Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama the Messiah, YOUR Jesus

I have always believed that Barack Obama would become the world's modern day beloved Jesus/Messiah. He has and will continue to inspire multitudes with prophetic talk laced with hope and promise that will hopefully lead to improved moral standards of conduct (The Sermon on the Mount). He has encouraged even the most conservative and shady of us to change our lives while reminding us that time is running out for Change (Matthew 24:1-26:2). He will continue to motivate the young followers to re-think their politics and assess their allegiances while giving instructions on how to navigate through a vicious world (Matthew 10:1-42). Barrack Obama has miraculously touched those who are in the need of emotional and spiritual healing (John 4:5-38).

Obama, in the minds of those mesmerized, has literally done what Jesus did and continues to do. This making him our contemporary Savior. The man destined to eradicate injustice of all types e.g. political, cultural, social, etc. He will speak for the poor, and he will remind the wealthy that they need to reach back with an extended hand (Hosea 13:6).

This is the black man that people from all over the world have created. Our Most Popular superlative. The Pope without the white dress. This man can’t be touched! He is what Allen Iverson has been tagged: The Answer.

All Hail to Barack Obama!!

While we are building Barack up to saint status, it is my prayer that we understand that he can in no way whatsoever eliminate a federal deficit of half-trillion dollars in four years. He more than likely will egotistically want eight years, but 4 years is all the ‘Children of Israel’ will give him to institute that Change; they knowing full well that a Change of that magnitude is impossible – but the children have to hold onto something (wandering hope). They have to Believe that our representation of a complex God on earth, the government, will deliver: Remove them from financial bondage. This is what the children expect. A miracle. And, why shouldn’t they? Didn’t Jesus once upon a time predict to heal mankind, and remove devastation from the universe? He did!

Considering a Messiah is what this world needs and demands to have a glimpse of hope, I personally do not find it completely illogical for these people to fall into worship mode (Obama-mania). Desperation typical overrides logic. It is like the character, Santiago, in the book, The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream, when he was walking through the desert suffering from lack of water he began to hallucinate. He saw water (an oasis) when he really did not. Why did the oasis appear? Because Santiago was desperate. Thirsty, for The Answer.

Santiago is the average man/woman in the grocery store. He/she is trying to make it as the economy shrinks. Their world is closing in and their dreams are dwindling. Luckily, Santiago’s dream was fulfilled. And, the reason it was, is because he listened to a gypsy (Barack Obama). The gypsy saw/sees what he did/does not: Change. Therefore, The Obama Believers press on in the desert (America) achieving and conquering the fear.

It is this level of fear that I am praying will subside as we get closer to November. If not, our Jesus (Barack) will enter a burning house (The Wilderness) in January. Then he will need an oasis/refuge!

I hope the body of water will not be a hallucination. And, if it is do expect for his followers to lead him to his death (crucifixion). They will reject him, like the Jews rejected Jesus (John 10:25-39). No one will carry the cross for Obama. They will crucify him and move on to the next. The ‘they’ are the Judas’, the sheep in wolf’s clothing, and perhaps you, reading this ‘story’.

This story is familiar. You can find it in Matthew, Mark and/or Luke.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by those who reached to touch Barack’s three piece suit (cloak) as he walked throughout Mesopotamia (Luke 8:40-49).
Reflecting on the biblical scripture is critical for this piece. The analogies used will help with understanding the Messiah/Obama dynamic. BibleGateway is a good source for reviewing the scripture.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

CNN and Their Effort to…What?

Now that the long awaited premier is over, what did you learn? Was there something shocking? Revealing? Do you feel any better or worst about the Black Condition? Is there something you are going to do differently since CNN decided to air to the world what most people already know? WHAT NOW, DAMN IT?! If you are having trouble answering these legitimate questions turn to CNN, I am certain there is a re-broadcast of the ‘Black Sadness’ scheduled.

I commend MarĂ­a de la Soledad Teresa O'Brien for her efforts. She did a marvelous job of researching, collecting data, and interviewing to produce what so many people were anxious to see. A job well done!! Well, let me be specific: black people were exuding excitement, not white folk. Most can careless about some black man who has created his baby daddy status.

I can’t tell you how many emails I received with: ‘Don’t forget to watch the CNN Special, Black in America.’ H*ll, to be very honest I got frustrated with receiving the reminders. Much like how some of you get irritated with my name in your Outlook Inbox. But, one thing is for sure the bombardment of alerts were worth it because I, prior to the airing of the show, decided to adjust my mind and spirit to receive the depressing information knowing full well what it means to be Black in America, and certainly understanding that our situation in a tunnel vision view is horrendously jacked-up. Yes, if you do not consider all the factors that play a part in where we are, the view can be narrow. Actually, it can be a one-sided observation or even put one in the mind-set of accusing/finger pointing.

