You are currently viewing archive for April 2008
Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Posted on: 04/23/08:

The Sufficiency of the Laity

Category: Church
Posted by: RBAFounderMM
Blacks in worship

Since our anticipated and providential move into the community of Temple Hills, Maryland in June 2007, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to be heavily and strategically involved with my local fellowship as the Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism at Hillcrest Baptist Church. There is no doubt or uncertainty in the mind and consciousness of my family that this is where we are to be right now.

The leadership and staff of the church have provided consolation during our transition; however, the leadership and staff provide consolation as a part of their job. They are expected to be consoling. After all, they are the ones who take responsibility for the growing leadership of the church. However confirmation comes in large part as the response of the few or many within the laity to the role and character of the minister.

So really this brief work is about how the people of the pews have changed my life and how God has used each of them as an instrument in my sanctification. Of course this work will not do justice to convey or describe the transformation that occurs when someone is placed in servitude to the laity, however the meaningfulness of this spiritual union between the leadership and their people within the local fellowship is captivating, life changing and awesome.

» Read More

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Faith coalition to battle gang activity in Newark
by Robert Wiener

Christian, Muslim, and Jewish clergy members are launching an interfaith effort to reduce street violence among Newark gangs.

The Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace will seek recognition and financial support for grassroots efforts at crime and violence reduction in both the inner city and its suburbs. Participants envision awareness campaigns, job programs, and support for houses of worship in the line of fire.

Representing the Jewish community in the coalition is Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, a synagogue whose roots are in Newark.

“Why a suburban rabbi? Because we feel we won’t make it out here unless Newark makes it,” said Gewirtz.

He spoke with NJ Jewish News a day before the first public meeting of the coalition April 3 at Newark’s Symphony Hall.

“The problems going on in Newark in many ways are pervasive and permeate our borders,” Gewirtz said. “In the suburbs, there may be different drugs, but there are drugs in the streets. There may be different alcohol, but there are kids drinking here. So, by dealing with these issues on an urban level we will also be able to deal with them on a suburban level.”

The joint city-suburban mission was born in the weeks of pain and outrage after four college-bound black teenagers were shot point-blank last August outside a Newark school.

“Everyone was so appalled by those killings,” said the rabbi. “They were saying, ‘To hell with all our differences.’ We are not converting anyone to Islam, to Christianity, to Judaism. We just want to get these kids off the street. That has been the motivation.”
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Posted on: 04/17/08:

20: The new age for slaves?

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
From CurlyMo's Blog:
A few years back William C. Rhoden wrote a book titled "40 Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete". Why I have not read the book yet is a very good question. I like Mr. Rhoden and I think that he offers very poignant and insightful commentary on today's sporting world.

I think the main reason I didn't rush out to get the book was because I'm sure I already knew what the ebb and flow of the book would be without even having to read it. I spent several years as a sportswriter and sports editor at newspapers in North Carolina and like most other blacks who covered sports for a living, there are perspectives and unwritten nuances of sports that we understand even when we don't speak about them.

As U.S. Presidential candidate Barak Obama has our nation on the precipice of a possible historic milestone in the history of our republic, issues of race and racism have been thrust back into the public psyche.

This week there have been dozens of articles and probably thousands of blogs written about NBA commissioner David Stern's inference that he would like to see the NBA's age limit raised to 20 years old. This news, of course, has brought on a slew of opinions and arguments as to whether or not the age limit issue in professional basketball has motivations that include discrimination toward young black males, who make up the majority of the players in the league.

While it's true that NBA players make more money than any ten current readers of my blog combined, Rhoden was insinuating that just because you have money doesn't mean that you've escaped the plantation mentality and you may be forced even more to recognize the pecking order of society than the guy working at McDonald's who can at least up and leave for Burger King if he wants to. Of course the majority of the comments I'll receive will be some variation of 'puh-lease those guys are multimillionaires', but understand this, if your boss is paying you 10 dollars an hour, it's because he's making 20 dollars an hour off of your labor.

