Tag Archives: Religion

Who Am I? (The Monday Fits)

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“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

― George R.R. Martin


The first Republican debate of this primary election season is over and it was quite a treat. There have been plenty of commentary, memes, and discussion about it. When I asked Republicans how they felt about the debate, it was a mix between a fair analyses of the issues discussed mixed with the blanket, “It was awesome”. Really? Is that all you have to say about a debate that was filled with positive and negatives, is that it was awesome? When I asked some Democrats about the debate, almost every single one just called it awful and exclaimed there were no real issues discussed. And this is when I became utterly annoyed.

Everything about the debate wasn’t awful. But after I took a step back, and thought about it, if it was a democratic primary debate, the responses would probably be the same, but reversed.  A few democrats would really decipher through what was discussed, others would just love everything about the damn debate, and  then the opposition, Republicans, would hate just about everything that was discussed. This is our reality, and it’s kind of disgusting. We are so easily tied to a group of people, and I just sit back and wonder, do people take a minute to sit back and think about who they really are? What really matters?

So I am kind of a joiner, my friends would like to call me. I have joined a number of organizations in my life time, including a sorority. And if you don’t know about sororities they often have a reputation and most of the women (or fraternity for men) kind of fit into a certain category.  And once you’re in one of those, you realize that reputation is true for some women and others are striving oh so hard to be that stereotypical reputation for whatever reason,  I do not know. But overall, I have come to learn to that we, yes, us humans, like to be a part of things that define us even if you are in the “anti” crowd. Well, if you’re like me, I don’t let my affiliations define me. It hasn’t always been that way, I by no means am perfect, but if you are like me,  and don’t let your affiliations define you, you’re probably as frustrated with America as am I. I don’t consider myself a rebel by any means, but I definitely do not like to be put into a box. But I do think the majority of us like to be put into a box, it makes us feel all good and shiny on the inside. And let’s just assume shiny is a positive word.

Republicans and Democrats alike live in their little box loving their narrow minded view. I heard one candidate from the debate say a little something out of the box, but I don’t think people were really listening. Governor Kasich, maybe I am a little naïve to the marriage question. (That’s right, it’s no longer called same-sex marriage, it’s just called marriage in the U.S.A., but I won’t digress on that topic). He said that although he believes in traditional marriage, he recently attended a friends marriage (who happened to marry the same-sex), and he was there to celebrated love. While there were democrats who doubted his sincerity, what Kasich said isn’t accepted by the majority of either party. Most Republicans (minus us forward thinking Millennials) feel that you cannot believe in traditional marriage and support same-sex marriage in any capacity.  Most democrats (minus conservative thinking liberals) that you can support same-sex marriage unless you believe people are born that way. Now let me tell you something, that’s just stupid. What’s the point of having America with different religions, viewpoints, and perspectives, if people can’t, I don’t know, have them.  What’s crazier than a Black Female Republican, is a Republican Muslim. I don’t know about you, but I stopped in the middle of the debate, and asked “Is there separation of church and state anymore or did I miss the memo?, well you couldn’t tell in the debate. It might as well have been moderated by Franklin Graham.

Now, I might not sound like a conservative, but I am kind of angry, out of all of these issues that we are talking about, people are failing to discuss that major problem in this country. Poverty. Wealth Inequality, and if you want to invoke the name of Jesus Christ, look in the bible and how many times does he mention, or the bible in general squarely, boldly, and PLAINLY talk about helping the poor, it beats every other f*cking political topic every single time. Like EVERY SINGLE time. I am not one to be hypocritical, some one’s beliefs does matter to me. But if we are going to invoke all of this spiritual-ness into our political world, then we should be more honest about it and not simply serving our purpose cause that’s what this is all really about. People are saying and doing what they want to for whatever purpose they need.

Since I am talking about fitting into roles, I want to talk about Ben Carson comments about race and the reason he is in error. I am glad that he looks past the color of people’s skin, I do too. But to imply that for some reason black people are the reason we are in a race war, is an  insult to every black person in America. Sound extreme?

Since the recent deaths of young black men and women, oh wait, let me rephrase, unarmed black men and women, I had to evaluate whether I was out of touch, I am sure I have friends who are surprised by recent  interest in race, but there is ONE reality, when I walk out this house and am on the street, no one cares if I am a conservative, that I never have broken a law or committed a crime, never smoked or done any illicit drugs in my life, never had an abortion, or anything that else that makes me “good”. But I know if I go in the wrong part of a small town or make the wrong move, the only thing that will matter is my blackness. Luckily, Ben Carson doesn’t have to experience this fear as a neurosurgeon that most black Americans do. He wants to be so accepted by the Republican Party so bad that he is willing to sacrifice the reality for so many people who actually look and talk just like him. To some extent he was right, we don’t NEED to get into a race war, cause we are already in one. But it’s okay Ben Carson is being used by the people who support this ideology. Ben Carson finished 3rd in the debate based on some polling.  Many Republicans commentators are surprised, because he didn’t get to say much. Well, that’s because he’s portraying a false reality in America that people want to cling so hard to. The reality is people are  STILL being  judged by the color of the skin, and Ben Carson can deny this reality to try to win an election. Instead of doing the right thing.

I might not know exactly who I am, because I am still growing, still changing, and trying to be better each and every day. But I know who I am not, who I will never be. I don’t have time to make decisions to fit into a mold, even if I make mistakes, it will be my mistake and I will own it every time, and it will be worth it. So let me rephrase that, I know exactly who I am, and I hope it only it gets better. More real, and less fake and hypocritical, day by day.