A very intelligent black man in one of the fifty conversations that I have had about the series said, “If I were white, and watched Soledad’s special I would conclude that black people are just idiots. They just cannot seem to get it together for their own good. Dang, they are pathetic.” Another Iranian man said to me, “If I were new to the United States, and I was told to watch the special to learn about black people in America I would conclude that black people are the SOLE reason for their pathetic demise.”

Now, those statements are SHOCKING and REVEALING. Soledad O’Brien does not have anything on the realities of both statements. So, I challenge each of you reading to make the above analysis real. Really real. Reality dictates that black people in America are victims of a racist circumstance. No matter what some black self-righteous expert says, we were/are victims of a brutally strategic system to destroy our culture and break our will.

Since Soledad decided to highlight our predicaments in which we already are aware of, why not tell the whole story? Then it would have been Fair and Balanced! Not that I wanted CNN or any black person to dwell on the REASONS, and not excuses, that have caused the REALITY. Nope, I am no longer a person who needs justification for my fellow brothas and sistas dilemmas. I, however, want the WHOLE story to NOT be forgotten or some way pushed to the side like it is not a factor in the make-up of what CNN labels, Black in America.

Some of you are probably asking/saying, ‘What are you talking about, Brian E. Payne? Mrs. O’Brien’s coverage was right. The statistics and stories are right on!’ Nevertheless, I contend that one must understand the root of the problem before we can move forward. Why is it that White America and a few of us black folk want to neglect the base, and then immediately jump to the current realities without examining the cause of the condition? Even if we do fully exam and dissect the root, what will we find? Discover? Is it a legitimate reason for black men to abandon their kids? Is it a reason for us to have a host of self-made medical related issues? Is it sufficient justification for black young men to diss college, and embrace the streets? My answer to all three questions is a resounding YES!! But, I am not taking the heat off myself or any other black man.

No body, not even a non-black well respected investigative reporter or news network is going to tell me that I am to blame for all the phenomenons.

Does the media or some social science group indict the present day Native Americans living on reservations for their apathy? NO they do not. What they immediately say: ‘Well, America really sh*tted on them, therefore we need to give them land and also give them tax breaks.’ Additionally, do these same exploratory committees convict the Jews? No, they do not. What they do is send millions of dollars to Israel in the form of guilt money.

Every other ‘studied’ population have “legitimate” reasons for their current day mess but Negroes! We are lazy, dumb, foolish, and all the other descriptive terms used to describe us. Unbelievable.

Finally, how many of you noticed the skin tone of the achieved black men used as props for success? They were high-yellow brothas. What does that mean to you? What message did that send? Could it be: To be successful in America one must be close to white? Just asking. With that I have said time and time again that Barack Obama would not be accepted by those in Berlin or in these United States if he was a darkie. This is a systemic example of where America is on the race issue. I said America. That includes both black and white people; and the problem ultimately lies in the root of the problem: We are not sharing the whole story. For example, if the complete story was not told about this man we call Jesus those interested would only know that he disrespected Roman authority!

Consequently, black people standing on the block selling crack have a reason for selling the death the government brought into our communities. Not saying that it is right – but there is a reason.

All of that rhetoric to say: ‘CNN, go to the source/root when telling our story. Dig deeper next time so that an accurate depiction can be revealed. Digging deeper is not proving that black folk have slave master blood circulating throughout their veins.’

Written by Muata. Inspired by the woman telling the story, Soledad O’Brien. It appeared to me her mind was made up already. How about you?

*Inserted Picture:
The Black Man has to become a Super Hero in the mind and eyes of the Majority, and after we accomplish that feat we still don't meet their standards. We are always in a constant battle/tug of war with what THEY want from us. Keep pulling the flag, My Brothas!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where is your Soul?

Approximately six months ago I sent a few of you a text message. The message was nothing different from what I usually send. It was a moment that I was sharing. I was going through something on that morning. I woke up surprisingly exhausted and terribly unmotivated (disliking life). I wanted to climb back on my chase – but like all of us, I had to go to work. I knew going would at least get me out of the house. So, I had that to look forward to: Getting out of the house, and Facing the Nation.

Collecting myself and later spending a day at the coffee shop, (YES, working), did serve to be purposeful. I am always searching for a reason for my existence despite the “storms that keep raging in my life”. As soon as I got in my car a song that I had not heard in over 20 years came blaring through the Bose speakers. I had no idea of the exact name of the song growing up, but it is a song that my mother played over and over again; and it is a song that I later learned was played when she was feeling down and out. When she could not “tell the night from day”. So, on that reoccurring morning, during that season of my life, I decided to send this: “No matter what I say, do, or where I end-up in my life, My Soul has been Anchored in the Lord.

Do you remember getting that text?

