SILENCE = CONSENT

Posts tagged “social

Stay Woke w/ Tuan N’Gai feat. Kevin E. Taylor

Pastor Kevin E. Taylor is one of the most exciting preachers I’ve ever heard.  He’s an author, activist, teacher, inspiration and overall genuinely great person.  Listen to our conversation and find out for yourself.

Stay Woke 004 – Kevin E. Taylor.

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Is This Your Pastor? – Rev. Bill Owens, Memphis, TN

It’s no secret that Rev. Bill Owens, Pastor of the Metropolitan Institutional Church in Memphis, TN and founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) is very vocal about his disdain for marriage equality for the LGBT community.  He, in his far-fetched point of view, has gone on record as saying, “Two people of the same gender having sex is like a human having sex with a dog.”  REALLY?

The good Reverend is now known as the National Organization for Marriage’s “liaison” to the Black Community  (liaison is code for Porch Monkey).  In fact, instead of organizing the Black Community to fight against Voter ID/Suppression laws, police brutality, drugs, violent crimes, lack of education, high unemployment and the disproportionate number of Black men in the prison system, the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) is rallying for 100,000 signatures on a petition to stand against President Obama in this election because of his personal views on marriage equality.  Doesn’t our community have bigger fish to fry than trying to keep the LGBT community from having the right to get married?  When has equality ever hurt any community?

Rev. Owens has been quoted as saying, “I didn’t march one inch, one foot, one yard, for a man to marry a man, and a woman to marry a woman.”  Huffington Post revealed that there is little evidence to show he participated in ANY Civil Rights Protest.  WAKE UP CALL!!!

Black people need to wake up, ESPECIALLY the people who attend this man’s church.  As my grandmother used to say, “something in the milk ain’t clean.”  I’m not going to say that Rev. Owens is a bad person.  I won’t do the same things he does to the LGBT community by saying he should be condemned to hell because he’s a bold-faced liar, even though the very Bible he reads says, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” – Proverbs 6:16-19.

What I will ask is what is Rev. Owen’s motivation for this anti-gay crusade?  Has NOM paid him to take this public stance like they paid other so-called leaders?  What motivates an elder, a leader in the community to sell out his own people? Could it be $20,000 or 15 minutes of fame?  Maybe he’s gay and is using this to work out his own deliverance (it doesn’t work, ask the Republicans who’ve done it).

In the vein of Pentecostals who believe everything is a spirit or demon, “it sounds like he has a Judas spirit to me.”  His calling the President “Judas” is classic transference.  He’s trying to make himself feel better about his issues by accusing someone else of what ails him.

We cannot allow Rev. Owens or anyone else to divide us and distract us from the issues that are really hurting us.  Now is the time for justice and unity.  Marriage equality, like racism, isn’t a black issue.  It’s the issue for those who profit from a system of oppression in this country.  They are willing to use their money and the name of GOD to continue in their corruption.  Unfortunately, pastors like Rev. Bill Owens have forgotten that LGBT people are an integral part of the Black community.  Hell, his generation raised us.

Tuan N’Gai is Co-Founder of the Operation: REBIRTH Movement. He’s the author of “Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma,” “Little Brown Boy’s Blues,” and a contributor to the New York Times Best Seller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.” He lives in Chicago, Illinois.


About to Get My Head Cut Off

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I’ve been trying to figure out a nice way to express what I’m feeling inside. I’m once again facing the fear that I won’t be liked if I say what I truly feel, the way I truly feel it.  I’m afraid of being harshly judged, or even worse, not being heard at all if I dare to set myself free from this prison of silence.  I guess, I’ve lived here so long, it’s become second nature.  I’m used to having to compromise my own feelings so everyone else can be comfortable.

But if I’m going to grow, and conquer the fear, I have to confront it head on.  It’s not going anywhere any other way.  Sometimes I feel like I’m John the Baptist, and it’s only a matter of time before I’m beheaded for speaking the truth… or at least the truth as I see it.

