Meditations of a christizen (christian-citizen)upon today's topics.
|I, Brother James, cultivated through my imagination and birthed via writing instruments (pen, laptop, etc) 'The Word Courier's Journal'. It is one of several literary efforts so conceived to include the "word", the mind altering, eye opening, life saving gospel of Jesus Christ into the every day conversation on those things deemed relevant to those readers who stumble upon this column. I and all other followers of the Lord are called to witness this message across the globe or at the very least to those around us. Jesus did say "Go therefore and teach all nations..." (see Matthew 28:19 KJV Holy Bible) Here lies a modest attempt to introduce the unknowing people to the Lord and immerse they who know Him in discussion with respect to His outlook on all that matters.|
I confess, I'm being lazy for the holiday weekend. I'm doing like the television programs that show reruns on the holiday instead of airing a live show. Rather than produce a new article on Thanksgiving Day, I am publishing a turkey day themed reprint from the now defunct blog, The Gold Standard. The entry was originally published November 25, 2008. It revisited a Thanksgiving in which thankfulness was pushed out of my heart by anxiety. However, looking back on it, the goodness of the Lord was once again demonstrated in my life.
Herein lies the message:
Thanksgiving arrives in two days. It is a holiday that typically invokes delightful memories. One particular Thanksgiving Day stands out as an exception. The date was November 22nd, 2001 a rare Thanksgiving that was not the last Thursday of the month. I, to be perfectly honest did not feel so thankful. The month and my lease would end in eight days. I still had not secured another apartment.
I neither expected nor desired to renew the lease. The landlord would only renew the lease under the most egregious terms. Bad blood proliferated between us. The previous winter, I reported her to the city to get the heat working and a lock fixed. She was still ticked.
Two years prior, I blew the chance to rent from one of our saints. The place was a larger, less expensive apartment in a building far better maintained and in the same neighborhood. However, I did not move fast enough. This served as a good example of the maxim that today’s circumstances are a result of yesterday’s choices.
It is reminiscence of this time that reminds me of the words King David spoke: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25 Holy Bible KJV)
Circumstances can become daunting but the Lord will not forsake his own. All was not lost. I still had my good full time job, a very good car, family and church resources. Within the week I secured another place. Furthermore, the location cut my commute to work in half. It was the beginning of the end.
The number “8” loomed large on that Thanksgiving. In biblical parlance, eight is the number symbolic of new beginnings.* I began life in a new place with new hopes and new dreams. The initial move led to the move that has taken me to where I am now which will then lead me to another place, one where God will use me all the more for his glory.
*Noah is but one example of the scriptures’ tendency to use the number eight to denote starting over. The flood eliminated all creatures (people included) confined to living on land with the exception of those brought on to the ark. Noah along with his family regenerated the human population on the earth following the flood. The Bible notes in Genesis 7:7 and 2 Peter 2:5 how Noah and his family, who numbered eight, were the only people who entered on to the ark and survived to begin the world anew.
|Illinois, my birth state, the state in which most of my life has been lived, will soon officially add more shame to its name. Already, it boast a history of political corruption replete with felonious governors and other incarcerated public officials. Now, it has decided to add decadence to its long story of demagogues dipping into the public dole. The Illinois House branch of the state legislature approved gay marriage on Tuesday November 5th 2013. Illinois is now the 15th state to approve of this heresy as public policy. More on that to come in the next 'Word Courier' entry.
I have thus far conscientiously avoided this controversial topic in the 'Word Courier' because in my opinion its received too much ink. It seems at times that a certain element among us believers have spoken so much of their opposition to gay marriage and abortion so as to reduce Christianity to a referendum on these issues and these issues only. To me, that is a mistake. God is Lord of all or not at all. Regardless of certain "Christian" elements abusing these issues for their political gain, I feel the need to use the 'Word Courier' blog to address the gay marriage issue.
I have addressed this issue in other forums. To that end, I have included a reprint of "The Devout Democrat's Dilemma" which was published in my semi active "Just-Us" blog in June of last year. It is still there. Here is that editorial written in response to President Obama's unfortunate decision to endorse gay marriage:
Devout Democrat Dilemma
I believe this is as good a time as any to comment upon President Obama’s May 9th proclamation supporting gay marriage. Initially, I did not intend to write about it. Now, I write this as Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York and San Francisco (among others) prepare to host their local editions of the Gay Pride Parade experience this weekend. The timing of these events is only incidental to my decision to address this issue in my sparsely read but globally followed Just-Us blog. Rather, it is due to a disturbing trend that I have encountered.