The title of this commentary is a serious question. I am not asking if you can keep a beat or if you have passed the black litmus test. No, my objective with this piece is for me to remind us that our souls are accurate depositories of what and who we become. If this sounds preachy already, stop reading now because I plan to preach. Well, not necessarily preach – but definitely communicate a message. Much like I did with the text message. Just a little elaboration without the pre-sermon prayer and other traditional antics. Nonetheless, be prepared to go to church via song at the completion of reading my hopefully appreciated words.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to assist one of my colleagues with a job fair. I was happy about helping. I finally got an opportunity to do some work on the front lines. Unfortunately, what I experienced was a horrible reminder of the direction this country is headed: Down Hill! When the doors of the career center opened on this blistering 98 degree day, I could not believe what God provided for us. There were people in line waiting. Not just a few people. The line stretched around the building! I estimated approximately one hundred and fifty men and women from ALL walks of life were in line desperately waiting to interface with only twenty-five employers. There were white/black men, black women, teenage black boys, senior aged men and women, mother and daughter combinations, and persons from Asian, African, and Latino descent. It was a rainbow. A melting pot of unemployed people. People needing money to make ends meet.

During the cattling of the preoccupied people in attendance I was eventually humbled. There I was working. Receiving compensation for my minimal efforts, and these people were trying their best to get a job. One woman asked me, “Are they really hiring up in der?” I wanted to tell the truth – but I could not. I know how job fairs work: they are not designed to get people hired. The companies mostly come to market their business and/or organization. So, when I was presented with the question I lied: “Of course they are, Sweetie.” I was not prepared to deflate her. Take away her hope. I could not take away “that hope that lies within. A hope she woke-up with, and was prepared to hold onto while walking around a small room attempting to ‘sale’ herself to people who have jobs already.

In the end, the job fair was successful. We had over 600 people to attend in a span of four hours. Let me repeat that: SIX HUNDRED PEOPLE. Again, only twenty-five employer representatives. Understanding the magnitude of this dynamic is imperative.

Here you are probably reading this while on the job or just coming home from a job, and there are people out of work with no leads on the horizon. How does that make you feel? I am not expecting you to feel bad or any guilt about having a job. That is not my intention. But, do you feel any remorse for these mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters? I know I do now and I did on that day.

My experience on that day was sadly magnified when a man old enough to be my grandfather said to me, “I have to find a way to take care of my grand kids. If I don’t soon, I may just resort to doing something that is beyond my moral character and removed from my Mississippi value system.” Basically saying, "if the storms don’t cease and if the winds keep on blowing” I may just rob somebody. My response: “No. Please don’t do that.” With all of the seminary training I have, and this is all I could come up with? Heck, even as a fellow human being, you mean to tell me those five words were all I could mumble?

What I should have confidently told this man is imbedded in that song I heard on that bad day I had six months ago. The lyrics should have been my message to him. The words are what we all should live by as the economy tanks. As we face foreclosure. As we endure repossessions. As we go without! Our decisions must remain anchored in righteousness, and not in where succumbing to temptation or illegal activity will take us: On the side of wrongfulness.

This was not that preachy after all. However, the song I have mentioned throughout may be. Please listen, and as you listen remember that no matter how bad it gets: We can make it by keeping the depository CLEAN.


Written by Muata. Inspired by the winds that keep on blowing in my life!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Muata's Open letter to Najee Ali

Dear Najee Ali,

While I appreciate and respect the courage you displayed in writing the letter to Reverend Jesse Jackson, I must admit that I am a little perturbed that you found it okay to share this letter of discontent with everyone who can read. You may have been effective at expressing your frustrations with Rev. Jackson. You may have even got his attention – but what you have done is further deepen the wound and widen the division that we have within the black community. Somewhat like what Jesse did with his comments about Barack Obama. Yes, Jesse was wrong, and I really want you to understand that I am in no way supporting his actions. He was wrong. Dead wrong! However, two wrongs don’t make a right. I believe our great grandmothers told us that; and I am CERTAIN our great grands, better known as the ancestors, want us to rectify the messes we make at home.

Our ancestors were so much smarter than us modern day typical Negroes. They made every attempt to handle and/or address our business discreetly with dignity for the race. That is not to suggest that we should not air our dirty laundry. I have even been guilty of airing it – but Najee, what we should not do is add fuel to the fire that the white majority has started. Why couldn’t you just leave the issue where it was: on the conscience of Jesse Jackson? Isn’t he responsible for his soul? Did it take another human being, who more than likely is just as spiritually inadequate, weak, and according to that bible: sinful, to remind us what we already know? Who are you to judge? To call Jesse out for behavior that will ultimately be evaluated, assessed, and judged by The Great Creator?