To Err is Human… And We Can’t Get Enough of it

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“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” – Martin Luther

This is not another blog post about politics, I promise, but I am kicking off with Hillary. Yes, Hillary Clinton, you tired of her too? Me, three times a million, but it’s not her fault. As I read another story, commentary, or opinion about Hillary Clinton running or maybe not running for office, I think my mind might explode. There are a number of commentaries that discuss whether her heart is in it anymore. Either way, I don’t care. Her eventual campaign is the same reason millennials are increasingly less and less likely to be interested in the political system or are aware of the current state of affairs.The pursuit of power is her motivation. It’s at her fingertips, and even though she may fail, right now that pursuit is stronger than the fear of failure.  Do they really expect us to believe that she is the best candidate in 2016? Maybe at some point she was, if she’s your cup of tea, but she’s out of date. She and Bill have made mistakes, but no one is listening. It’s not quite the same as Mitt Romney, because she is at least married to Bill. The Republicans love to hate that democrat less than President Obama.

But If she were to do an evaluation of herself and those surrounding her did too, she is not the best candidate, and that doesn’t matter to her or her team, cause its all about the pursuit of power. I know there are plenty of people who would disagree with me.  And this opinion has nothing to do with partisan politics. I think there are other democrats that could do better and I think there are Republicans that could do better.  But this story isn’t unique to good ole Hilary, and there are further implications that are important to our generation and those that follow us.

As we teach our young kids to work hard and reach for their dreams, there is this thing that is called failure, that’s not really failure. But it comes with being successful and smart. Is that you can’t always be a winner or the winner, but you’re not really a loser. You can not always lead, or be in control. Your time is not all the time. Now many would say that Hillary hasn’t had her time to shine and has been in the shadow of Bill. But she won her own senate elections and was selected as the Secretary of State. She is NOT chump change. If she never becomes President, that doesn’t make her a failure. What’s a bigger problem, is having people who entered the political scene 40 years ago still attempting to lead this country.

Why am I pointing this out? It’s easy for Americans and citizens across the globe to recognize politicians often serve too long, such as the soon to be Congressional retiree, Barbara Mikulski, or there are political families who shuffle in and out of power. But the reality, this is not just in politics, its also in another, probably more important institution, religion.

Although some humans can resist the temptation of power, it can trap even the most pious. So why do we have people serve in positions that are surrounded by money, power and fame for so long and then act surprised when a scandal comes out, or more foolishly, believe that they are some how incapable of making mistakes, or acting inappropriately. For politicians,  it’s easy to notice the slow contamination from when they enter the political world, fresh faced and full of optimism to the point when they are tainted; mostly bought and paid for by billionaires. We get it. But let me ask again, what about leaders in our churches, temples, mosques or religious leaders who fall into the exact same or similar trap.

I ask this, because the studies show that millennials are affiliating less and less with a religion.  “In 2012, Pew Research Center released data showing that 32 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are religiously unaffiliated. This was an 11 percent increase over any other age group that year, and a 7 percent jump from the 25 percent of young people who responded this way in 2007” (source) 

Now we know that religion is flawed, because it is made by humans, so there is no expectation that it should be perfect. But there is also evidence that despite churches (specifically christian) are failing at an unbelievable rate, researchers are seeing “churches planted at a rapid rate….. It’s a transition from an outdated model to one that’s hopefully working better”  (Source) . So it’s not that the people don’t want to try something, which is supported by the fact that although there is a decrease in millennials affiliating with a “religion”, the latest Pew survey from 2014, states that “86 percent (of Millennials) still profess belief in God” (source) 

So then why are Millenmials running from religion? Because it’s being run by like many other institutions. Instead of being a shining light, we are falling for the same ills: power, greed, and fame. And more than any other institution, those three things make it hard to lead something where humility is kind of the number 1 ingredient in leading a group of believers. I would love to speak to a member in televangelist Creflo Dollar’s congregation. Last week, he created a gofundme account for a new jet, and the fact he still leads a church baffles me. He is one of the many national pastors, who could almost cover T.I.’s song, “If it ain’t about the money”.

This generation has grown up with some of the richest, most famous religious leaders, not to mention we grew up with the catholic scandal actually being out  in the open versus behind close doors, tell me why it’s crazy to think we’re less likely to want to be affiliated with a religion or religious groups. Certain culture, racial groups, and religions differ on the statistics, but across religions lines, one thing that is certain, millennials need for religion is declining. Maybe it’s as more people are educated, they need less religion?

Some people believe that, “young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice …… young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness….. What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.” (source) 

While I agree to an extent, when you look at alternative churches, or what some call the “feel good” churches, their leaders start a church and lead the church for YEARS, as many of the traditional churches do. As churches grow,  certain things flow in, more money, radio or TV deals, more attention, power, and fame. Now for some, can they stay grounded? I am not so sure. We are human, and to err really is human. When you ask people no longer affiliated with a belief system, its often something that happened to them or some religious drama.

Religious leaders serving for their whole life was always an interesting concept, especially in the Christian faith, when Jesus only served in his ministry for 3 years on earth, are those leaders greater than he? Is he not the example?

My mother, a very devout woman, has always made the point that you should never discuss a spiritual or religious matter over and over, but in today’s society it feels as if we don’t have any conversations about religion, too contentious. Religion, spirituality, or your belief system, isn’t like race, there are times you should be surrounded by people who are just like you, but if we never talk about differing views and ideologies, we are doing ourselves a disservice. So I want to hear from you,

 Why do you think Millennials are less religious? Or why are millennials finding less need for places of worship?

Comment below or tweet me @TheDSTLawyer or @missinperspctiv