It seems some have decided the President’s endorsement of gay marriage is reason to cease their support for him. They have decided not to vote at all. I heard this sentiment while canvassing the neighborhoods and during phone calls to registered voters. Furthermore, one of my Obamaphile colleagues received a lengthy email from an acquaintance who has decided not to vote for the President. It seems necessary to enlighten you as to why I,a follower of Jesus Christ, will continue to work towards his reelection efforts.
Yes, I am disappointed that President Obama went on record as supporting gay marriage. However, I realize that he spoke a personal opinion with regard to a legal matter. Lest we forget, he also said that this is a subject best left for the states to decide. And guess what? North Carolina and California are two states that supported him in 2008 and rejected gay marriage.
Lord of all or not at all
We as believers must make our voting decision like all other choices with an eye towards the total context of God’s unfailing word. The statement of faith that my church body emits every Sunday declares “We believe that the Bible is the inspired and only infallible Word of God.”
It is divided via verses, via chapters, via books and sections of books. Furthermore, many writers that span many centuries codified its message. Yet it is one word authored and derived from one source.
The one who spoke the Word is Lord of all. Given the plenary nature of His Lordship and the unity of His truth, we are not at liberty to act as though a single issue addressed by Him can be viewed to the exclusion of all other subject matter. The Christian faith extends beyond single issue sound bites devised by cynically laden political hustlers to mislead people.
The Lord is over marriage. He is over the master/servant (employer-employee) relationship. He is over stewardship of the world’s resources. He is over money. He is over all things. We as saints must make decisions as if we understand that all of this matters to our Lord.
The letter of the Lord
So what is the Word as it pertains to all things gay?
God described the behavior in question as an abomination before Him. (see Leviticus 18:22 Holy Bible KJV) He expressed this sentiment as he warned Israel to forsake the ways of the Canaanites.
The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” He then used the remainder of verse nine and all of verse ten to list examples of behavior that will eliminate people from the privilege of eternal life. The sexual activity referred to in Leviticus 18:22 is among the actions listed.
Different sections, same message-The Word in the Old Testament (Leviticus) is in harmony with the Word in the New Testament (1Corintians 6:9) as expressed by Paul. The belief that abominable activity can find sanction in the divinely inspired relationship that is marriage conflicts with the Word of God.
What does the Word say about righteousness?
Jesus plainly stated the following: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men shall do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 Holy Bible KJV)
We are to do right by one another. Indeed, Jesus statement that “this is the law and the prophets” tells us that this is the measure by which holiness, righteousness and the love of God is expressed. All of the correct doctrine and religious ritual in the world fails when we refuse to do right by one another. The Lord told Israel via the prophet Isaiah that he hated their rituals and directed them to repent. He told them true worship is to stand up for society’s most vulnerable members. (Isaiah 1:10-17) The Word’s continuity is demonstrated again when the disciple James tells us the following: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) Live right and do right.
Saints let’s get real. A Holiness political party doesn’t exist here in the United States or anywhere else in the world. It would be great it if the political choices were between the “let’s praise the Lord acappella style party” vs. the “let’s praise the Lord with an orchestra party.” However, in our nation, in this world, we are stuck with the Republicans and Democrats.
We as saints are likened to pilgrims traveling in a strange land. We have two choices. One is the leader of a party that admittedly includes components who do not heed to scriptural doctrine but does make a genuine effort to cause our nation to live right and do right. The other choice flaunts gay marriage and abortion to appeal to those who would not otherwise support them.*
The Teapublican ‘s (Tea Party-Republican) modus operand i is to assault the idea that Jesus regards as the foundation of human relationships. I can’t support a party that scapegoats entire groups of people(immigrants), win elections under dubious circumstances, and conduct political witch hunts when things don’t go their way. The simple verbal agreement with isolated issues of biblical doctrine is not enough to cause me to ignore their disdain to the reality of love thy neighbor. Therefore, I will cast my money, efforts and vote to President Obama and the Democrats. We saints who believe all of God’s word should do likewise. And guess what? Should Mitt Romney and his ilk win the election you better believe the a fore-mentioned Gay Pride Parade events will march on as they have during the administrations of Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W Bush.
Get real saints.