I am sure that as soon as he was made aware the bias media networks were going to blast the insult to every possible source he felt like an idiot. An imbecile. And, according to his contrite response, it appeared that he was sincere with the apology. Did you consider that it was heartfelt prior to sharing your letter? Did you for once think to FORGIVE him without judgmental criticism? Did you give Jackson the benefit of doubt before you informed everyone that you have spent time with his daughter? Was this your way to promote yourself? If yes, why was there a need to?

I don’t doubt that you have received a lot of support. I understand that, and it is to be expected considering the hate running rampant throughout the veins of black folk. But, at what cost? I will tell you. Now those in control have something additional to hold over our heads. They are sitting back laughing and gloating with: ‘Once again, those blacks are up in arms. At each other throats. Fighting among themselves.’ Does this remind you of the Willie Lynch Letter?

When will we learn to be smarter than them? What you have successfully done is supported their cause: Divide and Conquer. First it was Obama vs. Smiley. Then Obama vs. Wright. And, at the present, Obama vs. Jackson. I am sure the black heavyweight fights will continue. They are waiting on the next debacle within the black community. There will be another one. That’s the plan (sit and wait) – but we will not counteract with intelligence, love, consideration, non-judgment, humility, and all those other elements that are necessary to win the REAL battle.

Najee Ali, you best believe that we need to gear-up for the fight against the powers that be. Not fight each other because someone insulted and/or criticized Barack Obama. You are right in that Barack is not above "reproach". However, how many of us have challenged Obama? How many of us have just put our support behind him because he makes us feel good with words? How many of us realize that Barack Obama is the leader THEY have approved for us? We never select our leaders!

Finally, Umoja is the only way, not self-induced division. And Najee, you cannot believe that you totally surrendered yourself to God, like Islam mandates, before you pressed send. You did not leave yourself open to guidance. Allah did not guide you on this one. No way!

With love,


Najee Ali's Open Letter to Reverend Jesse Jackson:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Defending Islam and the Strong Black Woman, not Barack and Michelle

Just when I was feeling confident that I would not entertain the thought of writing another commentary about Barack Hussein Obama until he became our next president, The New Yorker, a well respected and high volume magazine, goes and does something STUPID-but attention grabbing to bring me out my political literary seclusion. I have been writing, of course – but I have tried with success to cut Barack some slack. Like so many are doing. Guess I have morphed into a true follower. Yeah, Right!

I have questioned his opinions and positions enough. I am tired now, and have concluded that he is best for the country at this very moment in history. Nonetheless, I am pretty much no longer in his corner: An Obama Congregate. I stopped blindly supporting him a few months ago. I just could not live with my conscience any longer. That inner self told me, ‘Muata, you are not wholeheartedly with Hussein. Although, he is black, he ain’t what you stand for, Black Nationalism/Black Panther-ism – therefore, you should withdraw your full support. Give him your vote because John McCain is definitely not your cup of tea. At least Barack speaks of that played rhetoric that we need: Change.’ I have a bright red BarackToVote t-shirt that I am selling!!

So here I was, at my desk, in defense mode. Ready to attack The New Yorker magazine staff. Knowing that some ‘important black people’ have criticized them already I still wanted to have my say. So in the comforts of my sacred space, and sitting below a beautiful portrait displaying the crucifixion of Jesus, it became my turn to set a blaze. But, my comments will not resemble the typical ones I have read. The ones defending Barack Hussein Obama and questioning if the caricature is grotesquely offensive or not. No, I have a beef of substance to share. One that affects millions, and not just the potential First Man and Lady of the United States of America.

Islam is the second largest world religion (a close third is us Non-religious/Agnostic folk), and it was on a pace to be the fast growing at one time. It is a revered and righteous way of life in the Middle East and throughout other parts of the world; unlike America’s Sunday morning hour of shouting, muteness, and mis-information. The core of its faith is to accept, surrender, or submit. Definitely an honorable religious practice. The tenets are respectable and its adherence comes from all walks of life.

With that brief sermon of support for Islam, I have silently wondered why in the world the Western media continues to distort and rip a part Muhammad’s vehicle. Well, I know why – but I am sick of it! Could it be that Islam is a threat to Jesus’ Mercedes, Christianity? I would not doubt it considering Mercedes drivers need a lot of insurance (protection) since their car is so ‘delicate’. Much like the religion: touch-and-go and fragile. Ouch!

Characterizing Hussein in a robe and turban indicates to me that it is Islam that they are attacking. Not, Barack. How? Well, since the right-winged media, several overly zealous politicians, and desperately panicky talk show hosts (Sean Racist Hannity) have position Islam as a radically violent religion an unnecessary phenomenon has occurred throughout the world: Islam is Evil and the American Public Enemy #1.

Islamic garb, when intended to negatively characterize someone, is used subliminally to send the message of fear. FEAR anyone who boldly wears symbols of where they stand in their faith, spirituality, and/or political disposition. Much like us knowledgeable brothas and sistas who wear Che Guevara t-shirts. Fear those Marxist! Are the looks we get. Unfortunately, the long flowing gown and head piece speaks volumes to that irrational and foolishly acquired fear.

