“When people cease to find meaning in work, when work is boring, alienating and dehumanizing, the only option becomes the urge to consume — to buy happiness off the shelf.”—Richard Florida (via azspot)
Bishop Eddie Long: Where does this leave our faith?
Most if not all of us have heard about the alleged sex scandal involving Bishop Eddie Long and three young men who have come forward. If you’ve not seen or heard the whole story it’s all over Youtube and any other video/news/gossip site.
Those who frequent my blog know that I am a woman of faith in Jesus Christ. This scandal didn’t necessarily surprise me because things like this happen all the time. I just definitely didn’t see it coming to Bishop Eddie Long who I heard preach Agape Family Worship Center in Rahway, NJ this summer. I did internally question his extremely lavish lifestyle and some of the controversial things that he said but in all honesty I just put it to rest and forgot about it all.
My opinion on the matter? Short and sweet: If he is innocent I think he should stand his ground, not in arrogance but with the solid faith that God will bring him through this. If it is true then I believe he should just spare himself the drama of denying it all b/c the truth will e ventually come to light and how sad & pitiful an excuse of a man would he be to bring shame to the Christian faith to save his own ego/reputation? Even if he is guilty it doesn’t shake my faith in God or His preachers and teachers who genuinely are bringing His gospel to the masses. This would only be one man’s shortcoming, not an entire faith’s downfall.
This does not in any way, shape, or form rock my faith in Christ. Bishop Long is a human being. He needs prayer and direction just like rest of us. The young men who’ve come forward do too. I pray that whatever the outcome of this situation, people do not use it to cop out on their faith. Faith is a personal relationship with Christ, not a personal relationship with Christ based on what everyone else is doing. There is some serious healing that needs to happen if it is true and some serious legal action if it is not. Regardless, let us not be so quick to judge and jump the Christian ship. I’ll stay afloat with Christ rather than drown in a sea of self-righteousness.
“Years ago in New York City, I got into a taxi cab with an Iranian taxi driver, who could hardly speak English. I tried to explain to him where I wanted to go, and as he was pulling his car out of the parking place, he almost got hit by a van that on its side had a sign reading The Pentecostal Church. He got real upset and said, ‘That guy’s drunk.’ I said, ‘No, he’s a Pentecostal. Drunk in the spirit, maybe, but not with wine.’ He asked, ‘Do you know about church?’ I said, ‘Well, I know a little bit about it; what do you know?’ It was a long trip from one end of Manhattan to the other, and all the way down he told me one horror story after another that he’d heard about the church. He knew about the pastor that ran off with the choir master’s wife, the couple that had burned the church down and collected the insurance—every horrible thing you could imagine. We finally get to where we were going, I paid him, and as we’re standing there on the landing I gave him an extra-large tip. He got a suspicious look in his eyes—he’d been around, you know. I said, ‘Answer me this one question.’ Now keep in mind, I’m planning on witnessing to him. ‘If there was a God and he had a church, what would it be like?’ He sat there for awhile making up his mind to play or not. Finally he sighed and said, ‘Well, if there was a God and he had a church—they would care for the poor, heal the sick, and they wouldn’t charge you money to teach you the Book.’ I turned around and it was like an explosion in my chest. ‘Oh, God.’ I just cried, I couldn’t help it. I thought, ‘Oh Lord, they know. The world knows what it’s supposed to be like. The only ones that don’t know are the Church.’ When you joined the kingdom, you expected to be used of God. I’ve talked to thousands of people, and almost everybody has said, ‘When I signed up, I knew that caring for the poor was part of it—I just kind of got weaned off of it, because no one else was doing it.’ Folks, I’m not saying, ‘Do some-thing heroic.’ I’m not saying, ‘Take on some high standard, sell everything you have and go.’ Now, if Jesus tells you that, that’s different. But I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, participate. Give some portion of what you have—time, energy, money, on a regular basis—to this purpose, to redeeming people, to caring for people. Share your heart and life with somebody that’s not easy to sit in the same car with. Are you hearing me? That’s where you’ll really see the kingdom of God.”—
A dear friend of mine texted me last night and it was a sweet surprise. I’ve known him for a few years now and we care for each other in a way that is a bit more than friendship but not a relationship. We don’t get to see one another as often as we’d like since we don’t live in the same state anymore but we check in every couple of months or so. It’s not often that I’ve found young men to inspire me. It’s most often been women.
The Transition: A Black Girl's Journey Back to Natural Hair....AGAIN.
I’m trying to get back to the above photograph. Where my hair was Natural. It was curly. It was soft. It was everything I wanted my hair to be. But I got a texturizer. WHICH, wasn’t a bad thing except I think I got touch ups way too often. A texturizer is only supposed to loosen the curl pattern of your hair slightly, not make it straight. My hair became completely straight in some places and bouncy curls in other places..
