The Frostbitten Rumination

The way that I experienced the cold this morning was unbelievable; I may have been on the pre-stages of hyperthermia as my hands were on fire. As I was removing three days of snow off my wife’s car, in a temperature with a -15 wind chill, I wondered how could a country allow homelessness in such frigid conditions. My 10 minutes in these conditions were just meager, as I was geared up from head to toe, but, I ponder on how do those without such gear survive in such conditions. And, the sad truth, is that we believe we are heroes and saints because we over blankets and warm meals when in actuality they should have had them in the first place.
Thus, the need for philanthropy becomes the quest of the day. Philanthropy is an unjust metaphor for the wealthy to find news to overt paying taxes, that in turn produce means for those in need of blankets.
We live in a broken system where wealth is measured on the backs of the broken. Evidently, there will be a price to pay for exploited the broken and the broken will seize the moment to rebel against the broken system.
By the time I came out of my rumination and pondering, I was convinced that the fires of hell are actually frostbitten events to the body.
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Prophetic Urges from Orlando: Part 2

I am Nicholas Wright. I am a heterosexual male, single with no children. I am a black male who grew up in a traditional rural Baptist church. I grew up in Darlington, SC. I was raised in a single parent home, where my father was non-existence, but the community around me stepped in to make sure there was a sure foundation. I understand that the world is controlled by whites and know that in some circles I am seen as an object and not an equal person. I have fought to obtain a master’s degree, but I know that means nothing in some minds. I was raised to love everybody, but those of other faiths, or sexual preferences, but the scales have fallen from my eyes.

Sitting on the anniversary of the massacre of the Emmanuel 9, and peeping over my shoulders,while staring and thinking about the mass murders of my brothers and sisters in Club Pulse four days ago: I am still in utter pain and disbelief that malicious acts such as these are still accruing in 2016. It is all the more heartbreaking that there are some who feel and use the platform of faith, to believe and promote the acceptance of the acts of these mass murders to grasp the attention of those of faith. I cannot explain the amount of ignorance it takes for one to believe that God would promote God’s message through a malicious genocide of a beloved people, –regardless of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation or creed. It is time out for playing god –judging those who so call sin differently than you, and start loving everybody as Christ has loved you.

I understand that the church catholic (the whole church) has been struggling and/or blatantly ignoring dialog with the LGBTQIA community, in order to understand and develop faith fellowship. While the church sits on the sidelines picking and pointing, the LGBTQIA community has taken the mantel of “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34) and taken it to a new level.  My life has been transformed by this community. I have seen a true love and worship for God that I have never witnessed from people who claim to be Christians. It is interesting to me that the LGBTQIA community has a burning desire for Christ, while those who are said to represent Christ are trying to oppress and transform them. Who is the true example of Christ?

How many places of worship addressed the attack in Orlando, FL? I am sure there where many churchgoers who wondered like me, why haven’t anyone said anything about this tragedy. What in the hell do we go to church for anymore? This is a question to all bodies of Christ across the world. Do we go just to say we have been, or do we go to actively engage in the matters of the world? It is so easy for everyone to say pray for this, or pray for that, but what happened to our call to be hands here on earth. I am tired of praying and nothing is happening. It is easy to pray because it does not call for us to be engaged with people or out in the struggle, but what good is prayer without human action. It is good to offer your prayers alongside your action. So we are left wondering, what are we called to do during this time? Will we continue to be The Church constantly sleeping during prayer, or an active agent of God here on earth?

When “Homeplace” Becomes Death Space

First published at Rhetoric Race and Religion

It is the great social critic, bell hooks, who uses the space of home as a site of resistance. Within that framework you can also place the church as a place of resistance.  This homeplace, as she so aptly calls it, operates as a place where we can recover from all of the bruises of the world –racism, sexism, classism, ageism. Homeplace was that place of resistance. Church was homeplace for the black Christians.  In the place of safety, the church –our homeplace, where do we find solace to build resistance and community.  bell hooks states in her essay Homeplace: Site of Resistance  that “when a people no longer have the space to construct homeplace, we cannot build a meaningful community of resistance.” The church has been a place where black folks went to simply find refuge and peace as far back as I can remember. Most black Christians took it seriously and looked for any opportunity to invite others to fellowship. Color was not a prerequisite for an invitation.