Fear is the tool used to coral people. Mislead them, and purport negative images and beliefs. Sometimes those mismanaged beliefs blossom into actions that are used to kill people. Just ask any living survivor of the original Black Panther Party. That older version of Hannity, J. Edgar Hoover, mastered the art of smear with deception. The BPP I know was NOT a “communist organization with evil intentions” – one would have never known that if Mr. Hoover was the lone voice of criticism. And, this is where I would like to end: Criticism.

I am not sure what your thoughts were when you first eyeballed the “satire”. When you used your critical power to criticize. Several ideas went through my mind. A pressing one was the idea of the cartoon creator to depict Michelle Obama as the black female rebel. The Assta Shakur-type: The afro, machine gun toting, and the black power fist bumper. Everything about the characterization of Michelle reads: ‘This black woman is too much for us (the white system of control) to handle. She is the loose cannon. Contain, that Black B*tch.’ Sorry, but that’s what they, the Richard Bruce Cheney’s of the United States, are saying about a woman who is just strong-willed and confident. Why can’t these special gifts (strong black women) of our race be viewed as positive enhancements instead of a threat?

Black women are strong. They are the backbone of the black community. And, no black woman or girl should be ashamed of standing on the right side of justice with strength. That’s what the Angela Davis’s of this world are/were: Creatures with Backbone. Courage. Not afraid to say what needs to be said! Michelle Obama does just that which is the reason she, in too many white circles, is referred to as that Black B*tch.

I say, ‘keep on being what they call you, Michelle. You are the strength we need all over this weak nation!’ Not just in that hypocritical and deceit-filled White House.

Written by Muata. Inspired by the blaze in the fireplace. Let it burn!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Missing My First Love

There has been only one woman who has been able to get my attention and maintain it. Her voice and her beauty are constant imprints. She was definitely the first woman I fell in love with. No doubt about it! The first woman I desperately wanted to meet, and say to her, ‘Although, I don’t know you, I love you. Thank you for sharing yourself with me.’

Most recently, I must admit that I have thought of her at least once a week. She has been that remarkably prominent and that unbelievably important to me lately; and I know why. But, I am not ready to share. However, I will say this: Phyllis Hyman, my First Love, has a way of communicating pain while providing motivation to keep pushing. Thankfully, all I have to do is press play, and her sweet voice begins to serenade:

“I do not wanna lose you. I love you as you are. I don’t wanna lose you, I could love you more. Tell me love will remain though we may change.

My First Love’s birthday is July 6, 1949. Phyllis was born a cancer and died a cancer, June 30, 1995. The day of her tragic death I was overseas struggling to figure out who in the h*ll I was. Giving back. Loving life. Enjoying where I was at with myself, but trying to master me. I was living the dream. My dream of serving humanity abroad. It was my first attempt at ‘changing the world’. Then the news on that HOT summer day hit me like a Mack truck. I was stunned. I could not believe that Phyllis after captivating me decided to call it quits:

"I'm tired. I'm tired. Those of you that I love know who you are. May God bless you."

Ms. Hyman admitted she was exhausted. Done. Feed-up with life.

What a depressing week I had after hearing the tragic news via the BBC. I still remember where I was sitting. I have played back that moment so many times over the last 13 years, and I still cannot understand why she ended our love affair by overdosing on sleeping pills and vodka. She just left my life. No notice. Nothing. Perhaps, I was not one of “those” she loved?

Since that day, Brian E. Payne has been in mourning. All I have to remember her by is the attached picture. And, on occasion, when I am prepared to face the pain of losing my First Love, I listen to that one song that I have recently been able to dissect. And, today I want you to go there with me: I Don't Want to Lose Your Love.

Listen to the lyrics. Allow the words to consume you. Try your best to become one with my First Love, and you will comprehend that in this song she is referring to herself. She is not singing about some man. She is disclosing to the world that it was her that she was trying not to lose. She wanted us, those who make an attempt to love ourselves, to know that she was on that ever-changing path of self-discovery too:

"Who do you think you are? Who do you wanna be? You’re the only one that really knows. Maybe you will be surprised after your search is through. Then you will find that you just been chasing you.”

