NOT Again! Black Lives Still Matter

Hmmm…now I intentionally removed myself from social media for a while to refresh and to focus on my books and other business ventures…yet, in the last few days I’ve allowed myself to  indulge for maybe 30 minutes a day or so to play catch up. I wish I could say that it were not more of the same…yet, with one scroll the other day, I saw what I wish I hadn’t:

The shooting of another unarmed black man!

I said I wouldn’t write about it. Yet, as I attempted to reflect on what it meant to be God’showed beloved. As assigned, I relected on my reading of Tattoos on the Heart, meditate on Jeremiah 31, and spiritually discipline myself to explore one of many specific prayer approaches as assigned, I found fingers vomiting my pain on the keys annyway..so I wrote…I shared…surprisingly, I didn’t cry this time…

As I perused section seven, I was tempted to attach myself to the Breath Prayer again. It was familiar and comfortable.  The labyrinth prayer seemed too complicated while the conversational prayer seemed far less intimate. I’d been a part of an intercessory prayer group a few years ago at my former church. We would meet once a week at 6 am and pray for our neighborhood, the members, the country, specific prayer requests, and the like.  It had been a while since I felt comfortable enough to join a group like that since my move. Yet, a few months ago, I was confronted with a situation that unfortunately mirrors the events of this week to my dismay. I joined hands in prayer during our bible study with those who didn’t look like me for the sake of intercession.

Another unarmed black man was gunned down by police and freedom of speech allowed the world to see it unfold. I wish I hadn’t been privy, but I and millions more were immediately embedded at the scene of the crime.  Crime, yes, it seems a suitable ploy to use deadly force, but since when is having a stalled car a crime? I remarked once before that God knew exactly when to allow me to live because had I lived during slavery, my outspoken butt would have surely been lynched.  I joked about the prospect of something like that happening now at the time, but the eyes in the sky depicted all too well that at least in some people’s minds nooses have all but taken on a different guise; one smaller, faster, and more potent. A bullet is a tiny thing, yet when fired in the wrong direction, it promises to do the heinous job…Hmm the job…Some say the officer was just doing her job, but I wonder when her job description morphed from serving and protecting to killing and neglecting. I wonder whether the bullets that escaped her resolver had merely been in safety mode in her heart for years prior to the moment she killed an unarmed father of four.  

Anger… No, I believe I’m beyond that phase now. I’m numb. I don’t know what’s worse: that I heard about it or that I saw it.  Perhaps it’s the fact that this father was slain quite possibly in front of his own four children…considering how quickly the news spread online I mean. I can only imagine the pain that gripped them.  So do we still have the right to remain silent? Do we have the right to remain aloof? Do we have rights at all in this country who replied “no” so long ago to the chains slavery promised? Oh of course not.  At least I can say that I wouldn’t because as an inevitable consequence, my blackness reminds me daily of the cries of my ancestors slain for just being. So I find myself wondering where I fit into this.  Why I fit into this? How can I get out of this? Where would I escape if I could? I have a son who likes to play basketball at the church near his high school.  There games usually last until after nightfall. I covered him yesterday morning because nightfall and blackness don’t mesh well nowadays. I even found myself smiling in relief that even at 18 he seemed more engulfed with video games than being outside. At least on video games the guns and blood spilled won’t require a eulogy when the game is over. Yet, Terrance was executed in broad daylight wasn’t he? So while I originally thought my prayer would be a breath prayer, I found myself breathless when I saw the footage. There were no words save, “My God!” I cringe at the thought that one day I could get that call or worse that I wouldn’t have to get the call because it would be plastered online and on the news.  My daughter said a while ago that if she had a loved one to die in some public and horrible way that she would not want to hear about it every time the same thing happens to another person.  She mentioned that those mourning the loss are inevitably trapped in a vicious cycle of perpetual grief because when Terrance was killed so was Alton.  And still when Sterling was murdered so was Philando and the list goes on. Oh wow, I almost forgot, the latest was Keith.  So my prayers this week have reluctantly transformed from breathless sighs to heart-piercing cries for intervention! I am sickened by the reality of which I live when I see direct evidence proving that Boyle’s pages are perhaps futile attempts to change that “lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.” Yet, I find safety in the knowledge that despite the carnage and disruption of culture and character in our nation, God’s word in Jeremiah 31 gave me hope that we would know Him intimately in the aftermath; that He would not punish us for the sins of our forefathers.

