I am not Catholic but I decided to observe Lent this year. I was inspired by a short video that I saw on Twitter of a priest discussing the topic. On a whim the day before Lent began I decided to not use make up for 40 days. I took it as a new experience and challenge.
I am a light make up user. I don’t use concealer, powder or foundation. But I do enjoy black liquid eyeliner, black mascara and a nice bold lip color. Getting ready in the morning is my favorite part of the day. I have fun choosing what I’m going to wear and applying my make up. I think of it as my time to spend on myself before I go out and try to satisfy the world.
The first few days of Lent I was very uncomfortable. It was shocking to see my reflection when I passed a mirror. I felt like a few people that were use to seeing me with make up looked at me strange. I felt like I needed to explain my appearance but I didn’t because I would have seemed very self centered because they probably didn’t think anything of my appearance at all.
I didn’t feel like I was doing my best when I wasn’t wearing make up because I feel that I look better with it. I wanted to give up on my challenge early on and throughout Lent. I didn’t feel like I was becoming spiritually enlightened or closer to God. I just looked plain in the face and I didn’t see any value in that.
I wish I could say that I spent the time that I usually spent applying make up reading the Bible or in prayer. I didn’t. And I didn’t show up places fifteen minutes sooner than normal either.
I was really happy once Easter arrived and I could wear make up again. It was like being reunited with an old friend. Observing Lent didn’t have an Earth shattering spiritual affect on me but I do feel like I learned some discipline and I learned to put aside vanity for the sake of honoring God. I removed a part of my life that is important to me and glorifies myself and put it to the side for a while. I’m glad that I observed Lent this year and I am actually looking forward to doing it again next year.
The experience reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses:
Galatians 2:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me.
It a scary time in America right now. We don’t know what to expect from our political leadership right now. They seem to be trying to change the system that we’ve had in America to a new system that exclusively benefits the wealthiest of the wealthy and makes it difficult for middle class and poor people to survive. I think that the democratically elected Republican leadership in this country is downright evil and those that support it are stupid and evil as well. Perilous times are ahead.
But the Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. The world has seen evil, self centered, arrogant, egotistical, conceited, cold hearted, foolish, greedy, tyrannical leadership before. The Bible is full of stories of heavy handed poor leadership. And those that were faithful to God always prevailed.
Please do not misunderstand me. I’m not one of these passive Christians that opts out of politics because “The Lord always reigns supreme” or “God is in Control”. I agree with these quotes but I don’t think that means you can’t have a political opinion and act in your best interest. I can’t stand any of these flaky Christians that don’t vote because “The system is not Godly”. I resent a lot of stupid, gullible Christians for helping to make America ground zero for future global economic collapse, xenophobia, racism, sexism, pedophilia, poor manners and general stupidity and ignorance.
At this point in human history Americans just have to take things day by day and be prayerful and have faith in God. Take inspiration from Biblical heroes like Daniel who stood up to King Darius in the book of Daniel. Also in Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar order three boys into a fiery furnace for not bowing down to him. Be inspired by the stories of Moses and the Jews who were brutally oppressed by Pharaoh in Exodus. Remember the persecution of infants by King Herod in the Gospels. All of those that were persecuted by evil leaders persevered with faith from God. They were blessed because the were steadfast in their beliefs and unafraid of evil.
So remember that there is nothing new under the sun. We live in uncertain times in America right now so have faith in God and love each other. With that being said vote better next time and stop being so dense. Don Don’s presidency has nothing to do with Jesus and it will not benefit you unless you are rich. There is no need to test God like this. I would believe in the Lord if I lived in Shangri-La so why did these fools open the flood gates of misery, poverty and pestilence. Have faith. Be smart.
Ecclesiastes 1:9King James Version (KJV)
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
2 Timothy 3:1-5New International Version (NIV)
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?
Sigh. Gospel singer Kim Burrell has been trending on Facebook for two days. She was giving a sermon in a church and said something about a perverted homosexual spirit. Someone recorded it and the video circulated around social media. A lot of people became enraged and called her comments hate speech. Celebrities, including gospel singers have condemned Ms. Burrell and turned their backs on her. She has maintained her stance and is refusing to apologize.
Ms. Burrell is on the soundtrack of the new movie “Hidden Colors” and she was going to perform on the daytime talk show “Ellen” soon. Her appearance on the show has been cancelled probably due to Ellen DeGeneres being a lesbian and all. The timing of all of this is quite peculiar. I’m unsure if this is sabotage or a brilliant marketing ploy thought of by Ms. Burrell’s managers.
Here’s the long and short of it. The Bible does not condone homosexuality. It just doesn’t. No where. Like at all. The Biblical model for marriage involves one man and at least one woman. Period. Kim Burrell is a preacher and is called to preach from the Bible. Not “The Wall Street Journal” or “Teen Vogue” or “Cosmopolitan”. There’s really no way around that. So I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. Have we not all heard this before? And if you don’t believe in God, or the Bible or have any respect for church why do you care what some gospel singer thinks? Why you mad?