*Read the book on political commentary entitled "Whats the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" author Thomas Frank
|The “fall classic” is upon us. The World Series of major league baseball is tied at one win each between the parochial Bo-Sox and the mid American heroes, the red birds. Baseball contest that involve my Cardinals provide a guide post with which to remember other events. The late September or early October 2004 contest written about in my most recent post (see ‘Word Courier’ entry Love Your Life, Like Your Sports Oct 21,2013)how much I love to join the red wave that floods Busch Stadium on game days.
A Cardinals victory in 2001 also featured prominently in one of the most memorable weeks of my life. The win referred to here happened in May of that year. I did not go to this game. I simply watched it on television. The unforgettable (for the most part) triumph occurred the same week my sister and brother in law married. The wedding took place on Saturday. The day before their wedding, Friday, stood out as well. I passed the Illinois state test for the property/casualty insurance license. The notable red birds victory that I refer to happened on Thursday evening.
The Cardinals at the time enjoyed a ridiculous home winning streak against the Chicago chumps. (Forgive me for the typo, I meant to write Chicago Cubs) J.D. Drew was with the team then. Perhaps my memory is fuzzy , but it seems that a Cardinal pitcher threw his way out of a bases loaded jam at one point during the game. I do remember clearly that the streak remained. I then retired for the night.
The location where with I viewed the game was significant because I wasn’t at home. I left my house, a top floor suite perched upon the summit of a south side Chicago two flat, to drive to my then North West suburban Chicago job site that morning. We finished our pre licensing training with A.D. Banker on that afternoon. The test was at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. I didn’t want to chance tardiness via the challenging morning rush hour traffic leaving Chicago’s south side en route to a North West suburban location. As a result, I left work Thursday and drove to a hotel/motel near the test site.
I was at the hotel and or motel (can’t remember the chain) when I viewed the Cardinals smack down of the lowly Cubs. This of course kept my good spirits lifted. I then took the test which quite frankly seemed completely foreign to what we studied. As such, I just let my instincts take over. And, voila I passed. I went to the wedding without the burden of having failed this significant trial and celebrated the matrimony with a light heart. I believe nothing helps one get ready for an important test like a good night’s rest and a St.Louis Cardinals team win.
|The World Series, Major Leagues' baseballs championships begin this coming Wednesday in Boston. The tradition clad Red Sox will host the event this year. The Bo-sox and my beloved St.Louis Cardinals have clashed in the 'series' before. The two proud franchises split their two previous World Series matchups played since my birth. The Cardinals won the '67 bout (which I don't actually remember) whereas the Bo-sox swept the '04 series.*
I recall how my Cardinals' bats fell silent against the mighty Red Sox pitching staff. I also remember watching my fellow Cardinals fanatics give the team a standing ovation following the fourth and final game. I viewed this scene on television wishing to be included with the sea of red applauding the team for a fine season.
I witnessed the team's last regular season victory in the only game that I attended that year. They defeated t he Milwaukee Brewers on what was likely the first weekend in October. It was the only time ever that I went to St. Louis solely for the purpose of watching a Cardinals game. During the other games, I was either already in town or traveled there for another reason(s) and ended up going to a game while visiting.
The aura of my Cardinals fanatic reputation preceded me even back in 2004. I reserved some paid time off from the cubicle farm for early November. I was gone for a week or so. The Cardinals and then Senator, John Kerry (but now Secretary of State) lost their respective bids for the top spot during my off time. Some of my co-workers actually speculated that I was so upset about the Cardinals loss it drove me to quit my job. I know this because they said as much upon my return.
Sure, I like my sports teams, but let's not get carried away. I apply sports commentator/philosopher Colin Cowherd's credo to my life; love your life, like your sports. The grounding provided by my belonging to Jesus Christ supplies me with the main source of balance within life. I live a life that I love that includes people that I love (and who love me) and the high flying red birds are a part of it. I am elated with their wins but not deflated when they lose.
*The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox in the pre Brother James era series final between them in 1946.
The Teapublicans (Tea Party-Republicans) continue to express their ‘sink the ship to drown the captain’ attitude towards President Obama and the United States of America. They are so hell bent on taking the President down that they will gladly and knowingly send the nation to hell in a hand basket for the sake of smearing him. The hatred they harbor (yes, I said hatred) is disturbing. It’s apparent that the Teapublicans love getting their way much more than they love America.