So with mercy that has been afforded me by my loving Heavenly Father I digress and choose to not do the same to those who do not share my skin’s hue. I recall the time when God first arrested my attention with the word that gave meaning to my last name. Beloved. When it was posed initially, it was a question. Will you be loved? In time I learned to receive and I agreed to be loved.  Now my prayer is how to show my nation to do the same.

 

 

Gated but still not protected

I hadn’t planned to write this…to share this…I hate that I’m now even aware of this at all, but this headline met my gaze any way:

4 Children Stabbed to Death in Memphis, Mother in Custody

I saw the pictures taken…one showing the young lady allegedly responsible for the heinous crime as “normal” and the aftermath.  I wonder just how normal are those who decide to kill.

I deliberately refused to write about the events in Orlando a few weeks ago because sometimes the best thing to do is be silent.  After all, if you’ve not loss someone in that manner, what true comfort could you offer?  It was not a time for what erupted afterwards.  I found myself ashamed for a moment of being a Christian.  I’m glad that moment only lasted a Nano-second. There were just so many stupid and hateful comments made about the “gay community” from those who claimed Christianity as their “religion” I was sickened by them and so I didn’t add a note to combat the drudgery of it all.

However, as I came across this headline in the middle of writing my final paper for a social justice class, I found myself recounting the bout I’d experienced with mental illness, domestic violence, and the residue it creates.

My heart bleeds for the survivor….only 7 years old, but a witness to an evil manifestation. At a time when families were readying to celebrate Independence Day with Barbecue and Fireworks…a child needed to escape to save the only life they could, their own… one can only wonder whether this mother felt she had no choice because her life as she saw it was already over…that for whatever reason perhaps she saw her children as demons…I’ve heard that those who suffer with schizophrenia have those types of delusions…I’m no expert in that respect so I’m just saying what I’ve heard… perhaps she thought it a nightmare…perhaps she was incapable of thought at all as the stabbings continued…

Tell me…to the left, would you suspect this the face of a killer?13512165_10154233067537095_5477815541642010580_n

However, another look at the picture, the right shows the disturbing reality.

Mental Illness is real and needs to be addressed…you never know what a person is enduring…don’t take “I’m fine” at face value…for years before my mother’s diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, I got used to telling people that I’m fine too.  I thank God for His saving grace because without it I could have snapped too…the things I endured weren’t pretty, but I’ve overcome.

Father, I am so grateful for choosing me to thrive beyond what happened to me.  Thank You for reminding me of the gifts You provided me in my children. Thank You for the times we’ve bumped heads. Thank You for the lessons learned and those that I had to take over again. Father, please be with this child who is left.  Help this baby know that You are there.  Please Father, even help this distraught mother.  Help her get the help she needs.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

I’m Pissed! My Misery is My Ministry

This is the face of a victim: DEAD

 

This is the face of another victim, her assailant:fOOL

Amazing how he already had a mug shot or two floating in the system……

The first picture was once a mother of two young girls.Her body was found the other day only minutes from my apartment.  The report says that the children were returned without harm obviously before the worse could be done to her.  How could they assume no harm was done to the children? I mean even if their mother was alive at the time they were let go, they will still have mental and emotional scars.   My son was four years old when he witnessed me being beaten!  Only now have I even considered that it wasn’t just one punch after all…that he did repeatedly punch me.  As if a broken nose weren’t enough, my glasses and the coffee table had to match I suppose.  He’s 18 now and still remembers.

There was definitely harm done. There was definitely a reason for alarm.  Obviously I am angry with this situation, but not just because of the outcome.  I’m angry because I know that there were signs.

There were signs I ignored in the beginning.  I guess I even ignored them up until that last night.  Even now as I recall events,  I tried to seek help to no avail.  On a day that should have been one of my happiest, it was one of my most miserable.  I had just graduated from the University of Memphis with my BA in Communications.  That afternoon I had been warned.  My mother flat out told me in the parking lot after the ceremony, “Mark my words, that “n” word is gonna kick your a$$!” I didn’t want her to be right.  Yet, mere hours later, I found myself running down the hall trying to barricade myself in the bathroom to get away from my mother’s “rightness.”  He didn’t punch me, but he grabbed me by the back of my neck and forced me to the ground.  I was seven months pregnant with his daughter.  I don’t recall his words, but I remember being grateful that my son was a hard sleeper then.

Now, however,  he wakes at the slightest noise.  He’s never awaken without a start.  His other 12 year old daughter witnessed this first fight.  Even she asked me on occasion, “Why are you with my daddy?”