I’m transitioning to Natural because I know my hair can be WAYYY healthier than it is. I have to admit, I definitely didn’t take good care of it over the summer and I’m paying for it now b/c my ends split way up the shaft and I had to get it SUPER-trimmed (a little more than a regular trim, a little less than a CUT). I want the versatility back that I once had. I used to love to wear my ‘fro my freshman year of college. And once I got my first couple of texturizers my hair was still amazingly versatile. It was once I OVER-texturized it that it started getting STRAIGHT and I could do less with it. So, I’m undecided as of right now but I think that once my hair is completely Natural for a while, 9 or 10 months, I may get another texturizer but only get it touched up once a year. That way I’ll keep the curliness of my hair just a tab looser than my Natural curl pattern.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Right now I’m focusing on getting my hair healthy. No more split ends and barely-there edges. I was thinking about getting Sengalese twists but I know that would totally erase any bit of edges I have right now lol. And those twists are SO cute to me! Ugh.. It makes me angry that my hair is uncooperative.
I’m using Garnier Fructis shampoo right now but I think I’ll switch to Cantu, I hear great things. I used to use Cantu my sophomore year and it worked fairly well for me. I also want to go back to using Neutrogena hair mask conditioner. I used to use that as well and it was amazing. My hair was so soft after using it.
My friend Camille mixes completely Natural oils and makes her own moisturizers and conditioners. I’m reading up on Natural herbs and oils b/c I think I’d like to experiment w/that as well. There are too many products out there that you think are good for you but then when you read the ingredients, alcohol and paraffin and mineral oil are some of the main ingredients. < #NOBUENO.
So with allllll of that being said, I’m reaching out to everyone who has ever done the transition from texturized/permed/relaxed/processed to Natural and I have a few questions:
1. What oils/conditioners BEST kept your hair moisturized?
2. What styles worked best during your transition?
3. Do you recommend doing TBC (The Big Chop)? If so, at how many months or how many inches of new growth?
4. WHY did you want to transition from processed to Natural?
5. Which shampoos worked best for you?
6. If you ever had thin edges at any point and regrew them healthy and strong, what did you do to get them back? (TEACH ME!!! My edges are almost non-existent!)
7. What gel do you suggest? I use IC Styling Gel and it makes my hair a bit dry but not as dry and flaky as JAM.
8. Do you brush your hair while transitioning? I do to slick the front back with gel when I wear my hair in a bun. It’s a style I use a lot but I’m starting to think it’s not healthy for my edges.
9. How often do you co-wash if at all? I wash my every week and co-wash once or twice a week.
10. Any advice to grow thicker, fuller Natural hair?
Please give me your thoughts and comments because it would be of great help to me! Stay strong my Natural sistas, I know it’s hard transitioning but by sticking together and giving each other advice we’ll make it!
There is no amount of preparing, dreaming, networking, social climbing, studying, buying, selling, reading, writing, or working that can produce as fruitful a harvest as the simple yet complexly RICH favor of God.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning said, “God’s gifts put man’sbestdreams to shame.”
The magnitude of that statement is transcendent, amazing.
When I work the hardest toward a goal, when I study the hardest to pass a class… God is still greater. I think of it like this: Someone who is a genius on paper (high IQ) with the BEST grades is still not at their full potential if God’s favor does not cover their life.
As a human being I’m inclined to think, ‘How can a genius become any more excellent?’ But then as a woman of faith I know that the possibility is so real through God.
So, sometimes I have to bring myself back. I get so caught up in my dreams and my own ambitions, what I want to do, what I want to accomplish. Then, I think ‘I need to be asking Him what it is He has for me.’ I know when I truly get used to the idea of His gifts being way better than anything I could dream of, I’ll be so satisfied no matter what state I find myself in because there is purpose in it all. I just want to be a person who at the end of the day is remembered. I want it to be a positive remembrance too. Not, ‘Ugh.. she was so stingy/selfish/phony/rude/mean etc.’
I know I’ve got plenty of work to do on myself. Like Brandy said,
I need a lot of improvement. Not even halfway to destiny. But I’m a train that’s movin’ and everyday I’m pickin’ up speed.
I just have to always keep in the forefront of my mind that God’s got my life in His hands and He knows best.
I’ve experienced the 20-something mid-life crisis. It is not deep in some lake with the Loch Ness Monster or frolicking in the forest with Big Foot. It is very real.
There is a measure of depression that lives in it. There is a measure of fear that stiffens it. There is a measure of hopelessness that weighs it down. There is a measure of uncertainty that holds it back.
