Thursday, November 25, 2010

Updates

Greetings,

It appears that folks actually do follow my blog! Wow!! I have not been able to update as much as I would have liked this semester. It has been a rough one and I am looking forward to it ending in a few weeks. I have definitely learned quite a bit this semester and, perhaps, one day I will be able to make the time to really give an update. For now, I want to share some nuggets from sermons in Chapel over the course of the semester. Yes, there does exist folks who actually take notes during sermons in hopes the nuggets will take root and make a difference in my life!

10/2/10 - "Sacrament of Beginning Again" - Matthew 19:16-22 (Rich young ruler)
Nugget gleamed: At the very moment when life is set (comfortable), we are asked to begin again. The rich young ruler had his life set out before him and with one question, Jesus "rocked" his world

10/23/10 - "Martha Tendencies and Mary Moments" - Luke 10:38-42
1) We assume that Martha is "serving" food because she is a woman but the text doesn't say anything about serving anything.
2) "Service" + "Reverence" = "Conflict": Meaning: When we doing for Jesus, we have to find a way to "sit" with Jesus as well and that combo can cause conflict
3) We don't need to sacrifice our relationship with Jesus in order to get the ministry done
4) What would it look like if we believed that God who called us will sustain us!

11/6/10 - "His Grace is Sufficient" - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
1) Because of what we go through, we get a deeper understanding of God's grace
2) Every trail that comes into our life, we can still see the glory of God. In the midst of the struggle is when you see God's glory.

11/13/10 - "How Do We Get to the Other Side?" - Matthew 14:22-33
How do we learn to trust God?:
1) Recognize God has chosen you
2) Taking risks and doing what you've never done
3) Stay focused on getting to the other side

11/20/10 - "He Knows" - Jeremiah 1: 4-10
1) God knows you and still calls you
2) If God calls you, God will keep you

So...there you have it!

Until next time...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Confirmation

So today it was confirmed: I attend a Historically Black, Conservative and Homophobic institution! Did I know this before? Of course I did. Did it bother me? Nope...I know this is where God wants me to be. Was I surprised by this confirmation? Unfortunately no!

There I am, sitting in a preaching class discussing possible topics to do as a case study. Whatever topic our group worked on would involve changing the behavior of the people in the congregation through sermons, bible study, Sunday school, etc. You get the idea. Anyway, folks were throwing out topic ideas and we came up with a list of eight. All very good but it had to be narrowed down to four.

This is how it went down. I will start at the end. The four topics chosen were: 1) Domestic violence; 2) Drug and alcohol abuse among teens; 3) Bullying and 4) preaching prosperity gospel in a down economy. All good, right? The lowest vote getters were: 1) Obesity in the African American community (remember I go to a HBCU); 2) cohabitation affect on marriage; 3) human trafficking in NC (Yes, it does exist. I did a paper for Christian ethics on it and spoke to a director of a facility in NC) and ....drum roll PLEASE - 4) the eradication of HIV within the African American Community!!!!

I was stunned! Only two people, another person and I, thought it was important to the Black church community at a Black Baptist Church institution to talk about the fact that HIV is killing many of our Black sisters who happen to go to Black churches!!!

I sat there in amazement! As the class talked about what they had learned today, this is what I heard: "We like to be fat (knocked out obesity topic), happy (cohabitation topic) and have sex (HIV topic)!!! What did I learn besides the lesson I stated earlier? Come hell or high water, I need to get outta here!

Until Next Time...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chapel

Today we had the honor of listening to an Air Force Chaplin. At the beginning of each semester, we have a military Chaplin come and preach and recruit M.Div. students. Happy to say there were a few that spoke to him afterwards.

As usual, I wanted to share his topic and insights from today's message.

His topic was "The Simplicity of Christ" and his text - 2 Cor. 11:3 with a focus on Eve. He went back to Genesis 3:1-6 in order to tie the two passages together. In doing so, he discovered some very interesting things:

1) Eve was seduced by Appearance - the tree was pleasant to look at as was the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil; she got caught up in the appearance of the fruit and ate it and changed the course of history forever; he spoke on the idea that we often get caught up in how things look and because of that we can be seduced by outer appearance; however, appearance is relative

2) Eve was also seduced by Importance - Eve tried to find a shortcut to obtaining wisdom; obtaining wisdom takes time; it wasn't enough for Eve to walk and talk with God, she wanted to be like God as well; in our churches and lives we can get caught up on titles and such; we think that looking and staying busy makes us look important; again, it is the seduction/temptation of it all

Finally...

