The Myth of Certainty

Growing up in inner-city Atlanta, in the public housing projects of Dixie Hills, a lesson that I learned early in life is that there would be material things that I would desire to have but could not have.

That was my reality and I accepted it.

My family never owned a car. If there was somewhere I needed to go, I either walked, took the bus or called a cab (we didn’t call them “taxis”.) Every place I ever lived had an apartment number affixed to the address. We never rented or owned a house. I never had a bedroom or bathroom to myself. Fridays were special occasions for my siblings and me, as we looked forward expectantly to having hot dogs and pork & beans for dinner. Other days, it wasn’t out of the norm for our meals to consist of the canned government-supplied leftovers my mom would bring home from her job as a cafeteria cook at a local public high school.

By today’s standards, my childhood would be described by many in such terms as “poor”, “disadvantaged”, “at-risk” and “underprivileged”.

With such descriptions I would beg to differ.

I wasn’t poor. I had a name. I didn’t need some lugubrious social suffix (such as the aforementioned terms) added to it.

As a child, I was acutely aware of what were my parent’s, and God’s, expectations of me. My mother wore the “spiritual pants” in the family and made certain that I was in church every Sunday. Even today, I still love to hear my mother sing in church. Trust me. She can “sang”, y’all (as they say in the “black church”). My father, who was only 64 when he passed away in 2002, was the hardest working man I’ve ever known. He taught me what is a proper work ethic. And it is because of him that I have a very low tolerance for laziness.

My first job was working summers at the same warehouse where my father was employed, sweeping floors and “breaking down” and stacking pallets of empty cardboard boxes for hours a day. Every morning at 5:00 on-the-dot, my father would wake me up and we would walk up the block to catch the #3 bus into downtown, and then transfer to the #73 bus in order to get to work by 7:00. To be honest, I loathed that job, but I loved my father. And because I didn’t want to let him down, I worked as hard as I could to make sure that when we left that warehouse each day, those floors were the cleanest and those pallets the most neatly stacked of any warehouse anywhere.

I had a name, you see, and that meant that I inherently possessed an ethos, a character, a standard by which I was expected to live. Far be it from me to leverage my so-called “impoverished” upbringing as justification for not persevering and doing not only what was ethical, but what was right.

Fast-forward to today, and there exists an attitude of entitlement and dependency which has so permeated American society as to believe anything that is desired is deserved.

This is especially true, though not exclusively, within the black community, where the degree of apathy toward the concept of individual responsibility is reflected in an ever-increasing number of individuals and families on welfare. Though encompassing only 12.9 percent of the population of the United States, 37.2 percent of blacks currently receive some form of government assistance (versus 38.8 percent of whites.) And, though I am fully aware that there are contributing factors which constitute that number on the whole, suffice it to say that statistic is extremely high, proportionally speaking, and cannot possibly be attributable simply to instances of genuine need.

Look, let’s keep it real, alright? Some people just refuse to work. Instead, these mendicants would rather ride the coattails of productive, successful, tax-paying citizens, while simultaneously disparaging those same individuals for achieving the type of success that affords them the opportunity to suckle like pigs to begin with. Talk about hypocrisy! It is this same contorted mentality that originally gave rise to the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, which is based entirely on the apriorism of “whatever I desire, I deserve.”

Think about it.

OWS is but one example of a potentially catastrophic culture shift where the traditional morés of work, perseverance, patience and discipline, are no longer virtues to be encouraged and inspirited among us, but discouraged, if not repressed altogether (as ridiculous as it sounds.) No longer is anything to be earned through the application of real labor, because to actually put forth effort is to risk failure. (And, God forbid that someone fail and have their self-esteem irreparably damaged.)

The great deception of progressivism is that it gets you to focus on what you don’t have and on how miserable your life is because of it; and that the only reason your life isn’t of a better quality is because someone else has intentionally deprived you of it. This is typical”class warfare” on the part of the Left. As a political philosophy, black voters are particularly susceptible to this idea given their overwhelmingly one-sided allegiance to the Democrat Party. President Obama knows this and is quite adroit at exploiting it to the advantage of himself and his party.