While most of white America doesn't view Stern's aspirations as having any bigoted merit, many blacks (quiet as kept) would strongly disagree.
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: Politics
Posted by: minruth

Without a doubt this has proven an historic election cycle. Barack Obama added to the already heightened excitement brought on by the long anticipated run of the first viable female candidate. Already the Democratic primaries has witnessed record turn outs and regardless of the winner it is expected that interest will remain strong. Many believe the democrats have an aesthetic advantage this election cycle because of the diversity of their candidates. In fact, the notion of a so-called dream ticket that would include both Clinton and Obama (usually mentioned with Clinton at the top) is spoken of with positive regard. However, an interesting prospective recently presented itself seriously for the first time: the possibility of a Condoleezza Rice Vice Presidency. To date this is purely conjecture, however, the story is significant because it represents a shift from serious consideration of Condoleezza Rice for the Executive to a serious consideration by Condoleezza Rice for the Executive. Her answers to the question about considering the Vice Presidency has been sophisticatedly elusive. When asked recently she responded saying ‘I don’t know how many ways I can say no’ – try just saying no madam secretary. Civil War general William Sherman famously grounded rumors about a run for the Executive in unequivocal terms, saying "If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve." Asked to give a similar answer and Condoleezza Rice refused. The British Telegraph pointed out that she has ‘failed to stop the rumors in Washington that she is interested in the vice-presidency.’ Other political insiders have acknowledged that she has been forthright about her desire to redefine her legacy. Another decade of public service at the highest levels could afford her the opportunity to do that. Furthermore, sources reveal that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has made her desire to be considered on the next Republican ticket known throughout influential conservative circles.

» Read More

Posted on: 04/10/08:

Hearing (Thinking) Black Death

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX

Hearing (Thinking) Black Death
by Mark Anthony Neal

The very first sentence of Michael Eric Dyson's new book April 4, 1968 reads: "You cannot hear the name Martin Luther King, Jr. and not think of death," to which specifically, I might add, you cannot help but think of Black Death. And perhaps that is as it should be. There's a certain logic to the fact that a culture that has been so obsessed with questions of freedom, subjugation, liberation and incarceration would have an equally striking obsession with death. Perhaps more than any culture in the Americas, Blackness has had to come to terms with the idea of death--the Middle Passage, Lynching, the Underground Railroad to mark just a few historical moments--all framed by acts of movement, resistance, retribution, in which death, Black Death, was tangible and visceral. And indeed it's been in the province of black creative expression--Black Genius more broadly--that Blackness has found the space to think through the idea death, not just as a grieving process, but an act of freedom in its own right.

When the JC White Singers, bravely asked in 1971 "Were You There, When They Crucified My Lord?" it was something more than just another memorial recording marking the passing of the greatest symbol(s) of Black liberation struggle. "Were You There?" was one of those timeless spirituals of Negroes Old, but at the moment that the JC White Singers sang its words, it became a defiant response from a culture that long understood that filling the air with the sound of black grief and black trauma was perhaps the most defiant act possible.

To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: Church
Posted by: RBAFounderX
How the religious right uses the 'prosperity gospel' to win foot soldiers and continue its culture war.
Researcher Sarah Posner has been following the Religious Right for several years and writes a blog called The FundamentaList for the American Prospect. Her new book, God's Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters (PoliPointPress, 2008) examines the role advocates of the "prosperity gospel" play in the Religious Right.

Posner talked recently with Church & State about her research and the status of the Religious Right today.

Church & State: Many people think of the prosperity gospel as a movement that attempts to link Christianity to hypercapitalism and the collection of wealth. You assert these ministries play a political role as well. What role does the prosperity gospel play in the Religious Right?

Posner: When George H.W. Bush was preparing to run for president in 1988, his evangelical advisor, Doug Wead, prepared a list of 1,000 "targets" -- religious leaders of influence worth courting for the votes of their followers. The list included a lot of names you'd expect -- Robertson, Falwell, and other household names, but also included some of the most prominent prosperity gospel evangelists, notably Kenneth Copeland and Paul Crouch, the head of the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The courting of these prosperity televangelists by politicians continues today, as we have seen Mike Huckabee touting his close relationship with Copeland, and John Hagee and Rod Parsley campaigning with John McCain. In tune with the Religious Right, they take ultraconservative positions on issues like abortion, gay marriage, separation of church and state, and other social issues, and actively encourage their followers to vote.