He took me to the hospital that night because I faked contractions.  I thought that if I could just get in the public I could get help.  Still, he was more clever than I assumed. The nurses thought he was just concerned about my and the baby’s welfare, but he only wanted to stay close enough to prevent me from telling the truth.  I wonder if Zeneatrice Crawford had tried to tell her truth before she was brutally murdered by this monster.  I felt like the nurses’ staff failed me that night.  I suppose much like I thought the Memphis Police Dept failed me on 05/08/2003.  I’m more convinced now however, the fallacies that interfered with my safety were no fault of the people involved, but of the system that wasn’t.

This story and so many others like it have pierced my heart to its core and I’m tired of just saying what I will do. I’m going to do what I’m going to do. There are too many ways to provide the right help and I understand now why certain logical ways hadn’t been in place before.  I’m supposed to bring it together. My why is simple: because it’s not okay.

©2016-2017 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

Blessed Quietness

It’s tragedies like these that have the world questioning God’s existence.

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…questioning how any good could come from such a murderous rampage.  So a moment of silence is offered in remembrance of those slain…I intended an entirely different post for today, but tragedy doesn’t seem to care about other’s agendas so I digress the norm for this somber yet alarming note.

A moment of silence…not a prayer…just silence…Vigils are held across the nation in their honor…yet just a moment of silence…Oh of course just silence….that’s the only way to remain PC isn’t it?  So unbelievers aren’t offended…but what about the believer’s offense?

My daughter was offended this morning…the media coverage simply rubbed her the wrong way….rather, it might have even been the right way in retrospect…

“Nobody wants the world to know their kid is dead”

She said it emphatically so I lowered the radio’s volume and tuned into her instead.  Her tone intrigued me so I listened and she continued,

” It’s bad enough that it happened-they will never get the time to heal because ten years from now it will be an anniversary and media coverage will make them relive the loss all over again!”

She was right.  The reality of those who’d endured the tragic loss of their loved ones were forced to relive the events even with the news of this shooting…the media inevitably must revisit these things.  It’s for that reason I’ve chosen not to even mention the specific mass shootings in public places of months, years, and even decades passed.

You undoubtedly know about them. a few are still in litigation so yes my daughter was correct.  Families and friends of the loss are forced to relive the events again and again with each passing day because tragedy is constant in media.

So we as believers are forced to reflect on questions like:

“How could God allow this?”

“Why didn’t God prevent this?”

And more of God’s children become angry with His justice. The assailant perished but how many more bodies will be added to his count before week’s end…Yes, blood continues to flow in the veins of those who were physically injured, but still a deadness is inevitable in their souls…at least momentarily…Perhaps not…maybe the survivors will be strong enough to understand the reason they were spared was because the Father “gave His angels charge over them

Perhaps some will consider it luck because they simply don’t know any better.  Regardless, only time will tell the effects both positive and negative in terms of yesterday’s events in Oregon.

I’m reminded of a somewhat funny quote a friend shared with me a few days ago after hearing the Pope’s address…”I’m not gonna lie, I’m gonna be mad as hell if I was killed and get to heaven and see my murderer there!”  Don’t judge-Real Talk…no filters!!!

We laughed, but her analysis deserves ground now especially because that’s the very obstacle that many believers struggle with now.  Of course, this shooter supposedly targeted Christians …yet so did the Apostle Paul before his conversion.  If this 26 year old killing machine repented and said he believed in Jesus, would he too be in heaven with the slain?

Scripture tells us he would if that were indeed the case…that is if his heart were sincere…We must be secure in our faith regardless because God knows the heart even when we don’t.  That’s what matters in that arena…

Regardless, I’m sure many of those who shed tears for for the other lives lost have smiled at the news of the assailant’s passing whether Christian or not…before either we are human.  and oftentimes our humanity speaks louder than the spirit man if we are not regularly immersed in the word.  Even then, we fall.  I could speculate that this man busted the gates of hell wide open when he failed to take his last breath….Yet, I don’t know that to be true…Only God does.  Regardless, my job as a Christian is not to know the why or the how of God’s will, but to trust that whatHe allows will have more good for the innocents than bad.  My prayer now is that we as a nation and world quickly recognize that and govern ourselves accordingly.

©2015 Nadia Davis.  All Rights Reserved.

Can a Christian be Gay?

