had His reasons for not saying or doing certain things to REALLY ensure we mortals would not spend the next TWO to THREE THOUSAND YEARS fighting amongst ourselves. And there is no need to imagine all that bloodshed over RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCE left in His wake, AND in HIS name!  History has most of that documented!

Hey Jesus! That shit wasn’t kool, bruh! It sure would have helped if you’d settled a shitload of issues BEFORE taking off to the heavens! That’s NOT what we’d call being “Savior of the world”. Because You left us in the lurch, is it any wonder we on Earth STILL make up fictitious superheroes or STILL look for our “salvation” in OTHER religions? The world STILL needs saving, bruh! I’m just saying!

Oh well; it just goes to show: like Father, like Son!  ANYWAY…

All that notwithstanding, I’d bet Jesus probably knew certain things (listed above) were PERFECTLY NATURAL in their occurrences, and that many of those certain things were simply…NOT AN ISSUE… not from His Divine point of view! And He probably thought we were being silly fighting over such things. Remember what our parents scolded us about “thinking when we could have been acting”!

Ok…that’s MY take! Now, let me get my umbrella so I can keep from getting hit with the shit that many on the religious right are going to rain down on me. Let it rain! I’m just having fun! LOL!
Keepin’ It…REAL!

Don’t Surrender the Night to Criminals!

The following post was made on Facebook a while back by a good friend:
“It doesn’t do any good to form anti-violence groups or anti-violence walks. The killers are sleeping during the day or trying to stay hidden from the crime they just committed the night before. They are up all night plotting the next victim, laughing at the groups, and planning more violent crimes. What really needs to be happening is, don’t put yourself in the position for something to happen. Be aware of your surroundings. Choose your friends wisely. Stay inside at night. Take care of you!”

My response:
Friend, I like, and for the most part, agree with just about everything you said, except for that last part about “stay inside at night”. As I’m sure you know, staying in at night is not always possible or practical for many people to do, particularly since many people work at night; some work indoors, other out. However, I understand your meaning and intention behind your words. Now, to be clear, if people decided to stay indoors at night – particularly out of fear of what could or might happen to them, then society freely gives the night over to the criminal element and law-abiding citizens would voluntarily restrict themselves to enjoying only the DAYLIGHT hours! Do you know that hundreds of stories have been written over the last few centuries about such a crippled society? Why do you think vampire and werewolf stories are so popular? Or why stories, like The Omega Man and I am Legend (based on the first film mentioned), zombie stories, and the Resident Evil, and Nightmare on Elm Street series, et al, are so popular, too?  People ALREADY fear the night and the darkness, and what COULD happen in an environment in which they cannot see beyond the silhouette of their own physical frames; a silhouette made by the light of the moon or that street light they just walked past.

Others fear whatever might be lurking in the shadows of the nearby alleyway. Furthermore, many people fear the darkness even in their own homes. They turn on the lights in every room or, at the very least, leave on timers, night-lights, and their radios and TV’s blaring in hopes of deterring anyone who might consider sneaking and hiding in the home to do them harm. Those more paranoid about darkness will, once they’re home, check every closed or cracked open closet door or window, behind bathroom shower curtains, and even the “creepy” dark basement and shed room – with flashlight and big broom handle, stick or worse, a knife or gun, in hand.

The darkness of the night is ALREADY well-feared by many in society…and, as you have said friend, the criminals KNOW this quite well. Therefore, it would not matter if one “stayed in at night”, for after a while, that person will realize that he/she has a self-imposed curfew for certain hours of the night, restricted from going outside until the supposedly “safer” daylight hours. Would you want to miss out on those beautiful starry, full-moon nights that God blankets the sky with several times in each earthly season? Would you want to rob yourself of that “evening constitutional” (aka WALKS) alone or with that special someone in your life, out on the street of a quiet neighborhood, perhaps to get some fresh evening air or just to enjoy a cigarette? Perhaps you’ve always enjoyed that evening walk to talk about the future with a special person, or walking the dog with your son or daughter, or maybe even waking alone and talking to your Creator. The simple things of life may seem to be gone forever as our times change but… that’s just it: it only seems that way! The answer is NOT to hide behind closed doors, or to avoid any job or situation that requires one to go out into the night. Danger and perhaps death itself (to borrow a biblical text) will always be “like a roaring lion; walking to and fro, seeking whom it can devour”.