Since moving to Chicago, I have heard daily reports of young Black men killing people.  One weekend, more than 40 were shot.  More recently, 15 shot in one day. We are being exterminated by our own sons, brothers, cousins, uncles… and for the young ones, our fathers.  I mean, what the fuck has these kids so angry?

I understand poverty is a bitch.  The economy has everybody in a vice grip but, REALLY?  It’s so bad we kill ourselves?  These young, misguided warriors are killing each other over “turf” they don’t even own!  They have no mortgage, or no deed to ANYTHING.  They “feel disrespected” because someone accidentally bumped into them in the store or at the club.  Here’s one… “someone disrespected they bitch.”  Or, someone has a pair of sneaks they want, and instead of getting a fuckin job, and working so they can buy them for themselves (like real men do), they bust someone over the head, or kill them.  Just for the latest Jordans.

This makes me angry. I’m angry because it seems nobody is doing anything to stop it.  Those with the resources to provide services to our community are doing nothing!  And those of us who ARE trying to do something, we speak truth to power only to be written off as heretics.  When we present possible solutions to our problems, we are barely taken seriously if at all.  We are told that our possible solutions will not work without even giving them a try.  I guess if someone other than the “leading blacks” can get any attention or credit for doing something good in the community, is too much of a threat to their non-profit salaries.

Instead of doing something… ANYTHING, it’s easy to just pass the buck and place the blame.  It would be easy to blame the mothers.  We know where they are right?  In the club with THEIR mothers, seeing who can twerk the best. When they get drunk, their “men” instigate fights so they can proudly post their ratchedness on WorldStar Hip-Hop.  I mean, who doesn’t want to be on WorldStar?

We can blame the absent fathers too, right?  When “thug” is what it means to be a real black man, and when little boys are being beat (some to death) for the simple human act of crying, what do we expect?

How about we blame “the man” or “the system”.  We all know that the United States of Amerikkka is set up for blacks to always be second class.  Oh no, wait… i forgot… blacks are too lazy, shiftless and trifling to get up off their asses and do whatever it takes to help themselves.

LET’S BLAME THE CHURCH!  We have churches on every corner in our ‘hoods and they are POWERLESS.  We have MEGA CHURCHES!  Beautiful, pristine, gated, prosperous, state of the art MEGA CHURCHES that have all this Holy Ghost, and all this faith and power, but can’t do ANYTHING to serve the ‘hoods they sit in.  All this “good news” being preached, and our elderly are afraid to sit on their own porches.  We have al this anointing, and power to cast out devils, but our daughters are undercover ghetto porn stars.

I guess it stands to reason the churches are powerless when Qua’shawn is giving $100 or more of his dope money to his grandmother every week, she puts it in church every Sunday, and the pastor (who doesn’t live in the hood) is using said money to pay for his Escalade and to send his kids to college.  I mean, who gives a fuck that Qua’shawn, Malik and Pookie, who paid for the new church building, will be a convicted on drug charges, will NEVER be able to vote again, will spend time in jail, and will have no opportunities to do anything differently if and when he gets out?  But, Praise the Lord for the new sanctuary, right?  And the church doesn’t see this as a problem. The black church’s REAL problem is gay people wanting marriage equality.

What I’m saying is, instead of asking, “Who is gonna do something?”, we should be asking “What can I do?” Each of us has the power to do something.  We can call for more police patrols in our neighborhoods.  I mean, it works for the rich white people.  Are WE not paying more taxes than THEY are?  We can use the power of our vote to put pressure on our elected officials to do more on behalf of our neighborhoods.  We can organize neighborhood watches.  The church and do much more than than pray, like open their doors for youth programs.  The church can be a meeting place for the community organize and educate the community on how to preserve our neighborhoods and save our children.  We can do something constructive to get our kids off the streets.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  We cannot afford for any more of our people to senselessly die.

