Joel Osteen is a Victim of His Own Success

Earlier this week Hurricane Harvey his the Gulf Shore of Texas.  This storm has caused major damage and flooding to the city of Houston.  Harvey is being called a once in five hundred year storm.  After the hurricane weakened Houston received record rainfall.  Roads are impassable, homes are damaged and people have been displaced.

Houston is the home of televangelist Joel Osteen’s church.  The church was closed for the storm and upcoming services were cancelled.  Shortly after Harvey hit a young man went to Lakewood church and made a video which posed the question as to why the church was not open to the public.  It is unclear to me why the young man made the video.  I can’t tell if he was there seeking shelter or just there to complain.

The video circulated the internet and Twitter user spent the evening casting stones on Joel Osteen and his ministry.  The internet was mad that a church as prosperous as Lakewood was not open to serve the public during such a time.  They felt like it was hypocritical that the church would not be anxious to serve during a natural disaster and they were not buying that the church was flooded.

I think the criticism of Osteen and his church is unfair.  I am not a Joel Osteen fan and I don’t know much about his ministry.  But I think people need to give the man a break.  For goodness sakes he was in the same hurricane.  Do people think that the wealthy or pastors don’t get rained on?  Besides that churches are volunteer organizations.  All of those people were hit with a hurricane and flood.  So there may not have been adequate staff to serve anyone seeking refuge.

I also think it may have been unsafe to have a facility as large as Lakewood Church open during a big storm because it would draw a lot of traffic to it’s location.  It wouldn’t be wise to put a bunch of people on the roads when some roads are flooded.  There are logistics to be considered when trying to organize a relief effort.

I haven’t followed Osteen’s ministry over the years but from what I hear about him he is Christianity lite.  He’s all of the feel good, come as you are stuff and none of the discipline or fire and brimstone stuff which is pretty typical of modern American Christianity.  Modern Christianity treats Jesus Christ as if He were a genie in a bottle that is here to serve us.  When we are asked to served Him many of us think that the church is being too pushy and demanding.  If we are asked to discipline ourselves and be obedient many of us think that we are being controlled and that  our freedom is being restricted.

This is why I think Osteen is a victim of his own success.  It sounds to me like he preaches a self centered gospel that does not ask worshipper for a sacrifice.  That creates self centered Christians that feel that they need to be served by the church but the church shouldn’t ask service of the community.

And that’s what we’ve seen this week from people that have bashed Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church.  They instantly became angry when the community’s needs weren’t being met by this church but very few people asked what they could do to help the church.  No one asked it the pastor and his staff was OK.  The criticism was very self centered.

But I have to wonder if Osteen caused his own problem by preaching a gospel that is acceptable to the masses.  If churches are going to preach a me, me, me gospel be prepared to serve a demanding self focused congregation.

 

I Forgot My Phone

I forgot my phone at work on Friday evening.  At least I think so it may be lost somewhere for good.  I thought about going back to get it since I have access to the office but between not wanting to make the drive back, heavy rain and not wanting to see anyone at work over the weekend I decided to do without it for the weekend.  I thought this could be a good test to see if I had created an idol in my life.

Being without my phone wasn’t a huge loss.  I have a land line phone in my home.  (I’m not sure how many people that would call me actually have that number though.)  I also have a tablet and a laptop.  I bought the tablet after forgetting my phone at work once before.  I didn’t want to be deprived of my nightly Instagram intake.

The biggest loss was I was unable to take my weekly #churchflow pictures.  There is a camera on my tablet but it is absolute garbage.  My selfies were grainy and looked like Bigfoot pictures.  So the prechurch photo shoot was cut short and I was only fifteen minutes late to church this morning.  I was there early enough to help usher.  That would be a gain.  Less vanity and more serving the Lord.

The other side is that I didn’t have an epiphany of how I need to unplug from social media and tap into the people and things around me.  I don’t think anyone is missing much by checking social media when they have spare time as long as you are not driving or performing surgery or something while you’re checking Twitter.

So that’s my unremarkable weekend without my cell phone.   I can live without it but I sure am looking forward to getting to work on Monday.