Unfortunately, Phyllis Hyman did not believe that she had anything remaining to chase:

“Maybe you will never find the secrets of your mind – but you gotta try, you gotta realize…”

Phyllis had other plans. She controlled her destiny without regard for my love. So, now I am left to ‘pick up the pieces’ while Living All Alone:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Enduring Life while Trying to Forgive

With all that we endure as a result of bad decisions; What God ordained outcome will justify and/or give glory to the convoluted and polluted lives that we live? While thinking about your answer please consider that life for so many is so overwhelmingly complicated at no fault of their own e.g. generational lingerings, geographical location, genetics, etc. Or, is it just tough for them because of someone else's poor decision making i.e. President Bush and Congress? However, those of us in complete or perceived control of our destinies with every thought and action still face consequences as a result of a decision that had MISTAKE written all over it. Thus leaving me with this additional question: How do we truly redeem ourselves if the mistake disrupts one's life completely or tragically affects another person’s life? Redeemed in the sense of getting back to where we were: Comfortable spiritually, emotionally, and/or FORGIVEN. We can't be forever BROKEN and UNFORGIVEN. Right?

Are we not worthy of TRUE forgiveness from our fellow humans? Does it depend on how damaged we are in spirit? Does it depend on how much we have poisoned our souls? Does it depend on the level of pain we have inflicted?

I have written about forgiveness on countless occasions. I have preached a sermon entitled: Forgiveness. Why? I even dedicated a chapter in my book on the concept. Nonetheless, as I get older (turned 38 on July 3) I am reminded that forgiveness takes courage. One must be courageous or either crazy to forgive a lunatic for raping his/her spouse. I can’t imagine having to contemplate a decision of that magnitude: Forgive or continue to harbor hatred/resentment. The latter, from what I am told, can kill you. They say uncontrollable resentment and hate eats away at the core being of a person and eventually negatively infiltrates the mind to the point the individual is unable to decipher when he or she has been totally consumed by their pain. That to me is complex and upsetting. Why upsetting? Well, if what I have shared is true, the individual permanently scarred has only one healthy choice, and that is to FORGIVE. In my reality that is one of life’s unfair dilemmas.

I recall a man asking me one day while I was making my Pastoral Care rounds in a hospital, “So, you mean to tell me that I must forgive her in order for me to be healthy spiritually, and also physically?” He was perplexed and deeply concerned by my divinity school suggestion (a trained response). He went on to say, after I answered with “Yes, God wants us to forgive.” - “You preacher-types are all the same. None of you are prepared to tell me the truth, and that truth is I should not forgive her for what she has done and continues to do. You are telling me that religious bullsh*t because you think it is the right thing for me to do. Do you really think it is? You and your unrealistic preacher thinking!”

He was right, and he remains to be right: I did tell him to forgive his wife, who had spent their life savings gambling, because I did believe it was the Godly thing to do. But, then and now, I have no factual basis for my response. None whatsoever! I can only refer to what I have been told, and I can even quote some health practitioner’s advice, “eliminate the hate or die.” We gonna die anyway. Right?

So, today as you think about all the questions I have befuddled-ly conjured up please consider that forgiveness cannot be accomplished the necessary way it should if you have not forgiven yourself. ‘Where did that come from, Muata?’

What do you stand in the need of forgiveness from yourself? Answer that then try to forgive that guy or that girl who has broken your heart. (What, did you think that yours was not supposed to be shattered? Who told you that crap?) Then ‘stick’ to your forgiveness (that means don’t bring it up again unless necessary) because if you don’t you will carry it like a burden, and then you will…what?

My answer:

Die an unforgiving and unhealthy creation of God.

That was not His purpose for you. But, we all should understand that we are not experts on this. He is. And, we also need to understand that we are spiritually and morally feeble humans: Mistake Prone. Reach a hand out in spite of that mistake!

This stuff ain’t easy!

Should the words Forgive and Forget be synonyms?

Written by Muata. Inspired by “I can forgive – but I can’t forget.”

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Be a Man. Damn it!"

My uncle Raymond H. Payne shouted those words at me one day when he noticed that a former girlfriend of mine was “running the show”. She was literally in command of the relationship, and me. I followed behind her like a spoiled puppy. It was sickening – but at the time I thought everything was okay. I was satisfied with her telling me what and what not to do. Talking to me like I was a child. I thought this was the way it worked. Besides, I did witness the same uncle be treated this way by one of his former girlfriends. So, I learned from the man who, at the time, thought I was headed down the same road he traveled.

Men so often travel in the wrong direction. We spend years trying to figure it out: How to be a man. Initially, we take the wrong advice. It does not matter if daddy is in the home or not. The power of the ‘becoming a man culture’ is pervasive. To not be apart of it, indicates that you are a punk. A damn loser. So, we make every attempt to emulate what being a man means to our boys. Our language changes, clothing, and even our walk. We begin to swag. Thinking that a swagger makes a man while not realizing that our behavior is stupid and most importantly immature. But, what can one expect, we were behaving like teenagers? We all know teenage boys are moronic. However, the irony is that the girls we were trying to impress LOVED it. They relished with us in the insecure behavior. So, I ask: Why in the hell would we stop actin’ a fool? Keep in mind that our sole purpose at the time was to get the attention of that one girl we secretly adored.