Okay, I’m done. I put it as nicely as I could without editing out my passion.  I feel I’ve grown up a little bit.  I’m a little bit less afraid.  It feels good.  I finally got that off my chest.  I’m even putting some anti-violence programs together to propose to local churches and the police departments.  That’s SOMETHING, right?

 

Tuan N’Gai is the co-founder of Operation: REBIRTH, the author of “Will I Go To Heaven?  The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma”, “Little Brown Boy’s Blues”, and contributor to the New York Times Best Seller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living”


I CALL BULLSHIT!

Now that the warm and fuzzy “Kum Ba Yah” moment we had while remembering those who perished in the 9/11 tragedies is over, maybe the United States of Amerikkka can get back to the sexist, classist, racist, homophobic, divisive culture we know and love.

I call bullshit!  Amerikkka’s “we’re all one nation under GOD” pseudo-sentimentality during a national remembrance of 9/11 is about as sincere as knocking little old people over at Walmart during a black Friday  sale.  One Nation Under GOD me ass!

That is all.


Operation: REBIRTH

Since 2004, I have been proudly working in social justice ministry.  Being the co-founder of Operation:  REBIRTH (www.operationrebirth.com) has been a joyous (and sometimes frustrating) labor of love.  Over the years, I’ve been blessed to meet hundreds of people, speak on countless panels, conduct workshops, appear at book signings and preach at churches all over the country.  I have been adamant that Operation: REBIRTH would not be an organization, but a movement whereby homophobia is defeated, and justice reigns for all people.

The first thing we did with Operation: REBIRTH was to call the churches who preach and practice homophobia to the carpet in hopes of creating dialogue that would bring the community together so much needed healing could begin.  We learned early on that as marginalized people, if we are ever going to make ground in claiming our rightful places we will have to work together to make it happen.  Unfortunately, the church seems to be uninterested in embracing diversity.  So, Operation: REBIRTH took the stance that we would support the LGBT affirming or “radically inclusive” churches to build.  Once again we found that in most cases, the affirming churches were more interested in building big churches vs. building strong communities.

So, here we are in 2011.  After years of not updating the O.R. website, we are still seeing thousands of hits per month.  We are still getting hundreds of emails from all over the world asking for support, pleas for prayer, and asking if there is anything we can do to help people gain momentum in their communities.  We are proud to say we have helped people and are still regarded as leaders in the fight to kill homophobia and injustice.  Me and my partner in crime are amazed that something started seven years ago is still relevant work.  And no matter how badly we wanted to just let it go and be whatever it has been, we can’t.  The need for Operation: REBIRTH is too great.  This is something that is bigger than we thought it would be.  The work is bigger than us.

So, as co-founder of this profound movement, I would like to reiterate that YOU are Operation: REBIRTH!  I also ask what are you doing… what work CAN you do to help take the movement further?  What can you do to make Operation: REBIRTH a living and breathing organism, and not just a website or group on Facebook?  And since “silence equals consent”, what is your voice saying?

I promised GOD that I would honor the ancestors and the loved ones I’ve lost over the years by fighting the good fight of faith by empowering as many people as I could to lift their voices and cry out against injustice or abuse in any form.  Join with me and countless others all over the world.  Together, we can continue the legacy of those who came before us and make the world a better place for those following in our footsteps.


Relevance

I no longer feel comfortable with organized religion. It’s nothing against Christianity as an ideal or any religion for that matter.  It’s just, I feel that the black church as we know it is either dead or on life support at best, and there is no need to resuscitate.  I am at a point in my life where after doing research, and living most of my life within the institution, I am beginning to wonder, other than being a quick moneymaker for people with pimp mentality, is the church really relevant?  Is the black church as we know it really relevant as far as building communities of strong people?