Donald Trump is NOT a Christian

Donald Trump is not a Christian.  There is absolutely no way.  Even if you only go to church around Christmas and on Easter you should know enough about our Lord and Savior to know that Trump is not patterning himself after Him.  We all fall short, we all stumble and I think we are all hypocrites but Trump isn’t even trying to act like a Christian.  This can’t possible be his best pious act because there isn’t that much failure in the world.  That is unless he doesn’t even know how a Christian should behave.

If you don’t believe me here are a few Bible verses that should lead you to believe that Trump is no more Christian than a snapping turtle.

 

Matthew 7 :15-20

“Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Trump incited violence while he was running for office.  He has exacerbated racial tension in this country.  He encouraged police officers to mistreat people in custody.  The White House is in chaos.  These are the fruits of the Trump administration so far.  I can’t think of one positive thing that the man has accomplished so far.  These are not the fruits of a man that is being lead by God.

A lot of Christians believe that Trump is a Christian but I believe he is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing that talks a religious game to gain popularity.  He’s a charlatan and a lot of Christians have been had.  He rattles off a few Bible verses as a smokescreen before putting racist policies into play.  That is the way fake, White, American Christianity works.  It’s always been used as a way to sell racism to the White masses.  It hasn’t stopped working since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There is absolutely no Biblical basis for racism.  None!  But Mr. Trump, his Cabinet and party have been busy making racist policies.  In fact they campaigned on racism and won.  Trump and his supporters may think they are Christian but everybody talking about heaven ain’t going there.  Racists are going to burn in hell right along with their president.

Luke 16:18

“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

I’ll leave this right here.

Proverbs 31:30-31
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Women should be honored for their works and not their looks.  What a concept.  I don’t think the Bible mentions grabbing women by the #($$% even once.

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

We all know Trump loves him some money.  Donny has been famous a long time and I’ve heard him mention his love of money many times.  I never once heard him mention loving the Lord until his presidential campaign.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this:  There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lover of themselves, lover of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with such people.

My goodness this describes Trump to a t.  What does it say about a nation that would elect such a man?

 

 

 

Black on the Fourth of July

This week America celebrated the Fourth of July.  I don’t do a lot to observe the holiday because I do not have a lot of family in the area and I don’t have much experience cooking on the grill.  I don’t have children so I don’t buy fireworks.  But I did enjoy the day off and even when I have had to work on the Fourth of July I enjoyed the holiday pay.

This year on social media I saw numerous posts and tweets being circulated encouraging Black people not to celebrate the Fourth.  Some of the social media messages even criticized Black people that do observe the Fourth of July.  I found these memes to be annoying and arrogant.  “Woke” people on social media often come across that way.

Look.  I get it.  I totally understand why so many Black people feel the way they do about the Fourth of July.  Blacks were enslaved in 1776 and the freedoms that this country is supposed to offer her citizens were never intended to be enjoyed by Blacks.  When you consider the culture of America when the Bill of Rights and the Constitution exposed how hypocritical and callous this country is towards Africans.

But despite what Blacks have faced throughout American history we are the greatest patriots of all.  America as we know it would not exist without Blacks.  The U.S. has the biggest economy the world has ever seen and it was built by Black labor.  In history class American students learn the phrase “Cotton is King” which refers to the juggernaut which was the cotton industry in the 1800s.  It wasn’t savvy business decision that made cotton king it was slave labor and brutal, savage force that made cotton king.

The cotton industry of the 1800s supported the textile industry of the early 1900s which was closely related to the northern Industrial Revolution.   The Industrial Revolution gave opportunities to European immigrants in the North East.  Without Blacks immigrants never would have had an America for which to come.

African Americans are only about 12% of this country and we only live in a few areas but we have influenced the culture in many ways even though we often don’t receive recognition for our contributions.  Blacks have influenced American music, cuisine, sports, fashion, politics, fine arts and sciences.  Without us American culture would be bland an utterly unrecognizable.

I’m not sure that the world had ever or has ever seen anything quite like the American Civil Rights fight of the 1960s.  A group of people that have been reviled and thought of as farm animals in the land where they were born stood up to the U.S. federal and state governments and won in mostly peaceful demonstrations.  People that have had their features mocked and ridiculed proclaimed that Black is beautiful and the said loudly that they were Black and proud.  That took bravery.

