Sunday, February 28, 2016

Love is... Not Self-Seeking

It is amazing how God can teach two people a different lesson from the same situation.
During this time, Coretta and I were both dealing with the anniversary of tragedies in our lives; we were both sensitive and on edge.
I didn't think it was anything wrong with the question I asked her; it was completely logical in that circumstance. I was baffled as to how it could be offensive. That was definitely not my intention and I did apologize.
I have asked myself many times over the years who gets the "act out" or "easily offended" pass in this kind of situation. We both had absolutely good reasons to use it.

I finally got my answer. God used the same scripture He used to teach Coretta a lesson to teach me a lesson. No one should feel entitled to the "act out pass," especially amongst friends. Why? Because love is not self-seeking.
According to the online free dictionary, self-seeking is defined as having or showing an exclusive preoccupation with one's own profit or interest. It can't get any more clearer than that.
When I read Coretta's devotional, I was like, look at God! At the same time God was teaching her that love is not easily angered, he was teaching me that love is not self-seeking.

So, the next time you feel like you have "the right" to act up in a particular situation, ask yourself if you are being preoccupied with your own interest and know you can choose to act in love instead.
Wow. Mind-blowing

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Lying Game




I read The Lying Game by Sara Shepard as part of my reading challenge last year as a book turned into a T.V. show. I loved the show on ABC Family but to my disappointment, it only lasted for two seasons. I love many shows on ABC Family, now known as FREEFORM, like The Fosters and Switched at Birth. Don't judge me, I could still be considered to be in the demographic for young adult (YA) novels.
So, I should have loved the book, right?
The book had an intriguing and engaging story; sort of like a mystery/thriller. The goal was to figure out who killed the narrator who had just discovered she had a twin sister in foster care.
The show was set up quite differently from the book. I can't decide which version I liked better. Yes I can, the T.V. show. First of all the book was badly written which was baffling to me because this author has had more than one of her YA novels turned into TV shows.

The book was hard to read. It was narrated by the twin that was eventually murdered but sometimes the newly discovered twin would jump in the driver’s seat making the book painful to read. I was often confused of who was talking, when.
I didn't give up on the book because I wanted to know how the T.V. series differed from the book and most importantly, who killed the narrator. Unfortunately, I would have had to read 5 more books to find that out and I wasn't going to put myself through that, so I just looked it up on Wikipedia. I can tell you, I did not think that person was the killer.
I can’t say I gleaned any life lessons from this book but it did cause me to look at my work more critically as a writer. You should pick it up if you are looking for an intriguing, entertaining story but not too picky on writing technique.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Manner's Academy (American Crime)

My niece and nephew just started a new school in Grovetown GA. When I asked them separately what they liked about their new school both of them told me about the three academies available to them. From my understanding, these academies are like electives in addition to their regular classes. When I was in school, we called it exploratory.

Brandon is in the Coding Academy which I think is way cool! Genesis said she was in the Manners Academy- you know etiquette, she clarified.

I often say girls are taught how to be ladies, how to carry themselves and how not to act but who are teaching the guys how to be gentlemen and how not to act?

Now lets get past the usual arguments: no father figures in the home. Where I'm from, even if the parents aren't together, the fathers are still involved in their children's lives. Another argument: if girls acted the way they are supposed to then guys would have no choice but treat them with respect.

One of my favorite shows on television right now is American Crime. Now this show deals with deep issues I am not qualified to speak on. But one topic they touch on is how does a boy learn to be a man.

In the midst of other situations, the show follows one teenage male who is one of the captains of the basketball team at his elite private high school, Leyland Academy. This character can not keep his hands to himself. I mean, he seems to be deliriously overcome with hormones. His mom is always warning him that all girls want to do is use and trap him because he is good looking, talented and comes from money. What kind of message is that sending to her son?

In Episode 6, he was commiserating with his teammates how his mom is always telling him how all "b*tches" just want to use him. He goes on to say:
The messed up thing is b*tches get to act the way they act and you still have to treat them like, like people, he said with disgust. Back in the day you could just be pop, pop and be done with it. Now, b*tches get to act how they act and you can't do nothing.
Again I say, who is teaching young men to not take advantage of girls just because they can? Who is teaching our young men to be respectful to a lady even if she isn't being respectful to herself? Who is teaching them that a girl's body is not theirs for the taking?  

As Christians, if we taught our young men the ways of Christ instead of gender mores and traditions, they would be taught respect for women by default.

There needs to be a Manners Academy at Leyland Academy and the rest of the world. For it not to be, is a crime and a shame.

American Crime airs at 10:00/9:00 p.m central on ABC.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016



"If this man didn't get out of jail after his last stent, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to kill your brother."

I have the beige knit sweater my brother received for Christmas; his last Christmas. When my mom found it in the laundry room weeks after his death, she ran up the stairs crying. She gave it to me and told me to keep it as a memento. I still have it. I usually wear it on the anniversary of his death which was yesterday February 9th, 21 years ago. The knitting on that sweater has come apart and there are huge gaps in it. I tell myself that's the style I'm going for to justify wearing that tattered garment.
Last Wednesday, me, my brother's 21 year old son and his mother drove to Montgomery AL for the parole hearing of the convicted killer just as we did 5 years agoPartly due to my nephew's declaration to the parole board that he only wants to hear his dad say he's proud of him and the sheer fact that he should, the convict's  sentence was extended by 5 more years.
I always have mixed feelings about these parole hearings. No matter what happens, my brother will still be dead.  The quote above is what the victim's advocate said to me the first time this guy was up for parole. Her comment gave me pause; I had never thought of it that way. That man should not have had a chance to kill somebody else's baby and "that's the truth, Ruth." My nephew, my brother's son was only 3 months old when his father was killed.

Spike Lee's new musical satire, Chiraq, brought up more uncomfortable feelings, mainly since I knew the parole hearing was coming up. As the title suggests, the movie compares the violence in Chicago's black community with a war zone; i.e. Iraq. According to Spike Lee, there have been more murders in Chicago in the past ten years than American casualties in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The violence in my hometown, Birmingham AL seems to be on its way to rival those numbers. There is a different murder report on my Facebook feed posted by my local news every morning when I sign in.

The movie also exposes the absurdity of police officers killing just as many black men as the men in gangs kill each other. We often hear, "what about black on black crime," as a counterargument to police brutality but as Lystralla said in Chiraq, we still deserve respect. Angela Bassett's character asserts, "if gun laws didn't change after Sandy Hook, black lives are way out of range."

There is absolutely no value of human life on any level anymore by anyone. That is the current state of our culture. How did that come to be? It is baffling to me. Chiraq pointed out that there used to be a gang code to never hurt children or the elderly but now its every man for himself.