Instead of encouraging and uplifting all Americans in a spirit of independence, perseverance, determination, socialists like Obama will single out blacks and other minorities in a deliberate and contrived effort to convince them to buy into the philosophical mirage that their existence is merely a desperate struggle for survival; a plight brought about through no fault of their own, but whose only hope for redemption is through government intervention, as opposed to employing their own God-given talents and aptitude. This is exactly the kind of confrontational, “us-versus-them” hyperbole that has kept blacks loyal to the Democrat Party for decades and with absolutely no quantifiable benefits to show for it.

Times are changing, however. After being sucked (or should I say suckered) into an emotions-driven frenzy  in 2008, blacks are awakening to the realization that slogans like “Hope” and “Change” don’t pay the mortgage or put gas in the car at $4.00 a gallon. Slowly but surely, many black liberals are beginning to understand the fallacy of thinking you can get something for nothing (e.g. “free” health care), and that it is, in fact, an expensive proposition to be placed in the position of being utterly dependent on someone else, namely the government, to meet your every need.

Now, I don’t know about you; but where I’m from, they call that socialism.

Contrary to popular belief, existence does not portend certainty – of anything. To believe otherwise is to harbor a myth, an illusion, a phantasm, because certainty, by definition, is ultimately beyond our finite capacity to control or dictate. To have an opportunity does not mean that opportunity should manifest itself in the same way for everyone (nor should it in a sinful world such as the one in which we live.) “Yes We Can” is nothing more than an empty, regurgitated catch-phrase used previously by Marxists like Ché Guevara and Hugo Chavez.

Neither President Obama nor his vain slogans have the power to improve your economic station for the better. Only you, under God’s direction, can do that. He is the only certainty you have.

It is by God’s sovereign design, not by “random chance” or a “cosmic mistake”, that each of us was born when we were, to whom we were and into the circumstance or situation we were. To live and grow up Dixie Hills was my predestined, predetermined lot in life. I had nothing to do with it and I have absolutely no right to complain that it wasn’t a more ideal situation for me or my family. To do so would be an affront to God. My childhood was neither good nor bad, privileged nor underprivileged. It was simply what it was, which left only the question of how was I going to deal with it.

The great educator and author, Booker T. Washington, once said, “No race can prosper until it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”

Your lot in life might very well be that of “tilling a field” as opposed to “writing a poem”. If so, you shouldn’t see it as a “plight” requiring the government to come to the rescue like some socialist superhero. It’s simply where you are at a particular moment in time. My “field” was once a dilapidated housing project and a warehouse sweeping floors and stacking cardboard boxes. In hindsight, I now know that it was simply a Divine appointment, designed and orchestrated by God, to springboard me on my journey toward physical, intellectual and spiritual maturity.

Poverty is a mindset, not a predicament.

You have a name.

Whether or not you become a statistic is entirely up to you.

DBH

People Are Sheep, Too (Unfortunately)

As my own spiritual and political worldview has matured (hopefully) over the years, there remains one question, above all others I’ve encountered, which is so perplexing to me that, at times anyway, I find myself wanting to hurl myself headlong into the nearest brick wall.

The question is this:

Why is it that blacks, among the myriad of ethnicities that comprise America, are the only ones who require, or, are perceived as requiring, other individuals or organizations to speak for and “lead” them?

Perhaps you’ve ruminated over this yourself. After all, I don’t claim exclusivity on this question simply because I’m black. You see, unlike the NAACP, I make no pretense to be the “Keeper of All Things Colored”.

Thought is universal, or, so I thought (no pun intended). So, it would not surprise me to discover that there are countless others, irrespective of race, who have been, and are,  just as curious as I, if not more so, in examining this subject.

Think about it.

Here we are, some 50 years removed from the of the Civil Rights Movement, when “freedom” for blacks was finally attained, primarily through such legislative measures as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and yet, today, there are still those who insist, almost instinctively, on calling upon the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to garner insight into what an entire race of individuals is (supposedly) thinking on a particular issue.

Which leads me to yet another and, perhaps, even more important question:

Why are blacks generally viewed by others as a monolithic group, as opposed to individuals who can think for themselves, and why is this tolerated?

Now, as much as I would like to hold people like Sharpton and Jackson accountable that this question is still relevant all these years later, in reality, it is not they alone who are at fault. They’ve had help.

That in 2012 these two civil rights charletons who, under the guise of “reverend”, are still able to influence the “group-think” mentality of blacks, is something for which blacks have only themselves to blame. As so-called “leaders” within the black community, the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world would be rendered completely impotent were it not for the willful and, all-too-often, uninformed cooperation of those who blindly follow them like sheep being led to the slaughter.

