Thursday, December 28, 2006

If I was preaching a New Year's Eve Sermon I would say...

Don’t get stuck in 2006: Follow the path of Revolution and Liberation

This is the time of the year when we reflect and take stock of our lives. What have I accomplished? What am I planning to do differently next year? What were some of my difficult times, and how did I respond? This is what millions of people worldwide will contemplate. We will labor over this for a brief moment as that sad song echoes in the background ( We all know that song. At the completion of those few minutes a new year will be upon us, and it is that moment in time that will be critical.

Will we actually hold steadfast and true to our resolutions? Is the question we should ask ourselves. Making a resolution or commitment is pointless if we cannot do things differently than we did the previous year. Therefore, saying you will go to the gym three times a week is a wasted comment and will be a lie if you are not mentally prepared to workout before or after work. If you are not ready to get sweaty while in the gym please do not resolute to lose weight. This all sounds so simple. Nonetheless, we continue to have the same year we had the year before. The cycle does not change. Sh%t stays the same, and we get older while at the same time our lives become common place and typical.

Red Foxx in an episode of Sanford and Son said, “Us old grey dudes ain’t what we use to be.” This statement implies that there has been some level of change. It indicates that we are not in the place we were previously. Something has occurred that moved us from one point to another. Fred Sanford was referring to his age. He wanted to convey to Grady, Skillet, Leroy, and Bubba (his aging friends) that they are getting old and life is slowly, but surely coming to an end.

On Christmas day this year I was reminded by two of my best friends, Eric Johnson and Patrick Medley that we are aging and the one thing we can count on is imminent: Death. All three of us are a few years away from the big Four Zero. It was at that moment that I began to think about my life, again. You know when we look back over our lives there are instances in that time of thinking that we smile, tear-up, and/or push our chest out. Also, during this time we think about CHANGE.

There is always an opportunity for change. Most of us do not like it. We run from it and we put up barriers to prevent change, but most intelligent people understand that change is inevitable. It is bound to occur. It is those unintelligent and stubborn persons who cannot conceptualize that change is right around the corner. These are also the people who refuse to commit to a resolution. I was one of these people up until December 25, 2006 who never believed in making resolutions. However, it was something about that day that changed my mind. My impressions of resolutions were altered. Eric and Patrick know in detail what occurred. They are living witnesses of me being “moved”. Something church has been unable to do for years.

On December 31st at 11:59pm this year please think about making a change. A change for the better. If it is reading more. Do it. If it is volunteering more. Do it. If it is getting another job or opening up a new business. Do it! Just do what is necessary to receive change with open arms because A Change is Gonna Come God has made that promise to us. He told the prophet Jesus to revolutionize the world. We all know with revolution comes liberation. After liberation comes change. Resolve to liberate yourself in 2007. If you don’t someone else will become the millionaire. Someone else will sculpture a sexy looking body. Someone else will read more books. Someone else will spend more time with your children. Someone else will create a personal relationship with God while you are stuck in 2006.

Written by Muata. Inspired by that one thing we can depend on: DEATH.
Inspired by that song written and recorded by Sam Cooke

Holla at ya boy in 07!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Black Man: Complex, Conflicted, and Angry

The Grief that has caused the Anger

Anger is a dangerous emotion. It is the reason why many of our brothers are in prison. They just snapped one day and could not settle back down to a calm state, so now they are in prison having to serve out a prison sentence that could have been prevented if only they learned how to channel that negativity. A negativity that often times leads to the murder of another black person. We commonly call this black on black crime when in fact the most accurate description should be The Detrimental Inability to Handle Stress.

I have mentioned numerous times that for some people handling stress can be complicated. Too many of us find ourselves in predicaments that require restraint all the time. Like when our children challenge us. A teenager can make you wanna go up side their head! All of you with teenagers or who have raised a teenager understands what I am talking about. I, myself, have not had the unfortunate opportunity to go up side the head of a rebellious and know it all teen. I don’t look forward to the act either. The act is the action that takes place: the physical violence. The impetus of the act stems from our inability at times to handle that dangerous emotion we are all capable of expressing and/or displaying.