Since the 1960s other groups have mimicked the Black civil rights movement.  I don’t believe the feminist, LGBT or immigrant civil rights movements would have ever taken shape without the Black movement first.  Once again we provided inspiration for others in this country.  As far as immigration is concerned Blacks once again paved the way for the way for the next wave of newcomers in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  Most of these immigrants come from brown countries and they would not have stood a chance if African Americans hadn’t stood up to White racism first.

We’ve been here trying to make America great all along.  No one really has tried to hold America accountable for her actions they way Blacks have.  We believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights more than anyone.  Because we actually support all Americans having the same rights.  So if you don’t want to celebrate the Fourth of July then don’t.  But if you see other African Americans enjoying fireworks, a cookout or a day at the lake don’t judge and spare us the self righteous “woke” routine.

My family has probably been in this country about seven generations now and they sacrificed greatly for me to have the opportunities that I have in this country.  I’m proud to be an African American and the Fourth of July can be seen as a day to salute patriots and freedom fighters such as Harriet Tubman, Malcom X and Angela Davis.

We deserve to be protected by police instead of targeted by them.  We deserve equal opportunities and access to quality jobs and education.  And se deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this country that those that came before us suffered greatly for.

 

 

#TeamRob

I think we all knew this day would come.  I’m talking about the crash and burn break up of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna.  I watched the show “Rob and Chyna” and I strongly suspected that Chyna was using Rob for attention and financial gain.  The relationship did not seem genuine and Rob seemed kind of vapid.  Chyna was not very nice to Rob at all and she was very controlling.  I don’t think Chyna is a nice person at all and she’s a complete idiot to top it all off.

Before Rob and Chyna started dating Rob was struggling with his weight and he was not getting along with his family.  He seemed to have self esteem problems and then Chyna came along and acted as an earthly savior for Rob.  Chyna took full advantage Rob and his fragile mental and emotional state.  But I could tell on their reality show that she never really loved or liked the man.  At best I thought she was lonely and desperate and was just trying to make the relationship work out.

It has been revealed through social media that Rob showered Chyna with expensive gifts and even plastic surgery.  I don’t believe that anyone should use someone for money but my goodness if you’re going to do it maximize the potential of the situation.  Blac Chyna short changed herself if you asked me.

Chyna probably could have married Rob.  And then she would have been Mrs. Kardashian, the only Mrs. Kardashian.  That would have been a proud moment in Black history.  I also think she missed a huge opportunity by having one baby and dumping Rob.  She needed to have a boy in order to keep the Kardashian name going.  Being Mrs. Kardashian, ex Mrs. Kardashian or the mother of Baby Boy Kardashian would have supported her and Dream for the rest of their lives.  But Chyna’s dumb ass blew it.

Chyna was thinking short term which is child support while Dream is a minor.  But then what?  Chyna will be an ex D.C. stripper in her mid forties.  She’s probably not going to go to school and become a nurse or something respectable.  She and dream are going to be back to hustling.

The problem there is that they are Black women and Black women could never get away with the nonsense that the Kardashians have gotten away with.  If Ray J had made a sex tape with a Black women she never would have had the opportunity to turn that into a multi million dollar family business.  The American public would have never taken interest in that.

Besides that we don’t know what Dream is going to look like and looks are everything in the world she was born into.  There’s a good chance that she will be attractive because both grandmothers are beautiful and her mother is gorgeous when she’s working with her stripper body.  But we just don’t know.

I don’t think I could date Rob Kardashian but he also doesn’t seem that bad to me.  Chyna should have just stuck it out for the long haul.  I really don’t understand these people that get attached to people with tons of money and then show their ass.  The best opportunity folks like Blac Chyna, Amber Rose (Wiz Khalifa’s ex) and Kindu Issacs (Mary J. Blige’s ex) was their marriage.  How did they mess this up?  None of them are going to make as much money as their former partners so why not make nice and stay in the relationship.  They need to take a lesson from Vanessa Bryant who is a smart woman.

Chyna sent Rob a picture of herself kissing some guy and another picture of a different guy in Rob’s bath robe.  Are either of those men going to buy her a diamond watch or a Lamborghini?  Neither one of them probably can which is what makes Chyna is an idiot.  I really don’t know why Rob is even pressed over this.