And for what? To what end is such loyalty warranted or deserved?

One would think that diversity of thought, and the free expression thereof, would be welcomed and encouraged among blacks. Why? Because, contrary to what is consistently force-fed us, primarily by the mainstream media, blacks are, believe it or not, inherently distinct beings possessing inherently distinct perspectives. But, alas, the free-thought “welcome mat” is not extended to all blacks. Instead, what is encouraged is the liberal, astigmatic ethos of government reliance and dependency, and that to the immediate and permanent ostracizing of anyone who dares to break ranks.

Trust me. I speak from experience.

As one who considers himself to be somewhat politically astute, one thing I’ve learned, to my great disappointment, is that not all blacks are, in fact, black. In other words, there’s black and then there’s really black. Ideologically speaking, think of it as being tantamount to the difference between “purple” and “magenta”.

You see, even though my skin tone is black, my parents and siblings are black, I grew up in the “black church”, and even my car is black, my so-called “blackness resumé” is still lacking. The reason I’m not really black is simply because I refuse to embrace the liberal philosophy of the 96 percent of blacks who support the Democrat party. Hence, the incessant labeling by black liberals of “magentas” like me with derogatory terms such as – say it with me – “Uncle Tom”, “sellout” and “rich white Republican”, even though I really am black (though, not really, I suppose.)

Even during the 1960s, when blacks were being discriminated against at every turn, there was at least the option of entering a business establishment, such as a restaurant or store, through the back door in order to be served. Today, however, not even the back door is available to black conservatives. You either tow the liberal line or you’re out. Period. No soup for you! And for no other reason than that we choose to exercise our innate, God-given right to develop a social and political construct which is diametrically opposed to that of the humanist minions within the Democrat party.

A case in point is that of Dr. Benjamin Carson, world-renowned Johns-Hopkins University neurosurgeon – and Christian – who, subsequent to being invited to deliver the 2012 commencement address at Emory University in Atlanta, was singled-out in a letter of protest signed by 500 faculty, students and alumni, simply because he is in opposition to the theory of Darwinian evolution. To which Dr. Carson responded, and brilliantly, I might add, as follows:

“I do wish that more contemporary liberals would be a bit more, well, liberal when it comes to tolerating dissent from the orthodoxies of their faith. Or else I wish they would abandon the pretense of being liberals in the old-fashioned sense and declare their faith to be the equivalent of a religion from which various forms of dissent are simply not to be tolerated.”

Amen, Dr. Carson! I feel you, my brother!

One of my favorite verses in all of the Bible is Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”

The desire to be free is not a racial thing. It is not tied to one’s ethnicity, gender or socio-economic demographic. It is something that is hard-wired within each and every one of us by our Creator. However, to know what freedom is, is to also know what freedom is not.

Please hear me on this.

Do not commit the intellectual error of construing the absence of a physical ball-and-chain to mean that you are free. Slavery is not merely of a physical nature; it is most often a captivity of the mind. Blacks need to understand that our ancestors did not make the sacrifices they made to emancipate us from one form of slavery only to be held in bondage by another. A primary reason why so many slaves were beaten to within an inch of their life is not because they tried to escape physically, but in their mind they already had.

Ponder that for a moment.

That so many blacks today – 96 percent, mind you – are inclined to continue plowing the fields of the “ideological plantation” of the Democrat party, and with absolutely nothing to show for it, is an even more egregious offense than the forced servitude of their ancestors, because to do so is a choice.

The only difference between today and the plantations of 150 years ago is that today the overseer is black like you.

The runaway slave and abolitionist, Harriett Tubman, most noted for efforting the Underground Railroad, once said, “I freed hundreds of slaves. I could have freed hundreds more had they known they were slaves.”

The thing about sheep is that they at least have a built-in excuse for blindly following the one leading them.

You, on the other hand, do not.

DBH

On Black Pastors Who Support President Obama on Same-Sex Marriage

As I continue to study the reactions of black Christian pastors, and their congregants, to President Obama’s pronouncement earlier this month in support for same-sex marriage, I become more convinced of something I’ve feared for quite some time now – that within the “black church” there exists a doctrinal chasm the size of which you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Protestant Christianity.

To get right to the point (as I’ve been known to do from time-to-time), I’m disheartened, to say the least, at the relative ease at which those within the black evangelical community have decided to lay aside their so-called Christian “beliefs” in order to facilitate the agenda of a man whose position on same-sex marriage could not be more antithetical to the very tenets which these same so-called “Christians” profess to espouse.