Note…this is from the heart…hip…on my mind…not really editing this so be warned…No room for a bunch of funny pics or quotes….just real talk…that’s it…

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It seems a fairly innocent question.  Yet, one with a plethora of possible responses…the easy out would be to choose yes or no, but even that isn’t so easy anymore is it?  For the most part, to answer the question whether a Christian can be gay or not, one would have to inevitably dissect the meanings of at least two words in the question.  Even then, those words, “Christian” and “Gay” are subjective to societal norms.  Norms…it seems that there really aren’t any of those anymore either. Alas, I must agree that with the turn of events occurring within the US in recent weeks, my mind and heart is indeed grieved.  As I’ve mentioned in prior articles, the inevitable civil war that seems to have erupted in our midst came to a head with all that’s happened.

I found it beneficial to my heart and mind to fast from social media for a while. I had great intentions.  I removed the apps from my smart phone and refused to log in on my pc.  Yet, I underestimated the extent the recent news of the Supreme Court’s decision would impact me. So I received a text message from a friend who has been delivered from the grip of homosexuality asking how I feel about the Court’s decision.  I’d forgotten it was expected during my voluntary period of remission.  I thanked him for sending me the heads up and silently before responding further, grieved for our nation.  I regressed. I started to voice my opinion on that day, but perhaps writer’s block had me bound.  I couldn’t pen anything positive…anything plausible…anything useful in my opinion.  So I did nothing that day.

Instead, I waited. I waited to login to anything.  Concern for a loved one who’d been directly impacted by the deaths in South Carolina, I did manage to go online later that night, however. Maybe even that was technically the next day.  Who knows?  Sleep has escaped me for a few days.

I was bombarded with rainbows and insults.  Rainbows and taunts of “love winning” and again I grieved wondering had love really won anything?  Every picture I saw was vulgar and I silently wondered why was it so necessary to display this sin so flippantly.  Why was this area of opportunity one the church had all but sat down when confronted with it?

I was never angry with the court’s decision and I’m not angry with those persons involved with their decision to be a homosexual either, but I am grieved.  I’m saddened that it seems that this and the shootings the week prior or further evidence of our depraved societal standards…then I wonder is there even a standard any more. I watched Madea’s Witness Protection the other day and the remark was made by Tyler Perry’s character aka Madea “It’s a church, of course it’s safe” or something like that in response the apprehension of the Caucasian attorney who asked whether it would be safe for him since it was a predominantly African American church.  I couldn’t help but note the horrible irony.

So I am forced to ponder additional questions …Can a Christian be a murderer?  Can a Christian be a prostitute?  Can a Christian be a liar?  Can a Christian be an adulterer?  And back again, Can a Christian be gay?

I also was told days prior to the court’s determination that a 16 year old boy is now homeless because he decided to “come out” to his parents who are professing Christians. Pain has a tendency to make people do extreme things.  Again, at this news I was grieved.  I thought how not long ago, if a girl told her parents that she was in love with a young man at 16, it would have been chopped up as “puppy love” or “confusion”  The parents might have stepped back and allowed the “phase” to take its course knowing that their teaching would allow her to make the proper decision in time.  Nevertheless, they would not have gone through such drastic measures to prevent the two from being together.  In retrospect, the attempt is largely counterproductive.  While there are exceptions to this…what one thought was “real love” was never a reason to “not love” the one caught in the crossfire of a mistake….well, aside from Shakespearean tragedies…all fictional accounts but eerily similar to the more pressing issues in our reality today…

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Perhaps society refuses to know how deceitful one’s heart can be?

For the brief time I spent on Facebook last weekend, I saw one post state  “religious hypocrites chose to forgive a murderer last week, but now condemn the court’s decision.”

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With that some conservatives would love to say “no” to all of the questions above while some liberals would be in favor of the court results…yet some conservatives would also be in favor of the confederate flag being removed while others wanted this obvious emblem of racism to stay in place because of “tradition.”  Oh how we mirror the Pharasees and Sadduccees in the church now…so quick to point the finger, yet act as if we have arrived on so many other levels….

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Some things are still certain amid all the chaos of our day.  God doesn’t need walls to talk to know what’s going on!  Jesus Christ paid for all of our fallacies with His priceless blood so our judgment of others still needs to be one from a position of real love without compromising what the Bible says about this and every issue that attempts to maligns the will of the Almighty.

God is not mocked and while He is indeed patient, He will judge the land and the people who inhabit it. For the record, that includes how we Christians treat one another as well.

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So back to the question at hand, Can a Christian be gay?  Why bother to answer at all? Consider this one instead: Can a gay person be saved?

For those who might have missed the point in my rambling…that answer is clear…

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©2015 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.