The Chistizens (Christian-citizens) can always refer to the Scriptures for guidance. Solomon displayed a keen eye with regard to seeing through an agenda. In this case, two women claimed the same child as their son. Solomon, the wise king of Israel, determined the real mother as the one who displayed love towards the child even though it meant denying herself the motherhood experience. He knew t the other woman’s willingness to allow the boy’s death for her hollow symbolic “victory” demonstrated that she didn’t have an authentic motherly love towards him.
The Teapublicans’ attitude toward America is similar to that imposter mother. They would sooner destroy our country and get their way than to support improving America while their opposition holds the presidency. The Teapublicans fail to display the traits of a loyal opposition party. The loyal opposition opposes those in charge, yet still want what’s best for the group. For instance, England’s Labour Party opposed the Conservative Party Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Yet, they fully embraced his fight to fend off the Nazi led attempt to occupy England.
The Teapublicans, on the other hand, are not a loyal opposition party. They are a stopposition party. They do not seek to oppose the President while working with him to build a more successful nation. Instead, they exist only to the President’s agenda.This is has been their goal from day one. Mitch McConnell, a senator from Kentucky said "my number one priority is making sure president Obama's a term president" as opposed to my number one goal as a U.S. Senator is to help move America forward regardless of who's president. The unofficial tea party representative, radio loud mouth, wind bag Rush Limbaugh boast that he hopes President Obama fails. The infantile mentality of the Teapublicans wins out over any concern of country.
And as a result, we still experience a government shutdown as I write this.
|School is back and has been so close to a month for a lot of today's youth. The bully did not move and he/she sure didn't graduate. So, he/she is baaack.
I reprinted much of an op-ed originally published on my semi active "Just-Us" blog. I leave you few 'Word Courier' readers with my two cents on the issue.
Bullying, so what’s the big deal anyway? A big boy beats up or otherwise humiliates his smaller, weaker classmate as others look on. It’s a common childhood rite of passage. The television sitcoms of old thought as much. The “bully” episode would be displayed on occasion much as a Christmas show came out during the holiday season. Andy taught Opie a valuable lesson and all was well. But, that’s just TV.
The problem is bullying is all too much a real life phenomenon. And, it extends beyond the playground. The social dynamics of bullying is played out socially, while communicating, (cyber bullying) in the neighborhoods (street gangs) and on the job. It rears its abusive and ugly head by means of physical, psychological and social ploys.
Bullying: The source
Bully dynamics reveal what the Holy Bible refers to as the “flesh” within us. The book of Galatians (chapter 5:19-23) contrast varying aspects of the flesh, that drive from within that cause us to rebel against God, to the attributes of the Spirit. The Bully context gives rise to these examples of the flesh:
The reader may wonder what ‘black magic’ and the like have to do with bullying. I’m glad the half a dozen or less of you who read this asked. It is about control. Bullying is an exercise of authority and power of another human being. The estranged husband/boyfriend/significant another who stalks and threatens his “x” is a bully. The perverts who perpetrate evil upon their victims take bullying to a devastating extreme.
Bullying gives the bully a safe outlet to express his/her fury. The object to which the anger is directed need not be the reason for the misplaced rage. How much of society’s domestic abuse is anger that gets expressed at the nearest target? Think about it.
The Bully tactic is a natural avenue to exercise hate. Groups enable weak cowardly individuals to collaborate and spew their angst toward others. Governments are often the organization through which hate is dispersed. The genocide practiced by the Nazi regime of the past and throughout Africa as of late, represent grown-ups taking the us vs. them mentality to a disturbing level. Al Qaeda and its ilk feed off the losers of this world who gather into a mass to commit atrocities.
This may be one of the more pathetic human frailties. It makes as much sense for me to curse the bird because it can fly, as it does for me to begrudge someone who has something that I do not own. I suspect the green trait (not the good green as in eco-friendly) stirs much of the schoolyard, workplace, and community bullying.
Bullying is like any other destructive behavior. It arises out of something beyond the bully context. The surest way to deal with the poisonous plant of bullying is to get to its seed. The natural reasons may vary but it seems that it always amounts to a "weak" person (or people) trying to assert power over another or the appearance of such to make up for their own real or perceived lack of power. It is an effort to fulfill something that lacks with someone.