From the latter part of my 23rd year to just a few months into my 24th I hit a wall. I felt lazy. I felt worthless. I felt extremely tired. I felt homesick for a place I had yet to see. Nothing was familiar except the sweet escape of sleep, comfy and well-broken-in sweatpants, and all the carbs I could inhale. I hated my job. I HATED my job. Everyone else was doing better than me. Everyone else had a LIFE. They had “real” jobs. They worked in NYC. They rode the train to work with a suit on and a briefcase. They could afford to spend the weekend in AC a few times a year. I was struggling to get pizza for Thursday night dinner. It sucked. It hurt. I cried a lot behind closed doors and I dreaded waking to a new day feeling the same way all over again. (Sshh, that’s top secret stuff. Can’t be lookin’ like a sap.)
I was a residential graduate assistant for an arts program. I liked it. I did. I got to plan activities and events around The Arts for some of the most amazing young women I’ve ever met. Brilliant, vibrant minds they had. But for some reason my heart just was not in it. When I sit and think about it I believe the reasons were simple. It did not have the structure I needed to thrive and the premise/theme of the job was not my passion. Where there is no passion, interest quickly dies and efforts becomes more lax. I found myself to be a prime example of that theory.
Then, early May, I had had enough of laying in bed all day and dodging professors whose homework I hadn’t turned in. I had had enough of wearing the same gross sweatpants for 3 days and eating nothing but cereal, walking around with my hair looking like “Who-shot-John-and-forgot-to-kill-him?” I was tired of being tired. Literally.
So I got up, washed my face and brushed my teeth. Put on a semi-clean shirt and skirt. Combed my hair back into a decent little bun and called Karen, my mentor/supervisor. I asked if she had time to speak with me for a few. She said she was on her way back to campus right then and to meet her at her office. I headed straight there.
We sat in her office. Her eyes were bloodshot. For knowing her since she began as Assistant Dean of Students at my university (5 years ago) I knew that her bloodshot eyes were a result of ripping and running all day, advocating for, chastising, molding, encouraging, & coddling her beloved students. I admired and appreciated the fact after all she had done that day (it was now nearing 5 PM) she still made time to meet with me.
I walked into her office, plopped down in the chair opposite her and said something to the effect of, “Karen, I feel worthless and depressed.”
That catapulted us into a discussion of Divine Purpose. She assured me that I was on track. That I was right where I should be in life. Early twenties, contemplating my life’s Purpose, feeling a little discouraged and under-stimulated. She assured me also that those negative feelings would not last as long as I closely examined my life and asked God’s direction. She gave me a book or two to read and left me with some wonderful words of wisdom: 1) Ask God not to show you exactly what His plan is for your life but to show what direction He wants to lead you. That way you can focus all your time, talent, and energy in that direction. 2) Be very intentional about all of the decisions and choices you make in your life so you can become successful at whatever your Purpose leads you to.
We talked for over an hour. I gathered so much inspiration from that conversation alone. So much so, that that night I decided to accompany her and some other young women to a Networking/Winetasting Event the next day. I had avoided social activities for MONTHS and now I had decided to come out of my reclusive state, squinting against the sun’s rays like it was the first time I’d ever come out of my cave.
But just like that I felt free. I felt like the old me that was always rippin’ and runnin’ junior and senior year of undergrad. Planning events. Introducing speakers. Moderating panel discussions. The social butterfly that could not get enough of being INVOLVED. I felt like I was back.
Little did I know there was more in store.
I got back into the habit of dressing to impress everyday. Whether I was just going to the library or stopping by an academic office. Spring had sprung and I was feeling BETTER. Feeling happy and more alive than before.
There I was walking to the cafe to grab something to eat quickly when I heard Karen call my name. She was sitting on one of the low walls near the library and I went and sat next to her.
"How would you like to be the grad assistant for WILD next year?"
I can’t lie, I had thought about it before and I liked the idea but I never pursued it. I figured if it was for me then it would work itself out. God would show me favor. And boy did He.
"I’d be happy to do it."
Just like that my world changed.
I had been a member of Women In Leadership Development (WILD) all four years of undergrad and it held a special place in me. How amazing would it be to NOW be the person overseeing its events and activities, taking under my wing some of the most amazing young women I would ever meet in my life? I was excited, nervous, but excited.
And so it began. The first job I’ve ever had that I can say I absolutely LOVE. There is nothing about it that I hate. I can’t think of a single thing. I don’t mind being up early in the morning to get to the office before the two digits show up before the colon on my digital clock. I love being interrupted by eager students who pop into the office wanting to share a new idea they have for a service project or workshop. I love perusing the internet and using all my networking contacts to find amazing facilitators to come in and teach these young women all the life skills they’ll need once they graduate. To know that in any way, great or small, that I am moving, shaking, touching someone else’s life… It’s gratifying in itself. I truly madly, deeply, LOVE what I do. How many people can say that? Most people choose a job that’s as lucrative as their skill set or education can achieve, never thinking about the fact that it’s not their passion. I don’t want to work just to pay the bills. I need to be enriched, driven by what I do or I will walk away from it in a heartbeat. Besides the bright sun, I need something else to beckon me in the morning to rise and be excellent. I am realizing my Purpose now in this position and I love love love it.