Man realizes there is “danger in them there dark woods”, and so he meets his fear of the dark and its unknown by making light or FUN of it in the attempt to combat that fear. Man shows that while he respects the night/the darkness, he is NOT totally afraid of it. Being a free-thinking and strong-willed creature, Man will not easily surrender control of ANY part of the day of which his Creator has seen fit to bless him with!

And so, the results from the mind of Man are the stories, the TV shows, the films, and yes, the legends of the infamous “boogeyman”, which thrill, horrify, and stimulate that part of our psyche and intelligence.

The combative attempt Man creates to protect his freedom and God-given right to enjoy the night is for him to form active, LAW-ABIDING (not vigilantism), and often VOLUNTEER neighborhood watch teams and community anti-violence groups. These teams and/or groups watch and walk within his community so that a clear, strong, and demonstrative message is sent to the watchful eyes of the criminal element which, in effect, says to would-be criminals:

“TO THOSE CONSIDERING COMMITTING A CRIME IN THIS COMMUNITY:
BE WARNED: WE, IN THIS COMMUNITY, ENJOY OUR GOD-GIVEN DAY, AND  ARE NOT AFRAID OF YOU. WE WILL WATCH FOR YOU, REPORT YOUR LAW-BREAKING ACTIVITIES TO AUTHORITIES, AND IF NECESSARY, EVEN FIGHT YOU. WE ARE PREPARED TO GIVE OUR LIVES TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM AND OUR RIGHT TO SAFETY, PEACE AND HAPPINESS FOR THE SAKE OF OUR LAW-ABIDING FAMILIES AND FRIENDS!”

This is (or should be) the purpose of any neighborhood watch team and/or local community anti-violence group. Therefore friend, for you to say that having such groups “doesn’t do any good”, even when you speak from a perfectly understood frustration over the cancer of violence that continues to infect and spread in Michigan cities and others throughout the country, implies that we ought to simply give up trying to deter local crime! As a military veteran, one who has fought for the rights and freedoms for this country, and one who has walked the streets of a few curfew-ridden and restrictive societies in OTHER countries (which only became so AFTER the people there surrendered the night to the criminals), I am not prepared now, nor will I ever be willing to simply give in to the American criminal element so damn easily!

So, just what IS the solution for society to take back the night from the criminals? I really don’t know. But I like the fact that many of our cities have brave, LAW-ABIDING neighborhood watch team and/or local community anti-violence groups to help deter crime and do whatever they possibly can to protect us. While such teams/groups are deterrence to most crimes, they are not omnipresent; they cannot possibly see everything or be everywhere all the time to deter or prevent all the killing and violence that continues to occur in our cities. As citizens, we can help both ourselves and the brave men and women who make up these teams and/or groups by voting on approval of funding to employ, adequately train, equip, and pay even braver men and women to become uniformed police officers. The answers to local criminal problems often seem to be found within the local citizenry, and what it does, or does not do, in the interest of fighting crime!

Our world is challenged daily with domestic and international terrorism, and the destructive actions of deranged people or groups who seek to rob a peaceful society of enjoying the peaceful setting of a work place, learning institution, shopping mall, fast-food restaurant, theater or any public/social setting. As alive and thinking creatures, WE must discuss and debate with our neighbors, community leaders, and legislators, possible ways to combat that which threaten our enjoyment of life in ANY part of the day OR the night. WE must consider our rights and freedoms not only in this country but world-wide and what WE can do to bring back a more orderly, yet free society without necessarily robbing or restricting ourselves of the freedoms and rights to life and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Consider the following illustration drawn from my personal experience as a father:
A young toddler placed in a playpen or crib can move about freely but only within the confines of that playpen or crib. The toddler watches mom and dad (and maybe any siblings) move about freely outside his playpen. It isn’t long before the toddler too, would want that same freedom. Pretty soon, the toddler WILL make the attempt to…”escape” his “confinement”, which most toddlers successfully do …and much to the dismay of the parents! When my son did it at nearly two years old, his mother and I were shocked! We would later learn from other parents that our son’s actions was something many toddlers attempt to do from the moment they can stand and walk. The point for my illustration is this: if we restrict our natural-born spirit to be always being free and hide indoors during ANY part of the day or night due to a perceived (and, depending where you live, often justifiable) fear of danger and crime, it won’t be long before we would indeed get tired of staying indoors (aka “cabin fever”) and want to get back outside, on the streets, out into the night. Either way, the criminals will still be out there…waiting.