The hopelessness the bully feels must be confronted in the natural and spiritual spheres. This is due to the fact that Bullying is just that, a natural outcome of a spiritual shortcoming. That which is not right finds a mean to express itself one way or another. So then, the key is to counter the un-right (for lack of a better term) with what's right. And, in the case of people, it's better to handle them as young saplings who can still bend towards the right way as opposed to wait until they become old stuck in place trees whose nefarious growth can only be stopped with an ax i.e. destruction.
I honestly believe the church may have misplaced its emphasis in ministry. Perhaps we should be more about outreach to un-churched, non familial people who are still at a point where they can be reached.and dare I say saved.
|Tom Cruise starred in the movie “Born on the Fourth of July”, a biopic about Ron Kovic, a patriotic American who volunteered to fight in Vietnam but later became an anti war advocate. The Bruce Springsteen hit song “Born in the U.S.A.” often accompanied trailers for that cinematic production. It is appropriate that a super patriotic individual’s birth date would fall on July 4, America’s Independence Day celebration. Likewise I believe that it isn’t coincidence that my birth date coincided with Labor Day. I remember what Rev. Walter McCray* once said to me with regard to coincidence: “Who put the co in the incidence?”
I already had good reason to support the labor movement cause. (see Sunday’s ‘Word Courier’ entry “Weekend Testimony” 9/1/2013) Today, this morning to be precise, the Lord revealed via my cell phone calendar that the timing of my birth was divinely inspired. The date September 3rd ,1962 fell on Labor Day. Marvel not that I possess such intense feelings for all things organized labor.
I don’t know of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to write. To that end, today’s “celebration” includes- wait for it…writing. As such, prep work continues on two articles that I intend to publish this month on Hub Pages, another internet location that houses my written work. (see Bio, favorite web sites) The publishing of today’s entry is also part of the fun.
Fortunately, my current gig doesn’t require that I work today. I appreciate this because traditionally, I have made a concerted effort to avoid working at my jobs on my birthday. I have either scheduled the day off or arranged for my vacation time to include my birthday. As a result, I have only worked on my birthday twice in the past 20 years.
I worked the cubicle farm on the Labor Day/birthday in 2001.It was my neighbor brother’s tradition to treat me to a Chi-Sox game as a birthday gift. (He is also referred to in the ‘Word Courier’ entry “Birthday Fast B4 the Birthday Bash: Fast Story” 7/31/2012) I was fortunate to escape the cubicle farm early that day and watch most of the game with he and his long time buddy from their college years. The game memory is fuzzy but me thinks the Chi-Sox honored my 39th birthday with a victory.
Ironically, I “worked” on my 31st birthday, September 3rd, 1993 while employed as a labor organizer. This occurred on Friday of the Labor Day weekend. The Labor Day parade was on display in Chicago’s famed “Loop” downtown business district. I believe this is particularly appropriate given that union labor built the world’s best skyline. I was at the parade with my co-organizers and some employees when the local called me into the office. And, guess what? They acknowledged my birthday with a celebration including the obligatory sappy singing of the “happy birthday” song.
The labor movement, as an integral part of the civil rights movement helped to bless many among us with a decent standard of living. A. Philip Randolph, the man chiefly responsible for organizing the largely African-American porters’ workforce in the railroad industry, was a key organizer of the March for Jobs and Freedom. However, like all else good, it begins with the Lord. It is written in the book of James “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” ( James 1:17 Holy Bible KJV) Amen to that.
*Walter Arthur McCray is the author of the classic “The Black Presence in the Bible: Discovering the Black and African Identity of Biblical Persons and Nations.” One of my brothers gave this book to me as a Christmas gift years before I would sit in Rev McCray’s bible study. Who put the co in the incidence?
|The saints at my church home participate in what we refer to as testimony service. It is there, where we stand up to sing songs to the glory of God and/or speak of his goodness and how it has applied to us. I have heard some beautiful sentiments expressed during this part of the worship service. Miraculous healings, divine escapes from death and injury and just in time financial rescues are peppered throughout our testimonies.
One line is repeated so often that it risk the dreaded cliché status. (Having said that how the Lord blessed is still worthy of repetition) Here, the believer declares the following: “we were poor, we didn’t have much but we had love.” I praise God to hear of those who grew up poor yet the Lord still provided them a loving environment to grow. However, I cannot and do not identify with their testimony.
The ‘Word Courier’s (yours truly) testimony is as follows: We were not poor, we had more than enough and yes we had love.” I know my parents worked hard. I have previously mentioned that my dad worked multiple jobs. (see Godly Fatherhood 6/14/2013) One of the more recent ‘Word Courier’ entries “Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk” (8/22/2013) referred to my mom’s sacrifice. However, many work hard without achieving such prosperity.