It’s not fair to ask someone to compromise who they are to suit you. Gays shouldn’t have to do it but neither should Christians. There is room for all of us to live our dreams in this world. Everything comes down to respect.
I really thought that once gay marriage was legalized that would put some of the disagreements to rest. I thought that marriage rights were the goal and that was what the gay community wanted. Evidently I was wrong. Homosexuality has been normalized in pop culture. There are many gay celebrities and gay characters on TV. None of this seems to have done much to make the gay community happy.
FYI I am a Christian that has always been in favor of civil unions or gay marriage. As a civil matter I see absolutely no reason to be against same sex marriage. I don’t want any group in America to feel like they are being discriminated against or being denied their pursuit to happiness. I am not a person that likes to see anyone stand on a high horse and pass judgment on others. But that is a two way street. I have always believed in live and let live. That is a two way street as well.
I have read or watched remarks on social media that blame Christianity and specifically Ms. Burrell for gay people committing suicide. I do not understand what it is like to be gay or suicidal. I am not a therapist. But if you are depressed and need help please seek it out. It seems like a real disservice to blame someone else for your depression or mental health problem. Learn to love and value yourself.
Furthermore, the remarks made about Kim Burrell are just plain mean, misogynistic and racist. There have been dozens, probably hundreds of remarks made about her weight on social media. There have been remarks saying that she looks like a man. I even read a remark saying that Black women are disgusting. This is lynch mob bullying folks. All of this negativity is not really standing for anything but hatefulness. But I thought these folks were fighting for love.
In sixteen days the U.S. will inaugurate our new president who chose Mike Pence to be our Vice President. While Mr. Pence was Governor of Indiana he opposed laws that made it illegal to discriminate against gays. He also diverted funs away from programs to combat AIDS. Pence also supports gay conversion therapy. Mr. Pence is the type of Christian that makes Christianity embarrassing but no one is giving Gov. Pence the treatment that Kim Burrell is getting.
The fact is that Kim is an easy target. She is a gospel singer that has no real power or a great deal of influence. Mike Pence is a White man that influences policy and will soon probably be running our country. Cowards don’t have the nerve to challenge him. So they make fun of the chubby Black woman instead. It’s sad and shameful and I may go buy a Kim Burrell CD soon.
It takes all kinds to make the world turn. That includes the Christians and the Gays. Both groups need to learn that no one has the moral high ground and everyone’s beliefs should be respected. Live and let live.
About ten years ago I decided to get serious about my Christian beliefs. I wanted to be obedient to the word of God and stop picking and choosing the scriptures I would adhere to. I wanted to submit myself to God and stop be a disciplined Christian. I decided to fully commit to tithing %10 of my income.
Tithing is a controversial and heavily criticized practice. I don’t understand the criticism. Churches have bills and expenses like everyone else. I think that if you attend a church that is ministering to people, changing lives and reaching out to the surrounding community in a charitable way you should help support the church financially. Nothing in this world is free and I believe in putting your money where your mouth is.
You can tell where a person’s heart really is by where they consistently put their money. If they spend money at a sporting goods store, a book store, or a store that sells designer fashions you can tell where their passion lies. If a person spends most of their money on their child or a lover you have no doubt about how they feel about that person. If a Christian believes in their church and trusts their pastoral staff they should financially support their mission as long as it aligns with scripture. If they don’t trust the pastor or support the churches mission they should find a different church.
Tithing has been a great spiritual exercise for me. It has taught me to not become too attached to money and material possessions. I have also learned a lot about generosity, sacrifice and selflessness. Whether you have a lot of money or a little it is very easy to exalt money in your life and make it a god. Tithing has given me a different perspective on money. Money is very important but it is not the end all be all. Money is not a constant. Money and it’s source is easy come easy go.
I have to be honest. There have been times when I had to make a mental IOU to God because if I wrote a check for %10 of what I anticipate earning the next week the check would have bounced. But I will also say that tithing has in no way been a detriment to me. I’ve always gotten the bills paid. I’ve always had money for my necessities and I’ve usually had money for things that I want (within reason). There has always been enough.
I wish I had a story to tell you about me tithing at church and then I hit the lottery next week. Nothing that dramatic has ever happened to me and I do not believe in prosperity Christianity at all. However, I have always made ends meet even when money has been tight. I have been blessed and God has always made a way for my household. I have had several financial blessings come my way. I believe that these blessings come from being obedient to God and the financial discipline that tithing brings.
The world we live in is absolutely consumed by greed. People do horrible things in the pursuit of money. The lack of money and the chase for more creates a great deal of anxiety and stress. Tithing is a great practice because it teaches you to prioritize something ahead of your own financial gain. Tithing teaches you to turn to God for your needs instead of your own ability to earn money. Tithing also teaches you discipline which will help your finances in the long run. I believe that tithing has been a blessing in my life in more ways than one.