– From Detective Comics No. 33, November 1939

While TIMING is important for the commission of any crime, basically, criminals are (to quote from Bruce Wayne), “a superstitious cowardly lot.” Criminals do NOT operate or respect certain hours, or a set clock schedule in the same sense as most law-abiding citizens; they function on OPPORTUNITY! So be it day or night hours, including the hours past midnight, given simply an OPPORTUNITY, criminals WILL commit a crime. It’s simply what they do. We need to keep this in mind as we take LAWFUL measures to protect ourselves, our families, our homes and/or businesses and personal property. We need to keep this in mind as we support the brave men and women who group together and are willing to watch, patrol and help legally deter crime in our neighborhood communities and cities. Let’s figure out how to alleviate criminal OPPORTUNITY and LEGALLY beat the criminals at their own game! Let’s encourage ourselves, and others, to immediately report to authorities ANY crime(s) we see or know about. Let’s NEVER SURRENDER any part of our God-given 24 hour day to the criminal element! Let’s NEVER RESTRICT ourselves, our very lives, to cowardly rushing indoors at first sign of dusk or twilight, hiding out of fear of the awful things that usually happen at night! Finally, let’s NEVER GIVE UP our goals to always making our lives pleasant, enjoyable, peaceful and safe for ourselves and our families!
Keepin’ It….REAL!

Hire A Veteran!

I just received two more “qualified, but…” emails from potential employers recently. In fact, I’ve must have received ten, fifteen, twenty or more over the past few years. I’ve since lost count. I continue to get more frustrated, impatient, and definitely OLDER as I play this damn game of 3-card EMPLOYMENT Monte in this city, in this state (Michigan), and country as a whole! SOMEBODY needs to actually READ my resume, then at least CONTACT me to discuss further qualifications and experiences I may have, many which cannot POSSIBLY all be listed on a resume or job application form!  Oh, how I LONG for the days when one could simply PHYSICALLY visit a business looking to hire and actually MEET FACE TO FACE with a hiring agent! This whole “apply on-line/send resume/cover letter through cyberspace” thing, while having its benefits, is also a big NEGATIVE! There is only so much one can determine about a person from a simple sheet of paper!

EMPLOYERS: Don’t be hesitant to call or ask me to come visit for an interview if (according to the rejection emails and letters you’ve sent me) I happen to “meet many of the requirements your company is looking for”. Don’t add the word “but” at the end of that statement. Many of you have already FIRED some people who’ve only been with you for a very short time OR… that newly hired, “well qualified” employee found better pay and opportunity SOMEPLACE ELSE shortly AFTER being hired by your company!  Who here is NOT doing their potential hiring homework?HIRE an experienced, dedicated, loyal and committed VETERAN (like me!) ALREADY!
Keepin It…REAL!
Source: Dept of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics - October 2011

Source: Dept of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics – October 2011

Advice for New Writers

I would never allow a blind person to walk into a wall or into traffic if I have the means to prevent it. With that said, I thought I’d share a private message I sent to someone recently who has intentions on writing and possibly starting a blog. I know many people (not just the person to whom I originally sent this message) who are lacking in their basic spelling and grammar skills.  Mind you, I only sent this message to be supportive, not critical. Name and gender have been purposely omitted for this post. I am posting this as advice to my readers who also may have plans or knows someone with plans, to write or start a blog.

“Hey “X”. I hope you’re well today.

I understand that you are considering starting a blog. That’s kool. But I would not be a good friend if I did not give you some important advice before you start that venture. Now, you can choose to take my words as constructive criticism or something worse. However, I feel the need to give you some unsolicited advice for your own benefit and not as any personal attack to you or your intelligence. If you plan on getting into writing a blog, I suggest you first begin practicing proper spelling and language syntax in your Facebook posts and text messaging. I’ve noticed several times in both venues that you tend to misspell many simple, common, and often-used words. I never said anything before now because I understand that sometimes mistakes happen when one is typing too fast or can’t see very clearly what is being typed (particularly if typing from a smart phone or some similar device with a tiny screen/keyboard).