Recently, a young lady asked me, “Why is it that men only show one emotion?” Not knowing the purpose of the question. I asked, “What emotion is that?” She immediately said, “Anger.” As I thought about her question briefly I began to remember the sport highlights from this past weekend: T.O. spit in DeAngelo Hall’s face and the Knicks and Nuggets fight. In both incidents black men where unsuccessful at maintaining composure. They lost it. T.O. even admitted he was frustrated and it was obvious by the way the so called professional basketball players responded to each other that frustration was the culprit. No matter how stressed and frustrated we get there is no reason to sucker punch or spit saliva in the face of another human being.

So, what do we do as men with this emotion? How do we release it without physical brutality? Well, ride with me as I attempt to breakdown this down by using my sophomore year of Psychology 101.

I am of the belief that black men are grieving. We are in or were in the stages of grief at different times. This grief could stem from neglect from our fathers, rejection from a woman, embarrassment as a result of sharing our feelings, constant discredit from “the man” at work, and/or our failures. This grief can last all of our lives and some times go undetected until we finally take stock of our lives. All the time we spend avoiding that moment to assess our lives we are literally living in denial. We deny that there is a problem by tossing our issues up as life situations. As life situations continue to haunt us we eventually become angry with life which leads to displays of anger that’s usually directed at the people who are truly in our corner: our girlfriends and wives. For years we can demean our partners without ever getting to the point of bargaining. Bargaining is the place we need to be in because the bargaining phase typically helps us understand that we have a problem. The problem is the inability to deal with the grief. After the bargaining is over we are moving toward our freedom, but the freedom is at a cost. The cost is depression. We have to go through it to come out on top. The depression can be deadly, however. Many of us men address depression via the bottle, with unlimited sex partners, and by participating in other reckless behavior. If we make it through the depression without crashing a car while intoxicated or without contracting HIV we are home free. Crossing the threshold of freedom means we are in the acceptance mode now. We have accepted whatever caused the grief. The neglect, rejection, embarrassment, and discredit are no longer barriers.

This is my lengthy response to the young lady who asked me the question. It is a question I will always think about because many of us (men) are plagued by this emotion. Even myself. As anger consumed me over the years I disrespected women, alienated myself, and dabbled in dangerous behavior. One day I woke up and discovered I was alone. There was no one to share my good life with. Yes, it was still good because I was successful and at the time acquired all the things I wanted out of life. However, like numerous men I was still alone. Confined to myself. Consumed by rage, and full of self hatred.

Those fellas on the basketball court where in a rage. All ten of them. Stress and frustration from the game consumed them. Terrell Owens is a prisoner. He is in jail with a mirror to face every single day. He does not see what all these women see. They see his dark skin, athletic framed body, shiny white teeth, and dimples. Unfortunately, Terrell sees what he hates: The Grief that has caused the Anger.

Written by Muata. Inspired by Carmelo Anthony’s sucker punch (did you notice that Carmelo ran after he threw the punch? What a Punk!). Inspired by that reflection in the mirror.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


1 Corinthians 13

If I talk with the tongues of men and even of angels, but if I do not love people, then I am only like the sound of a big horn or a loud bell. If I speak words from God, if I can understand all secrets, and know everything, if I can move mountains by believing, but if I do not love people, I am nothing, even though I can do all of these things. If I give away all I have, and if I give my body to be burned, but if I do not love people, I get nothing out of it. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. Love is not proud and does not boast. Love does not do things that are not nice. Love does not just think of itself. Love does not get angry. Love holds no wrong feelings in the heart. Love is not glad when people do wrong things. But it is always glad when they do right. Love forgives everything. Love is always trusting, and always hoping, and never gives up. Love never ends. The gift of speaking words from God will end. The gift of speaking in different tongues or languages will stop. The gift of knowing many things will end. Now we know only a little, and we can speak only a little of God's words. But when everything becomes perfect, that part will come to an end.