The church has become a social network I’ve often called a “religious country club/cult of personality.  I think one of the easiest ways for a black man with any type of charisma or leadership ability to get credibility is to say he’s a pastor.  Nowadays is not just good enough to be a pastor, you have to be a Bishop or Apostle.  That’s where we get into the danger, because if all these young men and women who are “called” to be bishops and apostles, and they are not going to do anything different, but continue the sickness they’ve been taught, what good is it to anybody to have a church on every corner, led by bishops and/or apostles who have twelve members each?

And this is not just a problem with the mainstream church.  It’s the problem with these so-called gay affirming churches as well.  They look like Church of God in Christ, they sound like the Apostolics, they behave like Catholics and Baptists, they have your methods like the Methodists, but the only thing different is, “over here it’s okay for people to say that they’re gay.” You can come to church with your lover and not be judged.  Other than that, they’re just like the churches they came from.   So are they really doing any good?  Or are they just continuing the same emotional and spiritual damage that the mainstream church has been perpetrating for so long?

For many of us who have fled the mainstream church to find sanctuary in the churches on the margins, the most hurtful experiences we’ve had in church is at the hand of gay clergy. When the oppressed becomes the oppressor, they are more dangerous than the person who oppressed them.  It’s sad to think we’re no different from the white slave owners who oppressed and abused our ancestors in the name of GOD.  And we think we are really doing a good thing!

I think the church at its core, at its very foundation was evil from the get-go.  Don’t think for a moment that you can get good fruit from a bad tree. The things that are taught, and how scripture is manipulated is so damaging that the effects are irreversible.  The organized church has had every opportunity to evolve into a place of social responsibility. Clergy has had every chance to preach and live the truth.  Ministers have Sunday after Sunday to teach how we ALL are inextricably connected to GOD as our life force, and that is what makes us equal.  Yet consistently we hear false religious rhetoric while people die hungering and thirsting for the truth.

All my life, I’ve tried to be that nice, politically correct Christian guy that that tried to work within the system. I wanted to be a part of it, but the more I tried to fit in, the more they push back and say I don’t fit in.  In fact, the only way I could fit in is to do what they say, as they say it, how they say it, and deny myself.   What I got from the mainstream church is that I’m going to hell.  Yet I could serve in the church, and I could sing in the choir.  But in the end, because I’m openly a same gender loving man, and I refuse to “turn from my wicked ways,” I’m going to hell.  In my experience, the affirming Church has been even more elitist. It’s more classist.  To some extent, it’s worse than the mainstream church because you can’t even go to an affirming church and serve in ministry unless you are “qualified.”

Can the church really preach liberation without living social justice?  The church really doesn’t believe that everybody is created equal, and everybody can experience liberty in Jesus as they are if it doesn’t.  Look at how they don’t want to engage either the unchurched or people who don’t necessarily believe like they believe.  Church folks often don’t want to have seemingly difficult conversations with people who at their core that gays and lesbians are going to hell.  They are more comfortable preaching to the choir and surrounding themselves with people who think like them, act like them, and talk like them.  If the church is going to make any ground toward true liberation for all people, it cannot be afraid to engage people who believe differently.  If we could learn to communicate with one another, we might discover that our differences are not meant to separate us, but be teacher to us.  We may find that we are more alike than we are different.  Then we will be able to work together to heal the ills of our community and continue in the great legacy our ancestors left for us.

There is just something my grandfather used to say when I asked him I told him that I was called to preach.  He said, “you know when you are called to ministry when you cannot help it.  You try to run from it like Jonah but something inside you won’t let you go.  Your desire is to serve people and show them the love of GOD.”  The church has to go back to the place where we are asking the world, “How can I help you?” instead of saying “you’re going to hell unless you convert.”  Sometimes, I think we miss our blessing by standing in judgement in an attempt to make ourselves feel important and trying to be right.  The real joy of ministry is having the opportunity to serve people.  Our joy is in trying to enrich the lives of everyone we meet by showing them the love of GOD.  The church, affirming churches and mainstream alike, has the opportunity to really change the world for the better.  Hopefully, it will not die before realizing its true calling.