“X”, I’ve never before read anything you’ve written other than your Facebook posts and messages and phone texts. However, as one who has had nearly 40 years experience of writing (and proofing) all sorts of things from class reports to military personnel performance evaluations, to detailed lesson plans , military “how-to” instruction manuals, and more, my trained eyes will always automatically do a “laser-like” focus on any misspelled words, bad grammar, the lack or misuse of punctuation, etc. Usually, I catch such errors within the first few sentences or paragraphs of almost everything I read.  Mind you, I am not claiming to be perfect in my use of English syntax; I’ve made mistakes before and I still make mistakes; just not nearly as many as I used to! I’ve had years to learn from my mistakes and those of others.

We’ve chatted a bit about my new blog. Did you know that I NEVER draft any long blog or Facebook posts directly on-line? I ALWAYS draft such in MS Word first. I will read, re-read and then read a third, maybe fourth time, the entire draft. Then I’ll read it through one more time before posting/publishing on-line. I’m not suggesting that you need to follow suit; my method is caused by the perfectionist traits in me. Anyway, during the reading of my draft, I’m thoroughly checking for any errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, word flow, redundancy, and a host of other things too numerous to mention. I do not want my readers to ever misunderstand my line of thinking.

I tend to write less formally in my blog and Facebook posts. If any of my English teachers read my work, they would certainly make a fuss over my unique methods of the way I start and/or end some of my sentences! My computer’s Spell Check option works pretty well and catches many spelling errors in my drafts but it does NOT catch everything. In fact, I NEVER fully rely on any computer’s spell check feature! It’s really up to ME to confirm the proper spelling and use of words and phrases. I’ll check on-line any word or phrase which I have the slightest doubt about.

People often send material to me to read all the time. Some come from professional sources relating to my job in radio; other material are usually posts or links to stories, poems, or lyrics to some rap/hip hop song sent by someone who wants me to “like” or comment on their material.  If I cannot understand what someone is saying in their writings, I give up on any further reading. My philosophy is this: I can usually forgive a misplaced comma or misspelled word or two, even the use of certain slang in almost any letter or writing I receive. However, if a person has SEVERAL or rather MULTIPLE errors in his/her written work, especially assuming they have had schooling for how to use the most basic English syntax procedures, then that tells me that he/she did not care enough about their own work to be taken seriously by me or any other intelligent reader.

In the Navy, I often made many of my subordinates quite upset with me for “red-lining”  or marking up in red ink, their written work and making them do it over again to the point where I could understand what they wanted me to know.  I felt that it was NOT my responsibility to wager a “guess”, or make a “safe assumption ” for what was on the writer’s mind or what he/she was “trying to say” when they wrote their words. Over time, some of my guys improved their writing skills; others did not. Command of English and its written use (among other things measured by superiors in military service) are observed and monitored quite often. As such, guess which group I was more willing to recommend for promotion?  And yes, I follow the same “red-line” proofing methods with my teenage son as well. He hates it but after he gets the work right, his work earns a high grade from his teachers!  For the record, I wasn’t a total asshole in the military, nor am I now, with regard to proofing the written work or others. In fact, I always offer alternative methods for re-wording and/or restructuring, as necessary, certain things in someone’s writing. Next to the dictionary, a thesaurus is indeed, a very good friend… as is a person who has considerable experience and skills with writing.  

There is no reason for any high school graduate or one with at least a 2-year college degree, to write or communicate as though they were still in the fifth or sixth grade. Always bear in mind the INTELLIGENCE and possible READING levels of your TARGET readers. You do not necessarily need to write your posts DOWN to their reading level (although sometimes it helps!) but you should always strive to write AT or ABOVE that level – at YOUR level of reading and understanding. If you have enough words in your mental vocabulary and understand how to use them, this will become easy to do the more you write. However, bear in mind this one warning: if you ever attempt to write at a level far higher than your own (and I’m not necessarily referring to your formal education level) it will obviously and adversely appear in your writing! Nobody likes a fraud.

This advice has been given so that you don’t waste time writing and expecting others to read your work only to lose those readers due to them not being able to understand your thoughts and ideas. Do your homework: that is, read over a few times what you’ve just written. Che ck for errors. Change a word or two or re-write a sentence or two.  You should still write as you would orally communicate with others, however there is a very importance and distinct difference between written and oral communication. When speaking to someone, you can change “on the fly”, your use of words, the inflection given to each word, when to pause, etc. ORAL communication also allows for immediate, almost instantaneous feedback from the LISTENER. WRITTEN communication does NOT allow for any of this. Once you’ve submitted something to be read – be that a Facebook post, a blog entry, a text message, or a hand-written short note – those words CANNOT be changed instantaneously! The interpretation of your words – errors and all – is always left to the eyes and mind of the READER, who may or may not be able to ask you, “What the fuck??”