One would think that this childish bravado ends at 18. Nope, it does not. And, women, please do not allow some man to tell you that it ends. IT DOES NOT! We still behave in ridiculous ways to hook that female. This goes on and on up into the mid-thirties. No woman should be surprised by that statement either! And, why should we change considering most women STILL typically encourage the misrepresentation of self? They do it themselves: weave, make-up, push-up bras, color contacts, and what else?

Ladies, if I am wrong you tell me if you would be impressed by this guy:

He is from a small town. He country. He even has an accent. He appears to be slow on the uptake. He basically does not comprehend the ‘game’ like a man is supposed to. He is just himself. He likes to read. He does not hang out much, and if he does go out he does not contribute anything to the setting. He is tall and lanky. But, he has nice features. “Cute”. And, he tries too hard. He tries to be too respectable. One of those nice guys.

Wow! This guy is boring. A dud! You, women, reading know FULL WELL that I am right. He would have not cut the mustard for you back in the day, and probably not now. He was not like the dude who was rude. The asshole guy who did not pay you any attention unless he thought he could get in those panties. This is the man you (women) wanted in your youth. Before you started complaining about some damn biological clock: A damn thug type! Well, let me back up a bit. A lot of women still want the ‘tough guy’. It appears to be that way, at least here in The A. Most of the women I see out are with the hard-looking guy. He has on too much jewelry. He has on a big baseball cap. The waist of his pants is mid-hamstring. And, when it is time to pay the bill he is in the restroom calling his hood-rat chick. He setting up his ‘piece’ for the night with the ghetto girl because Mrs. Investment Banker won’t get down the way he needs her to because she too damn siddity! She afraid to touch the wet spot!

Perhaps, she is with him because there is not much to choose from? A lot of us are in prison. On the way to prison. Lack a formal education. Jobless. Whatever the latest Gallup Poll reports! Or, could it be that the men who are available are not good enough for that single and desperate female? Perhaps, he is too busy trying to be someone he is not. This could be the case since he is more than likely still trying his BEST to be who the woman wants him to be thus confirming my purpose for writing this piece:

Men are walking around here failing to be their true selves because society has told them that being your authentic self is not good enough. I don’t see why we, as a culture, don’t recognize this. Look at the cars men drive. Listen to the one-sided dialogue between a man and a woman. It is all about him. Think about how we don’t feel justified as a man if we are not making a certain amount of money. Consider how we avoid serious concerns women present. We are still faking the funk at 30 and 40. That is a sad commentary – but women need to understand that we only do this to GET YOU. Evidently, you, women, like it. Think about the last conversation you had with that guy who made you tingle.

If we are not the 50 Cent-type we are the guy who has some lame rap we trying to spit: A glamorized story that resembles a man we want to be, but not trying to be. Lord, this is pathetic!
In the end, Mr. Whoever He is Today, is not the man you really need and want. He is what this world has told him he needs to be. So, I challenge you women reading to allow Mr. Plain to be himself. Stop pretending like you want this SUPER DUDE (it is okay to like da busta). I promise you if this is done and accomplished you and him will FINALLY be what God created:
Yourself - before you were brainwashed by this SELF destroying society.

Written by Muata. Inspired by trying to be the Brian I once was: Boring, but nicer! Inspired by all this male frontin’ and female objectified acceptance.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mild Disappointment – but Keeping My Eyes on the Prize

Tavis Smiley ended a turbulent and self growth 12 year stint with the TJMS Thursday morning, June 26, 2008. As I listened to a different Tavis from a decade plus two years ago and after a long day of listening to a man feverishly talk about marketing plans, I realized that the training I dreaded was with purpose. Thanks for the capability to click on an internet link, and listen later!

While Tom Sechrist, the trainer, talked about what we, Goodwill of North Georgia, must do to attract potential clients to the plethora of services we provide, all I could think about: Presenting self in a way that honors God’s creation of (♂) and (♀). Bells started to ring. I got excited! My behavior probably resembled a man who just swallowed a bottle of amphetamines. I was ready to speed down Interstate 20! So, after my brief moment of stimulation, I came up with the following to share with you today:

My legacy, good or bad, depends on how I market myself. How I brand Brian E. Payne. In terms of my writing, it is apparent that many of you believe that I have created a decent image of Muata. If you know me personally you know that I am a black Kramer. (Seinfeld). I can be silly and over the top at times. You know that I love to smoke cigars. You know that my second drink of choice is Old Monk rum and Coke. You also know that I am truthfully cynical, excessively critical, borderline judgmental, full of black power passion, and endlessly conflicted. With all of this self analysis and assumption of what you think about me, I still remain God’s creation. His product. A product that I have tried desperately to positively market to those who could and will develop an opinion of me.

Have I done an okay job?