 


Liberating Oppression???

I really have issues with church people who always thumping their Bibles, because they come across as morons.  They just go about spouting whatever they’ve heard their pastor say, and it’s often without the benefit of scholarship.  Meaning, they take scripture at face value without thinking.  They call it “walking by faith”.  For instance, if they’re reading the book of Romans, they take no account of what was going on in Rome.  They don’t consider who wrote the book to see if what was written was due to an eye-witness account or if they are writing about what they were told.   They often don’t seek God for the spiritual application of what they’ve just heard or read.  Unfortunately in most churches it is “the Bible says, the Bible says, the Bible says,” and that’s it. Is it not the responsibility of the pastor to equip their people with the tools necessary to not only study the good book, but to think critically about what they are reading?  Isn’t the preaching of the Gospel supposed to evoke a hunger and thirst for the truth and righteousness?  Shouldn’t the preaching of the Gospel challenge one to seek knowledge of the truth for themselves?  In other words, question everything!  Nothing should be above questioning.  I mean, if you’re going to try to live you life according to what you are being taught, doesn’t it make sense to have a good understanding of those principles?

The church should be teaching people how to know GOD for themselves.  The church should teach people that GOD’s Word is relevant to their personal lives, and the Bible is a map that if used properly, can lead them to the truth.  It shouldn’t be forced on people and crammed down their throats like the so-called “Christian” founding fathers did to the Native Americans and African slaves.  Yeah, I said it!  The Bible is a book that was forced upon people in order to keep them afraid and under control.

It’s like this, when America was “discovered” and slaves brought over from Africa, the Native Americans and Africans had their own language, culture, and understanding of God.  But white supremesists felt their understanding of GOD was better than that of the “savages” they both kidnapped and were colonizing. So with their guns and whips, they punished or killed people publically in order to convert the “savages” so they could easily steal their land and rob them of their resources.  Eventually, the witnesses of this brutality decided to not accept this new religion, but said, “Okay Mr. white man, I’m going to make you believe that I believe what you’re saying about this person named Jesus even though I’ve never heard of Him, nor do I have proof that he existed.  I just want the beatings and killings to stop.”  Upon their profession of Jesus,  magically the beatings stop, and the scary white man isn’t so violent. That’s how the “good Christian colonizers” got the Native Americans and Africans under control.  That SAME agenda is being pushed on Africans today.

So let’s approach the Bible with the understanding that it (and Christianity) was forced upon Native Americans and Africans who accepted Christianity as a means of survival and obtaining freedom from enslavement, not necessarily because they really believed it.  And ANY and ALL documentation of the Native American or African cultures or religions were destroyed in an attempt to obliterate the fact that they existed as credible faith based systems.  Is it really okay to take a book that doesn’t speak very favorably about anyone but “white people” as the cornerstone of how we live our lives?  Is this really a credible reference to lead us to GOD or lead us to a better understanding of who GOD is?

The Bible itself says nothing clean can come from  unclean things.  Jesus said a tree is known by fruit it bears, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.  So if what was forced upon us was oppressive in nature, can we really have liberation or salvation?  Or is this really just an oppressive system that we we bought into just to “make the beatings stop”?

If Christianity is all about liberty and freeing people in Christ, I think it is safe to say one  can’t honestly call themself a Christian if total liberation it’s not the fruit of their labor.  And not just liberation from sin, because Jesus took away the sins of the world when he died and rose again.  I think we need to talk more about being saved from poverty.  What about being saved from abuse?  What about being saved from oppression?  We can’t talk about those issues because the church system as we know it, by its very nature is oppressive.   We say we believe that there is freedom in Christ, but we don’t live it.  We don’t really believe it.  That’s why the so-called “lost people” see our lives and call us hypocrites. Our lives don’t speak liberation.  At the very core of our spiritual walk is opression.