Reading anything should be fun or at least, easy; akin to a face-to-face conversation between speaker and listener. It should never be a chore for the reader to try to figure out what you, the author, is talking about. Be well.”

That’s it, people.  I’ve since added a few things to the message for the purpose of this blog post but the general content is the same. I believe “X” understands that the reason I posted this message here is to help other potential writers as well.
Keepin’ It…REAL!

Self-respect & Decency and the Freedom of Expression

My God! Is there no decency among certain women today? It is SHIT like THIS that makes me, as a Black man, ASHAMED to be a member of the Black ethnic group!. I makes me ashamed to be an American! Never mind the AWFUL tattoos or where they were placed. That’s only PART of the problem with this picture! These…”women” have NO sense of SELF-RESPECT, PERSONAL DECENCY, CLASS, or PRIDE about themselves! They are a DISGRACE and EMBARRASSMENT (yes, I SAID IT!) – not only to the classy, self-respecting Black women who have come before them, but to those same classy self-respecting Black women – and women of ALL COLORS and NATIONALITIES – dead and living today, who have worked damn hard, sacrificed an awful lot, giving of their livelihood and lives, just to make BEING A WOMAN a bit easier for their sisters (regardless of race), while at the same time, trying to earn the RESPECT of men, other women, their own children, and general society itself!  And many women of today STILL wonder why they get no respect!  To those women who ‘liked” this picture here on Facebook and actually support this, I say, “give me a fuckin’ break!” I am certain that if ANY of my three sisters did ANYTHING like this… AND placed such TRASH to be seen PUBLICLY, no matter how much my mother loved them, she would probably DISOWN them!

AND MEN: If you would fuck, date, or marry “women” such as the ones pictured here, I want NOTHING to do with you! For not only would you be ENCOURAGING SUCH behavior but you would be class-LESS by sheer association!! Yes, I SAID IT! YOU WOULD BE CLASSLESS!

I hold ALL WOMEN, particularly BLACK WOMEN (for I was birthed by one and RAISED by THREE, in far too high regard to simply give THIS picture a “pass”. My upright MALEness and my self-respecting BLACKness DEMANDS that I give scenes like THIS protest! Yet when I made these comment on Facebook, I got accused of being “judgmental”, “non-supportive of self-expression”, and “making too harsh a statement”.  In my defense,  I want to address such baseless accusations:

  • First, I think I reserve the right to disagree with whatever I see or hear, wherever I happened to see or hear it. I can CHOOSE to give it a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down“. In this sense, I have chosen whether or not I like what I see or hear. This is also called “making a judgement”. People make such judgments everyday for just about everything! This is exactly what I’ve done regarding this picture. I have not imposed on anyone’s right to freely express themselves.
  • Second, you would not find anyone more supportive of a person’s right to freely express themselves than me. For example, I sport tattoos and body piercings. I am never hesitant to tell a stranger who is sporting some awesome ink how much I like it!  However, I believe that the freedom to express one’s self comes with a certain responsibility to at least have some understanding for the perception and the message one’s method or style of such self-expression sends to others. If that method/style of self-expression offends or perhaps even endangers someone, then it offends or endangers and the offended or endangered reserve the  right to make comment or to protest. Not everybody is going to like or support the way a person chooses to express him/herself.
  • Although we may support the RIGHT of  others to freely express themselves however they see fit, we also reserve an equal right to disagree with that person’s method/style of self-expression. We can choose to either verbally or in writing (in print or on-line forums), that person’s method of self-expression. Again this is the same as us using the “thumbs up/thumbs down” method of expressing our approval or disapproval about something.
  • Finally, the first three points I made were instrumental in making the summation of my so-called “harsh” comments. Period. My comments are simply MY opinion and, like everyone else, I reserve the right to call shit how I see it. It’s called “being real” people! Some have told me they agree with what I said about this picture but yet felt I was “imposing on the right of the women  (in the picture) to express themselves”. Well, I DO NOT know anyone pictured here. I DO NOT know their names or anything else about them, therefore, they would be like any other “model” I’d see in a magazine or billboard and had made a comment about. My comments would have absolutely no effect upon those pictured. I’m simply making a comment. No one has to pay attention to what I say; they don’t have to like or respect my words. But…here in America, they have to respect my right to say it.

Keepin’ It…REAL!