I believe with a little trepidation that I have, and the only proof I have is what you have said and written about me as you used your power of nomination. Becoming the next commentator of the TJMS would have been a dream come true. I have always wanted to be heard. As I shared a sofa bed with my grandmother back in the seventies I remember her saying, “Would you be quiet, Black Boy (her name of affection for me). It is time to go to sleep.” I am glad I did not adhere to her request to go to sleep completely. I laid there and fantasized about becoming a preacher, a speaker, a talker; and since then I have been awake. My state of being awake was enhanced when a college professor told/ask me, “Brian, you need to learn to write. Can you write a paper? Didn’t you learn this in high school? Get your thoughts together. You have a lot to say so write it down in a constructive opinion.” I did just that! My quest to write an introduction, body of paragraphs, and a conclusion began. I was not asleep any longer after that directive from Dr. Barbara Busch. I thank her for being critical, conducting an analysis of my poor writing skills, and for BELIEVING in me. (Believe it or not I have never taken a writing class. I am proud of that!)

I am really alive, not sleep thus the reason I write so much. Talk so much. Complain so much. Praise so much. Empower so much. Irritate so much. And, it has been the feedback you have given that keeps me going. Even the barrage of borderline insults and the questioning of if I do love my black self are invaluable to my growth.

I did not become the Tom Joyner Morning Show mouthpiece, but I trust that I will always have your continued support because there will be other opportunities for me. Thanks for BELIEVING in me. Thanks for honoring me with your words of commendation. It feels good knowing that you trust me with representing you and our ancestors on such a large platform.

Tavis has carried a rewarding burden. A flaming torch. He presented us with a modern day Covenant that we must take seriously, or else. He is what that former black slave expects from us: Personal Responsibility and Accountability.
Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by wishing Dr. Busch was aware that I have learned to express myself on paper without 10-15 misspells and grammatical errors.

Still Praising Him in spite of…

The Hate that will Not Go Away

A few months ago during a diversity training, I listened to an Indian woman explain why several of her friends are planning to return to India ASAP. Basically, her friends who have daughters are allegedly terrified by how the Hip-Hop culture has infiltrated their homes. Even with parental control guides placed on their televisions to prevent and/or control the amount of BET and MTV their children watch, they have found it increasing difficult to steer their impressionable teenage children from "urban-ness" and from downloading Lil Wayne’s latest compact disc. So, the answer is to take their American born children back to where they, the parents, came from.

As I sat there speechless and somewhat surprised by the move. Literally. I got offended - but then I started to think: 'These Indian men and women are doing what they believe to be best for their precious young ladies.' But, I did decide to question & push the issue - and after a little uncomfortable silence here is what the gorgeous Indian woman revealed to the group:

"Many of us are very concerned that our girls will marry outside of the ethic group. We want them to have Indian husbands. However, this American culture is encouraging relations outside of the race in some regards. So, we have decided to ensure that they do not get tangled-up in this thing. May sound silly and drastic, but in our culture you are to marry Indian; and not white, black, or Hispanic. And, we are discovering that are girls are interested in the saggy paint wearing black boys because of rap music influence." (No lie!)

The truth was in the air. There it was! My offense increased just a tidbit. Wow! The power of Young Jeezy. So much for, “once you go black you never go back”. Now it is, ‘hear a rap lyric and you are hooked!’

A consequence of an Indian man getting whipped by the black candy box, and unable to “go back”:

Just recently down here in the Mecca where we blacks live around blacks and whites live among whites (self-induced segregation in Lithonia and Sandy Springs), an elderly evil-filled Indian man paid two BLACK men $10,000 to kill a BLACK woman. His daughter-in-law.

This man some are calling a hateful racist claims that his son was "bringing down the families stock". Well, I guess the stock is profitable, worth a lot, etc. It has to be for a 68 year old man to take such disgusting measures.

I actually can believe that something like this could happen considering the seriousness placed on not 'polluting' the Indian race. I also find it non-surprising because hatred and racism still runs deep in the United States. It does not matter what mixed race man is running for President, and believes he is ‘uniting the races’. Race relations is STILL America's number one problem, and will remain until some white people change their hearts - not their votes! And, when some black people stop pretending that they are not racist too.

Concluding now.

What is to be said about the two blood brothers who accepted $10,000 from the Indian hate-monger to kill their sista from a long line of African queens? This woman could have been a distant relative. Her great-great grandparents could have traveled to what is now the United States in the gut of a slave ship with their great-great grandparents. They could have worked together picking tobacco on a salve compound in Virginia. But, this did not mean a thing to these takers of life and morally unconnected fools. They took a life for a little change. Can you believe that? Somewhere down the long line of ancestry those brutal killers who choked and stabbed to death Sparkle in front of her daughter could have been her cousins.

So, I ask:

Who really possesses the most hate? The ruthless Indian killer or the African American killers?

Written by Muata. Inspired by the hatred that will not go away.