3) Simplify, Simplify - our nature is to complicate things; as humans we have a tendency to complicate things but the Gospel is simple; "I am forgiven" - simple, "Jesus loves me" - simple

Very good Word for today!

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Enlightened Moments

Well, as promised, here is a snapshot of the things I have read about over the last few weeks or so. I am still being blown away with the things I have been reading. I actually had to cut my time at the library short one day since my head was spinning with so much information. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I am. Please know that I cannot and will not overwhelm readers with EVERYTHING that I have read. I will, however, share a few items of insight.

One of the things that has really struck me in my readings is how sacred the slaves treated the Bible. I started wondering about that: Do we, as African Americans, or people in general treat the Bible as sacred? Or is it just another book? I am studying African Americans and the Bible so much of my insights will be geared toward my community and culture. Feel free to travel on the journey of discovery with me.

The Bible was the ONE book that slaves wanted and desired, tremendously, to read. At one point they called it "The Talking Book" because they saw their masters moving their lips when they were reading the Bible, silently, and the slave preacher assumed the Bible was speaking to "their master". Upon picking up the same Bible, many would put it to their ear expecting it to speak to them. When it didn't, one slave felt "that everybody and everything despised me because I was black". (The Talking Book, Allen Callahan, p. 13)

Naturally, I was blown away. However, despite their feelings, slaves eventually were able to read the Bible and began to understand there was more in the scriptures other than the "slaves obey your master" passages. Many slaves, once freed and able to read, would steer clear of those passages from Paul - can't say I blame them on that - in order to get more out of the scriptures.

It was a book that, on one hand liberated them (Exodus story) and on the other, kept them in bondage (Paul's passages on slavery). In so doing, I am deeply humbled at the strength and tenacity many slaves showed in order to learn to read. Slave preachers were willing to risk being beat in order to learn to read so they could preach to the slaves as opposed to the slaves having to listen to the white preachers. Most of the time, the white preachers spoke about the slave passages from the New Testament and thus used the Bible to keep the slaves "in line" (sound familiar?)

Please hear me when I say, that I do not advocate the way many slaves came into Christianity - forced by their masters. Many maintained the religion they brought over with them from Africa. I am just taken aback at the injustice of it all. Even in our world today, we still hold folks in bondage over the Holy Scriptures and blame God for saying and doing things that GOD DID NOT SAY or DO!!!

I wanted to share just a taste of the feast that I am eating this semester. I have to take it in little bites and as I do, I will share whats on the table with you!

I want to end this with a quote from one of my books for you to think about: "Evangelicalism would make the Bible the most accessible literature in America. African-American Evangelicals would make it the most dangerous". (The Talking Book, Allen Callahan, p. 6)

Until Next Time...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chapel On Saturday

Well, today we were blessed with a wonderful preacher in Chapel. With it being 9/11, a retired NYPD official was also there to remind us of the event of 9 years ago. He reminded us how blessed we are to be alive physically as well as in Christ.

As always, I want to share the nuggets of the Word from the preacher today. By the way, I haven't forgotten the promise of the blog piece on the African American religion/studies class. I am trying to figure out how to get all of the things I am learning in a concise and short blog. So...stay tuned. In the meantime, here are the nuggets for today.

Her subject was "Confidence in the Power" and her text Romans 1:14-16 where Paul is speaking about not being ashamed of the gospel. She reminded us that on this day, 9/11, that we, as Christians are obligated to get the gospel beyond the walls. Why?

1) We are debtors. Paul speaks to this in verse 14 about the fact he owes somebody something. As Christians, we owe an obligation to Jesus to share the gospel. As long as there is at least one person who hasn't heard the gospel, we are still debtors.

Therefore, we have to be willing to share the gospel with those outside of what we look like, outside of our denominations and outside of our comfort zone.

2) We have to be enthusiastic about sharing the gospel. As Christians, we are to be the happiest people in the world and be willing to share the gospel with others. We are to be happy about fulfilling our obligation as being debtors that share the gospel of Jesus Christ!

and finally, (Yes, good Baptist with 3 points!)

3) As Paul says in verse 16, we are NOT TO BE ASHAMED of the gospel. We are to be willing vessels of God to share the gospel wherever and whenever we have the chance. We have the Power of God behind us!

It was definitely a word that I could use! Thanks, Preacher Woman, for your words of challenge today!

Until next time...