I’m a believer in everlasting love, loyalty and friendship.  But if you’re going to hustle for a come up do it right and make the most of a situation.  Chyna had the whole world in her hand and blew it and she probably won’t get it back.  I really hope this is all just a Kardashian publicity stunt that the entire family will cash in on.  Because I hate to see a Black woman making such poor business decision.

Travis Kelce’s 87 and Running Walk the Walk

Capture+_2017-06-14-13-43-01-1-1Last Thursday I attended Walk the Walk in downtown Kansas City, MO.  Walk the Walk is a fashion show that is sponsored by Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce that benefits a children’s charity called Operation Breakthrough.  I learned about the event on Travis’ Facebook page and decided to go.  I like to go out to various events in the city and I thought it would be fun to be around and maybe meet Travis Kelce.

I have had a crush on Travis for about two years now.  I think it all started when I saw him Hit the Quan in the end zone that one Sunday a few season’s back.  So I decided to test God’s will and see if it is in His plan for us to be together.  I figured I had to put myself in position to be hit on by Mr. Kelce.  Well evidently Travis isn’t my happily ever after because his girlfriend was there.

After buying my ticket for the event I found out that Travis had one.  I felt a little cheated and I thought about not even taking the time to go.  But I decided to go and support the children.  Why not?  It’s something out of the ordinary to do and it was a charity to benefit underprivileged children after all and not spinsters looking to date much younger professional athletes.

If you’re thinking about going next year and you would like to meet Travis you should.  He makes himself accessible and he works the room.  He’s not shy at all and is quite the talker.  After the fashion show he said that he would stay around to meet everyone and take pictures.

I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity.  He’s in a relationship now and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by fan girling out too bad.  I’m unsure of how I would have reacted if I made direct eye contact with him.  If he was unattended I may have had something to say but with his date in the room I had nothing.

But anyway, it was a lovely event that supported a great cause.  Drinks and finger foods were served and the fashions were nice.  I would actually considering going again next year regardless of Travis or my relationship status.

Instagram Culture

It’s time for an Instagram cultural revolution.  I really enjoy Instagram.  It’s frivolous, light hearted entertainment.   It is my favorite social media platform.  It’s fun to see people tell their stories and express themselves through visual images.  Instagram is very well suited for those of us that are nosey.  I have learned the darnedest things about celebrities, old classmates, relatives and even beautiful strangers.  And Instagram doesn’t carry the emotional baggage of Facebook or Twitter.

There are people in the world that make their livings as Instagram models.  I don’t exactly understand what an Instagram model is because it seems to me that everyone that has ever downloaded the app is an Instagram model.  But these so called models make a living posting pictures of themselves and promoting products on their pages.  Good for them.  Many of them seem to do quite well for themselves.

My problem with these Instagram models is that most of them have zero style.  I don’t see any fashion.  Fashion requires fabric and thread you see and most of these women are as close to naked as Instagram will allow.  That’s pretty darn naked.

I don’t consider myself to be a prude.  I have no problem with a person photographing their nearly nude or even completely nude body.  But why does everyone need to do that?

When you scroll through Instagram images most of the women that are photographed are wearing sexually suggestive clothing in suggestive poses.  Perhaps they are Instagram models or that is their goal.  But it is sad to me that young women are being taught that in order to be successful and have financial freedom you need to look a certain way and put your body on display.

Instagram models photograph themselves in luxurious surroundings with high end goods.  A lot of them date or imply that they date wealthy men.  These images are juxtaposed with images of them in bikinis.  And these are not natural looking bikini shots of them enjoying a day at the pool with friends.  They are in bikinis in full make up, oiled up, with their hair did arching their backs and **** like that.  The message that is being conveyed to a very young audience is that if you want to be successful work on your body and sell it.  Some of these girls talk about their higher education.  That’s great but they’re not using their education to be successful.  They’re using their flesh.

There needs to be an alternative.  That’s why I love Kate Middleton.  She is a young woman with a good figure but she presents herself with modesty, dignity and class.  And she’s going to be a queen one day; not some fly by night reality star or the baby mama to a professional athlete.