Hard work is but part of the formula to achieve prosperity. The women in Sub-Saharan Africa who walk long distances for the prospect of retrieving clean fresh water work hard. Children in places like Bangladesh and China work hard. And, yet they have little to show for it.
I am not a foe of working hard by any means. I applaud my parents, siblings, and other relatives (most of them anyway) examples of nose to the grindstone efforts. In fact, I too have worked extra gigs in addition to a full time job. This was particularly true of the 1990’s decade. And, more importantly, the Scriptural text that I hold dear condemns laziness. The New Testament declares in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that “…that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (KJV) Solomon denounced slothfulness when he admonished t he lazy to look to the ant as an example of industrious behavior. (see Proverbs 6:6)
An opportunity for hard work to get rewarded still need be present.* The Lord has spoken His desire of shared prosperity on at least three occasions. He commands in Leviticus 19:13 that people are not to cheat their workers of their wages. Furthermore, he promises judgment against t hose who would deny their hired help of just wages. (see Malachi 3:5) He also hears the cries of those who are fraudulently denied their wages. ( see James 5:4)
I look at the example of my pastor, Elder Clyde Moore, who along with his brother were two of the pioneer African-American union carpenters in this area. Today, he is a retired homeowner who is apparently doing well. I am positive he worked hard in Mississippi. I am also positive that he left b/c like so many others he wanted his hard work to get rewarded with hard cash.
I stress that he was a union carpenter. Moreover, my hard working parents were represented by labor unions. The postal workers ensured Dad received fair pay and benefits. Likewise, the I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) did the same for Mom. Together, they with their union jobs provided us a middle class living. I refer to my praise as the “weekend testimony” because so much of it was influenced by my parents’ membership in their respective labor unions. One union slogan refers to the labor movement’s success at establishing the eight hour work day and 40 hour work week: Unions, the people who brought you the weekends. Today, on the eve of Labor Day, this message is timely.
Again, we were not poor, we had more than enough and yes we had love. And, I’m glad about it. Praise God.
*Try telling the sharecroppers in this photo that all that's needed to get rich is a little hard work. The photo is in the public domain from the FSA (Farm Security Administration). The photo located on Wikipedia entry "Sharecropping."
I know that as we get older, we may not look forward to our birthdays so much. I am the exception to this rule for two good reasons. One reason applies to everyone. We must consider what must have happened when we have stopped having birthdays. Think about it. Second, a particular observation/devotion event that pertains to me must come to an end before my birthday arises. I typically look forward to its end within a week or two of its beginning.
The observation/devotion event of which I speak is my annual birthday bash fast. (see 50 and still Fast(ing) 9/3/2012 and related ‘Word Courier ‘entries. I observe it for the 40 day period that begins on a Sunday in late or mid July and ends on a Friday. The final Friday is either the Friday of my birthday or the last Friday previous to that esteemed day. As such, this year it began July 21st and ended Friday August 30th at 6:00 p.m.
I abstained from processed sodium laced deli meat such as pizza toppings, lunch meat, sausage and smoked meats. In addition, I had forsaken salty snacks like potato chips and similar grub. You wouldn’t think this would be a challenge. And, yes it’s not the traditional fast no food or drink sunup to sundown. (see 50 and still Fast(ing) from last year) Still, I do a better job of Tuesday and Friday traditional fast during this time than otherwise.
It occurred to me as I ordered lunch from a local Steak and Shake that the taco salad was now available to me. Although taco shell chips may or may not be salty, I would not chance it before today.
Fasting though is more than abstinence from food and/or drink. I spoke of the yoke in a recent entry. (see “The Yoke is no Joke” 8/2/2013) I write now as was written then that references to the yoke in Scripture refer to repressive restraint put upon people. I use the term with regard to how sin restrains a believer’s growth. As such, destroying the yoke is a goal of my fast. Let’s just say there remains heavy lifting (fasting, prayer, meditation) still needed to break my yoke(s). However, I can candidly state that my imperfection is not as imperfect as it had been.
I refer to the next seasonal fast as the Good Friday Fast. The fasting period includes the 40 days leading up to Good Friday. Make no mistake about it, I really look forward to the Easter holiday, Resurrection Sunday during the six weeks previous to it.