Corinthians’ Description of Love: We can get there

It is not too often that men will share with others their feelings regarding love. Actually, men and women these days rarely use the word in the most accurate context. Saying you love someone is powerful. Saying you are in love is even more powerful!

I have told three girlfriends that I loved them, and on each occasion I meant it. There was no doubt about it. I felt it! Of course my future dictated something totally different because I am no longer with either one of them. These three wonderful black women brought joy and happiness into my life for a season. They were additional blessings for me. Without experiencing what I believed love to be with them I would be somewhat incomplete! Love is that significant for us. It is something that should be cherished and honored. Without it all of us would be void of God’s most precious gift.

Back to the love I’ve experienced.

The love I had for Pretty Eyes, Juicy, and Mango consumed me. I remember the so called stomach aches: the butterflies. The excitement I had when my phone would ring. I just wanted it to be the one who I told I love you to three hours before on the other end of the phone. She was my world, and all I needed was her. How I occasionally miss those days, but fear them also. Yes, fear them.

Now that I am a survivor of the pain love causes. And, now that I have somewhat of a better understanding of love I really want to experience it in its truest form before I checkout of here. The scripture above is a definitive definition of love (even I am willing to give the bible its props when deserved). The biblical description of what love is suppose to be makes me wonder if we are able to adhere to it. Can we? Think about what it requires. Now, think about how much peace we would have if we truly could do what Paul, the writer of Corinthians has suggested. Oh, what a treat this would be! To love with all our heart without fear of the heart being crushed. Oh, how different this world would be! To love without the fear of betrayal. To love without fear of being played. To love without fear of being disappointed. To love without fear of being embarrassed.

Lord, how I wish all of us could love with the capacity you mandate!

Don’t you desire this type of love? I do! I want this type of freedom. Too many of us are living day to day lonely and heart broken; and never experiencing any type of freedom. The songwriter wrote, “I wanna be free.” But, how many of us are prepared for this freedom? Can we even receive the ultimate true love?

If you believe in God you know that He has been good to us. He has given all of us the tools we need to be loved and to love someone, but some where in our evolvement we have forgotten how to love and be loved. We have been caught-up by the “feelings” and not the common sense that should be used when having the “feelings”. A friend of mine told me, “Brian, love is secondary and compatibility is primary.” Let’s explore his statement. What are we suppose to do with those “feelings” we have for each other if compatibility should be established first? What makes us stop the calls we make over and over again just to hear her/his voice? What do we do with those thoughts we have while at work or before bed time? My answer: table the thoughts and feelings until a compatibility review is conducted. Easier said than done! I realize that. We all know the fleshly pulsating that tempts us. Nonetheless, I am convinced those “feelings” fade over time. Even the pulsating ones.

Many of us think we can rejuvenate the love we have for our significant others at the drop of a dime. Considering the divorce rate and unhappy people who are married this rejuvenation is not working.

Landing that girlfriend or boyfriend has a lot to do with understanding yourself and understanding what you are able to endure from that person. Enduring should be thought of in the positive sense here. To endure means to bear without resistance or with patience; to tolerate. Conducting the compatibility review is not resisting the love. It is fusing in mind clarity (common sense). Temporarily halting those feelings that typically lead us into the bed is being patient. Tolerating each other once together as a couple is not all that bad. We all must tolerate some things to be successful. This is called compromise.

Don’t you want to be successful at loving someone? Lord knows I do and any man my age who tells you something to the contrary is lying. He wants to be sprung and in true love just as much as most women do. Actually, the men I know who are 30 plus are tired of the playing. Our only issue is fear and the inability to conduct a real self analysis.

The conqueror. The man. The head wants to experience this peace and freedom. (Brotha’s, we can’t get to this place with da games). It is my prayer men acquire peace and freedom the next time around. It is also my prayer a woman’s motivation to get married is not tied to the biological clock, the excitement weddings generate, and/or the “need” to have a man. If we truly marry for compatibility and Corinthians’ brand of love maybe the American family will be strengthen.

Written by Muata. Inspired by the feelings I had for Sparky. Lord knows I loved that dog.

Happy Holidays!