I am far older than Instagram’s target audience.  I am not wealthy and I don’t live in a glamorous, coastal, high rent city.  But I have more style in my left heel than all of the Instagram models that I have seen.

If you are a stylish woman, even if it’s only on special occasions you should put up a few Instagram shots too.  The world needs them.  Someone needs to remind the world that women can be pretty and her beauty can be admired without being ogled and lusted after.  And if you’re going to call yourself a model of any sort please have some style.

My name on Instagram is showmeshannon.  I would appreciate your follow.  I would also appreciate it if some of you ladies would show the world your style and creativity through fashion.  Kate Middleton and I can’t do it alone.

Ya Don’t Say

The US-based economists Felipe Goncalves and Steven Mello have both had the police give them a break. It gave them a brilliant idea for uncovering racial bias in policing. Both Goncalves and Mello had been stopped for driving above the speed limit, and when a police officer wrote their ticket, it was for less than…

via Police officers are significantly more likely to give white people breaks on speeding tickets — Quartz

The Las Vegas Raiders

So the Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.  The Raiders are not my team so I’m not very interested in what they do.  I don’t care for Las Vegas so I don’t have much concern about what happens there.  But I don’t think this move to Vegas is a good idea.  And I don’t think anything good will come of it.

First of all, this move is just plain douchey.  Raiders fans are some of the most passionate and loyal in the NFL.  I feel bad for the Oakland fans.  This is a slap in the face by the Raiders management.  I’ve only been to the airport in Oakland so I don’t know much about the city.  But it seems like a hometown kind of town.  I bet if you polled adults on the streets of Oakland most of them grew up in Oakland.  It seems blue collar and a little bit gritty.  In other words, it’s my kind of place.  The Raiders are leaving Oakland behind for an artificial tourist town with a large transient population.

Vegas is OK.  You can have a nice vacation there and it may be a great place to retire but it has no character.  There’s no soul to Vegas.  It will be interesting to see if the Raiders will actually gain new fans in Las Vegas.  Seeing as how most of the population is transplanted from outside of Nevada the new Raiders may be a tough sell.  The impression that I have of Nevada outside of Vegas is that it is made up of people that want to live off the grid and take little interest in pro sports.

The city of Las Vegas is planning on building the Raiders a glorious new stadium.  There is something about it that is a bit creepy to me.  It’s like something out of the “Hunger Games”.  The NFL is relying on public funding to help build this stadium.  This happens all over the country and it always upsets me.

The NFL has plenty of money and I don’t understand why they need to turn themselves into high class welfare cases in order to build or renovate their stadiums.  Their excuse is that the team will help the local economy.  That’s true but I don’t think any city’s economy can be based on a sports franchise.  And if the Raiders are really interested in helping a local economy they should be concerned with what they are doing to Oakland’s economy.  Oakland could surely use the financial boost more than Vegas does.  I don’t see why Las Vegas needs the help.

I think the move to Vegas is going to be a big problem for a lot of the athletes.  People pass judgment on pro athletes when they misbehave but they are young, rich, popular and privileged.  I think a lot of them do well in their lot in life considering the temptations that are thrown in their faces.  If I was one of them I sure would have been a holy terror.

So the Raiders want to take their team that is made up of young men that are probably on average aged 27.  The town is known as Sin City and prostitution has been normalized and is legal in parts of Nevada.  Other NFL teams will have to pass through Vegas when playing the Raiders.  Does the NFL really think there will be no drama resulting from this move?  To me it’s really kind of cruel.  The NFL is setting these young athletes up for failure.

For years pro sports didn’t want sports franchises in Vegas because they were worried there would be a conflict of interest between the gambling business and sports.  I don’t understand what changed other than we live in a world where politicians and business leaders have less integrity than they had even a decade ago.  The Raiders had a great season last year but wouldn’t it seem a little fishy if they made it to the Superbowl next year?  A lot of fans already suspect that the NFL is rigged.

Anyway, I hope this all turns into a disaster and I want to see the Raiders try to return home to the bay with their tail between their legs only to find out that their once loyal fans now support the 49ers.  I hope the good people of Las Vegas replace all of their flunky politicians that act in the interest of big business instead of acting in the best interest of the tax paying citizens.