Now enters the events of June 17, 2015 where nine black people (two fellow alums; another, a classmate from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Dr. Simmons and Clementa Pickney) were murdered in an AME church by a white terrorist, Dylann Roof. This young man was at the bible study and when it was over, opened fire on the congregation in attendance.

charleston shooting

What does evangelism look like in a black world where white terrorism is the norm?

The meaning of church starts to reshape when terror is brought to bear in the lives of the church; the danger that arises from a normal invitation to discipleship avails itself to the potentiality of death.  In the case of Mother Emmanuel AME Church, we see black folks in their homeplace displaying love and fellowship only to suffer such an utter demise. An act of evangelism and fellowship is kidnapped by hate and evil.

This was not the will of God, it was a cowardice act of terrorism that is not foreign to the black church. Church burnings and bombings have taken the lives of many in menial attempts to render blacks humanity irrelevant. Our homeplace has always been on constant alert but for those of my generation we, extended the luxury of the benefit of the doubt when it came to terrorism in the church.  Now, that, our place of resistance has been infiltrated with hate, we are now left in a spin cycle grasping for hope.

As I reflect back on the life of Pastor/Senator Clementa Pickney (the essence of what church and state resembles) and how those on our seminary campus speak about him, I am stuck in a place of inexplicable tiredness. I start to wonder when the mis-valuing of black life will harness the need to make sure it is protected at all cost. As many esteemed him as a soft spoken brother of honor. I remember him as a brother that always packed a smile but stood strong on the shoulders of justice for those trapped in the margins. Just weeks ago the brother in his state senator position, stood to propose a bill that would have outlawed guns in churches…

May the Lord be with us all

“I Denounce the So-Called Emancipation as a Stupendous Fraud” by Frederick Douglass (1888)

But again, let us see what are the relations subsisting between the Negro and the state and national governments — what support, what assistance he has received from either of them. Take his relation to the national government and we shall find him a deserted, a defrauded, a swindled, and an outcast man — in law free, in fact a slave; in law a citizen, in fact an alien; in law a voter, in fact, a disfranchised man. In law, his color is no crime; in fact, his color exposes him to be treated as a criminal. Toward him every attribute of a just government is contradicted. For him, it is not a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Toward him, it abandons the beneficent character of a government, and all that gives a government the right to exist. The true object for which governments are ordained among men is to protect the weak against the encroachments of the strong, to hold its strong arm of justice over all the civil relations of its citizens and to see that all have an equal chance in the race of life. Now, in the case of the Negro citizen, our national government does precisely the reverse of all this. Instead of protecting the weak against the encroachments of the strong, it tacitly protects the strong in its encroachments upon the weak. When the colored citizens of the South point to the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments of the Constitution for the protection of their civil and political rights, the Supreme Court of the United States turns them out of court and tells them they must look for justice at the hands of the states, well knowing that those states are, in effect, the very parties that deny them justice. Thus is the Negro citizen swindled. The government professes to give him citizenship and silently permits him to be divested of every attribute of citizenship. It demands allegiance, but denies protection. It taxes him as a citizen in peace, and compels him to bear arms and meet bullets in war. It imposes upon him all the burdens of citizenship and withholds from him all its benefits.

What if Front Lines by Stevie Wonder was a hymn of the Church?

This aught to be a hymn of the church- Dr. Mack King Carter

Front Lines – Stevie Wonder

I am a veteran of the war
I up and joined the army back in 1964
At sixteen I just had to be a man at any cost
I volunteered for Vietnam where I got my leg shot off
I recall a quote from a movie that said “who’s more a man
Than a man with a reason that’s worth dyin’ for”

They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
But now I stand at the back of the line when it comes to gettin’ ahead

They gave me a uniform and a tiny salty pill
To stop the big urge I might have for the wrong kind of thrill
They put a gun in my hand and said, “shoot until he’s dead”
But it’s hard to kill when ‘please your friend’ echoes through your head

Brought up in church taught no man should take another’s life
But then put in a jungle where life has no price

They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
But now I stand at the back of the line when it comes to gettin’ ahead

Back in the world the paper reads today
Another war is in the brewing
But what about the lives of yesterday
And the many happy families that have been ruined

My niece is a hooker and my nephew’s a junkie too
But they say I have no right to tell them how they should do
They laugh and say “quit bragging” ’bout the war you should never have been in
But my mind is so brain-washed I’d prob’bly go back and do it again

I walk the neighborhood parading my purple heart
With a fear of agent orange that no one will stop

They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
But now I stand at the back of the line when it comes to gettin’ ahead