For years now, I have made no secret of my disappointment at the fact that although there is no shortage of emotion-based “preaching” going on within the walls of these churches, there is very little, if any, theology or doctrine being taught.

That President Obama would think for even a moment that “reaching out” to black pastors on this issue would somehow prove successful should give us all pause, because what such a gesture actually conveys is that even the President himself realizes that there is a distinctly racial component that comprises the level of allegiance afforded him by the vast majority of these men.

We need to be intellectually honest about this. Otherwise, what other explanation could there possibly be for the President to even contemplate the notion of approaching a group of “Christian” pastors to solicit their support for a policy that is so clearly and decidedly un-Christian?

The very tactic itself on the part of President begs the question, “What are black Christians to be above all else: Black or Christian?

Ideally, this question of “black” or “Christian” should not be an either/or proposition. However, the President’s stance on same-sex marriage – and the myriad of biblical loopholes being proffered by black pastors in support of it – has made it so.

But, here’s the thing. This tactic on the part of President Obama isn’t new, folks. It’s been tried before – and rather successfully, I might add – by none other than one Margaret Sanger, eugenicist and founder of Planned Parenthood who, in an effort to propagate her false message of “family planning”, said the following in a letter dated December 19, 1939 to Dr. Clarence Gamble:

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Sanger’s comment is what I like to refer to as her personal “Elmer Fudd Doctrine“. You know, “Be vewy, vewy kwyet; I’m hunting wabbit. Well, not really. I just don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro popuwation.”

Just take a minute and let that sink in.

Notice the words “colored ministers“, “religious appeal” and “the minister is the man who…”

Think about it.

Of what benefit is it to profess to be a Christian, which is a matter of the heart, if something as superficial as race can so easily trump the teachings of Christ whenever the situation presents itself?

Belief is usually accompanied by conviction.

Christ demonstrated this Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane as He struggled with what lay before Him – the cross – when He said to His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” (Matthew 26:38). And yet, in spite of what was facing Him, He offered Himself up anyway. Through it all, Christ remained true to His divine mission and purpose, which was rooted in His conviction that His death was absolutely necessary so that you and I might have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.

Trust me on this, my friend. If you surrender your convictions once, you’ll do it again. Yes, you will. It’s only a matter of when the next opportunity to do so will come around.

Remember, Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus.

To call one’s self a Christian is to realize that it is more than just a label, it is an attitude; a way of life. And that way of life is not meant to be compartmentalized or selectively applied in one’s life. A husband is not a husband only when he is with his wife, is he? No! He is a husband 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He doesn’t set aside that role simply because he might be apart from his wife at a given moment.

The black church is being played yet again; first by Margaret Sanger and now by Barack Obama.

If all that’s required is a simple phone call from the President to get these pastors and their church members to turn their backs on what they “say” they believe, then, we are most pitiable indeed.

It is sad to see that Christianity has been “Facebooked”. These long-held truths which, from the days of slavery, have served as the cornerstone of the black church and family, have been reduced to simply clicking the “Like” button (or not). We like the love of God, but we don’t like that this same God has placed prohibitions on certain behaviors, such as homosexuality.

Look, if you’re going to believe something, then, believe it, even if you’re wrong. But don’t be a situation-ethicist; a wave tossed in the wind, whose “beliefs” can and will change depending on the setting. The only thing that kind of person has conviction about is that they have no conviction.

Regardless of race, Christians should take a stand for the Truth based on principle, not pigmentation.

It’s high time for we who declare ourselves Christian to stop acquiescing to what the world demands of us. If you profess to be a Christian, then, be one by daring to practice what you preach, regardless of what it may cost you.

Lord knows this world has enough sycophants as it is.

DBH

Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to my new blog.

Not only is this my “new” blog, it’s also my first.

For some time now, many of my friends and acquaintances have been encouraging, if not badgering, me about writing a blog. So, on a whim, I’ve decided to give it a shot. Though I like write, I’m a rookie at this blogging thing, so, bear with me as I become for familiar with how this works. I can’t commit right now as to how often I’ll be providing updated content, however, I will do my best to keep the information fresh and relevant.

Take care, and, thanks for stopping by!

Darrell

P.S. I’m on Twitter @deacondarrell