The current week is a newsworthy seven day period. America celebrated the 50th anniversary of its consciousness changing, soul searing "March for Jobs and Justice" that culminated in Washington D.C. on August 28th 1963. Today, Friday, begins the Labor Day holiday weekend. And lest we forget college football season began Thursday.
I have reprinted an article that I first published on the now semi active Just-Us blog on January 10 2012. The title of today's entry is the same as that of the reprint. It followed upon the heels of the all S.E.C. B.C.S. title game for the college football's championship. The 'Word Courier' covered similar ground in "Out of Egypt", (10/30/12) a blog that spoke of integration at "Ole Miss" and its football program.
It seems strange that collegiate football and the soul of a nation are linked, but such is the case.
Law, Justice and Football
“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him”
Booker T Washington
The premier college football teams in the country, Alabama and Louisiana State University (LSU), members of the nation’s best college football league, the Southeastern Conference, competed Monday night for the coveted Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title. It was obvious before the game’s opening coin flip that a school representing the vaunted S.E.C. would win the B.C.S. national championship-again. The winner, Alabama 21-0, notched the S.E.C.’s sixth straight B.C.S. championship and the eighth such title over all. The title game was a rematch of the regular season game in which L.S.U. won 9-6 on November 5th of last year.
The college football world point towards the first Saturday in November 2011 as the day in which events led to an all S.E.C. final. However, it can be argued that an Alabama game played on the second Saturday in September of 1970 is the catalyst for the S.E.C./B.C.S. clash. The University of Southern California (U.S.C.) visited the Crimson Tide on that day and ran rough-shod 42-21 over the home team coached by the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. The Trojans integrated athletic unit simply out manned Alabama’s segregated i.e. all white team. Sam Cunningham, an African-American fullback left the most lasting impression with 100 plus yards rushing and two touchdowns. Bear Bryant is rumored to have quipped “Sam Cunningham did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years.”
The game was big but that statement would be a reach. However, southern schools did accelerate integration of their athletic programs there-after. Previously, African-Americans athletes in southern states went north or played at one of the historically black college and universities (H.B.C.U.) if they remained in the south. The state university of Texas, (Austin) fielded the last ‘all white’ national champion college football team during the 1969 season. Bubba Smith, (2/28/1945-8/3/2011) hall of fame player and native Texan took his talents north (Michigan State) to play his college ball. Mississippian Walter Payton (7/25/1954-11/1/1999), known as “sweetness” stayed in the south where he played for Jackson State University. Texas by 1977 was in the hunt for the mythical college championship led by African-American tailback Earl Campbell. Today’s Bubba Smiths and Walter Paytons would likely land at Texas, L.S.U., Alabama or some other southern behemoth.
The fateful U.S.C. - Alabama game is the subject of a book*that indicates its reach is not restricted to this particular league. And this is true. Miami (Fla) and Florida State, regional rivals did not become college football powerhouses until the onset of integration. The two Floridian football giants, Texas, and perennial power Georgia Tech all reside in what once was the U.S. Court of Appeals infamous Fifth Circuit. ** Schools within the old ‘notorious fifth’ and bordering states have accounted for 12 of the 14 B.C.S. championships.
The old “5” was deemed notorious because it received the bulk of civil rights era court cases. It had so many cases that the number of judges assigned to it were more than other circuits including those with higher populations. Gideon v Wainwright 372 U.S. 335 the Supreme Court case that established an all-inclusive right to counsel began in Florida.*** The old “5” was eventually split to make the work load manageable. Given the region’s history, it is apparent the south did not come to see the light but rather it was burned by the glare. The wood-shedding that USC put upon Alabama in 1970 caused some to realize if only with regard to college football that when “I” keep you down, I keep me down too.
Alabama has since repeated as college football's national champions with a beat down on Notre Dame. This gives the vaunted S.E.C. its 7th straight B.C.S. national title. Currently schools within the old 5th Circuit and bordering states have accounted for 13 of the 15 B.C.S. championships. The two schools that prevented the "South" from winning all of the B.C.S. titles are Ohio State University and of course the University of Southern California aka U.S.C.
*“Turning of the Tide: How One Game Changed the South” Don Yaegar
** The former Fifth Circuit consisted of the following states ; Alabama, Florida Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The current “5” include the latter three states. The other three states are now the 11th circuit.
*** “Gideon v Wainwright came out of Florida, a notorious 5th state but went directly to the Supreme Court without going to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.