In your new book, God's Profits, you discuss Ohio pastor Rod Parsley, who has labored to make an impact on statewide politics. Parsley's favored candidate for governor, Ken Blackwell, was soundly defeated in 2006. Does this mean Parsley has lost political influence? What are his goals, and what are the chances he could become a national figure as well-known as the late Jerry Falwell?

It's certainly Parsley's goal to be a successor to Falwell. He proudly accepted an honorary doctorate from Liberty University last year. (Parsley doesn't even have an undergraduate degree, so this was quite an honor, to say the least). He has said he sees his Center for Moral Clarity, the political arm of his church, as the successor to Falwell's Moral Majority.

Certainly many observers thought Parsley's influence was on the wane after Blackwell was trounced in the 2006 gubernatorial race. And although Blackwell's defeat could be chalked up to other factors -- particularly the raft of corruption scandals plaguing Ohio Republicans -- there was a group of prominent moderate Republicans who came out against Blackwell because of his religion-baiting.

That said, Parsley's name is still on the tips of conservative tongues as a religious kingmaker in the race for the White House, and McCain campaigned with Parsley, whom he called a "spiritual guide," in Ohio in March.

A spate of new books asserts that the Religious Right is a spent force politically. What is your view? Have we truly entered a "post-Religious Right" America?

Many kingmakers on the Religious Right have seen their political influence wax and wane. Pat Robertson and James Dobson, for example, do not wield the cult of personality that they once did. Yet while the movement appears rudderless at the moment, literalist conservative Christianity runs very deep in our country. Although the public face of the movement is in transition, and many centrist evangelicals are striving to spread a less divisive message, the Religious Right's basic doctrine continues to resonate with a significant segment of the population. Because of the movement's organization, any new leaders who emerge over the next few years will have a formidable and well-funded political and media infrastructure to build on.

The continued survival of the Religious Right depends on the cultivation of a new generation of activists. In your chapter titled "Generation Next," you discuss efforts by Religious Right leaders to raise up a new generation. How successful have these efforts been?
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: History
Posted by: RBAFounderX
In acknowledging the death of Martin Luther King Jr, which is today, "Michael Eric Dyson ends his book, April 4, 1968 (Basic Civitas Books, 2008) with an imaginary Q&A with MLK at age 80 in which King 'speaks' out on Barack, Oprah, hip-hop, homosexuality and his depression."

If Dr. King had lived, what might he say about what he sees today? This is but a small piece of what I think he might have thought about a few personal and social issues, offered in the same spirit that he penned his letter to the American church as the Apostle Paul. The occasion for the interview is a celebration of Dr. King's 80th birthday, which, of course, had he lived, would be nowhere near a national holiday.

QUESTION: Dr. King, how does it feel to turn 80 years old? It's such a milestone.

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING: I must confess to you that I never thought I'd make it to this age. During the most intense moments of our struggle, there was a great deal of hatred and danger directed at us. I personally faced constant death threats. Many of our greatest leaders and most stalwart activists were brutally murdered. Medgar Evers was shot down like an animal in Mississippi, and in the same state, those three brave young civil rights workers were viciously murdered. And one can't forget the incredible sacrifice that those four young girls made when they were blown to premature martyrdom in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. Spike Lee's very fine documentary, Four Little Girls, captures the sense of terror we all faced during those times, but also the dig­nity and courage of the people too.

As far back as 1956 I had to face the real possibility that I would die. After all, my house was bombed during the Montgomery bus boycott. When I look back on many of the sermons and speeches that I gave during the sixties, I can clearly see that I was trying to address our people's grief and suffering, and trying to inspire them to keep going in the midst of the death and hatred we faced on a daily basis. But to be honest, I was also trying to come to grips with my own mortality in a movement where it seemed guaranteed that I would be made a sacrificial lamb. But contrary to what some might have believed, I had no martyr complex. I repeatedly stated that I wanted to live as long as anybody, and so...

QUESTION: Well, that's certainly borne out by a statement you made in Montgomery, Alabama, in May of 1965, where you expressed a great deal of frustration and anger over the killing of Negroes while the government sat idly by. You said that "when they kill Negroes and civil rights workers in Alabama, nothing is done about it. Under the administration of Governor George Wallace alone 10 peo­ple have been killed during civil rights demonstrations." Do you remember that statement?

KING: Absolutely, like it was yesterday. I also said, "What we are saying now is that we are tired of this. Our lives are too precious. We are saying to the State of Alabama, now you're not going to frighten us into submission. If you kill one Negro, or one white ally, then you're going to have to kill ten, and if you kill ten, you're going to have to kill 20, and if you kill 20, you're going to have to kill 100, and if you kill 100, then you're going to have to kill a thousand!"

QUESTION: But did you ever have a stronger sense you were going to die than at other times? There's famous newsreel footage of you explaining in rather stark and dramatic terms how you thought you were going to die one night in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Could that be considered such a moment?
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX

Behind Coretta's Veil: Black Women and the Burdens of Loss
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Forty years later there are two particularly poignant and enduring images associated with Dr. King's assassination. The first is the circle of men surrounding Martin's body on that Memphis balcony as they point in the direction of the shooter. The second is Coretta Scott King's mournful and resolute face beneath her widow's black veil.

Both images capture the radicalizing power of Dr. King's murder. Together they reveal how responses to racial terrorism are often gendered. Many black men are like contributor Professor Michael Dawson, who found his authentic political voice emerging from the ashes of his beloved, burning city in the aftermath of King's death. Like the men on the balcony, they became the vocal and visible leaders of the continuing movements against injustice.

Many black women swallow their pain, gird their loins and persist against impossible odds when the men they love are destroyed. They are like Medgar's Myrlie, Malcolm's Betty, and Martin's Coretta. Much less visible and vocal, these women become the symbols of strength and endurance in the aftermath of men's murders.

This does not mean that all brothers or all sisters responded in the same way to Dr. King's death, only that gender is as critical as race in marking the experience. King's assassination was one incident in a long campaign of domestic, racial terrorism aimed in specific ways at black men. Race riots, land theft, agricultural peonage, castration, mutilation, postcards of human sacrifice, and lynching pierced by the smell of burning flesh constitute the terrorism that black communities have known throughout the twentieth century.

Even today, black men die young. They perish from violence and from poor health. They vanish from communities due to joblessness and incarceration. Their absence means that black women are often left alone to raise children, to sustain neighborhoods and to battle for rights.

In their solitude, black women face enormous obstacles. Women heads of households are twice as likely to live in inadequate housing. They earn less than their male counterparts. Fewer than half of black women have bachelor's degrees and the unemployment rate for black women is more than double that for white women. More than 1 in 4 black women live in poverty.

Babies born to black women in the U.S. today are two-and-a-half times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies. Black women have higher rates of hypertension and diabetes and are more likely to die of breast cancer than are white women. On the whole, black women face lack of education, underemployment, poverty, racism, disease and isolation. Survival itself seems miraculous. It is no wonder that we praise black women by calling them strong.

Despite the significant challenges faced by women, black cultural vocabulary and collective memory have often understood black men as uniquely vulnerable to the violence of American racism. Dr. King's assassination is part of that story. Today, we often speak of endangered black men, point to the challenges facing black boys in public schools and rail against the prison industrial complex as a modern system of slavery.

While we must mobilize around the continued attacks against black men and boys, I worry that this particular formulation leaves little place for black women's brokenness and it can encourage us to silence black women's concerns. The assumption is that the "endangered black man" needs the "strong black woman" to protect the community in his absence. But what are the costs to black women?

The strong black woman must confront all the challenges, persevere against the impossible, provide unlimited encouragement and always be prepared to do what needs to be done for her family and her people. She must be sacrificial and suppress her own emotional needs while anticipating those of others. She must have an irrepressible spirit unbroken by a legacy of oppression, poverty and rejection.

My point is not that black women actually are stronger than any other group of women, but that the idea that black women are strong and that they need to be and should be is an imperative. Strength is a kind of racial rule for black women. To be a real black woman, you have to be a strong black woman.

To read the rest of the article, click here.
Category: Culture
Posted by: RBAFounderX

Perhaps, the two pictures side-by-side answer the question.

Lebron James Vogue Cover