- Created on 06 December 2013
Photo by Elev8
Do me a favor. Type the word 'Jesus' into the Google images search field and see what comes up.
Thousands upon thousands of images of a long-haired, bearded, youngish, granola-crunchy, tree hugging types is what you'll get. You know the make love not war, hippy type from the 1970's.
So just last week just as I was contemplating what type of Christmas tree to get- how tall, how fat-I happened to walk by the temporary tree shop that crops up every Thanksgiving just down from my apartment in Harlem.
This year it was the same two guys as last year, Adam and Michael.
Both are from Vermont. At least they spend most of the year in Vermont when they're not selling Christmas trees.
Both are hippy types.
Both look a lot like the fictional, popular portrayal of Jesus, the movie version. Michael is even a carpenter.
Right then it struck me as funny and interesting that Jesus is selling Christmas trees in my neighborhood; or at least someone who bears a resemblance.
I told him to strike his best messiah like pose, took the picture, laughed about it with him and some customers and left.
A few days later I remembered the photo and posted on social media writing quote: "Look who's selling Christmas trees in my neighborhood. He says his father sent him. Think he's the real one? Hmm." (Photo above)
The responses came immediately.
The first few on twitter read:
"It figures your Jesus is white."
"Come on bro...white Jesus and the saturnalia tree?.......yea I said it, keep it 100 Don...smh"
On Facebook someone wrote, "Jesus was not a white man. Who are you these days?... Take a serious step back and think things through."
Another poster wrote, "Oh man, I can't even joke about something like that, especially not on a Sunday. A Christmas tree and the Messiah...ugh! Sorry Don, not liking that."
Someone else wrote, "To all my good strong black people. Don Lemon is an Uncle Tom. You shouldn't be shocked by it."
I don't take any of those comments personally because those people really don't know me. To me everything is material for either a news story or a commentary.
But the post that really inspired me to discuss it in this commentary was from a poster called Soulful Body Movers who wrote, "Don, you didn't do anything wrong, this post was a "good thing" and the issue was overdue for discussion, and I think it's the reason why you got such a great response. I love Christmas and a good laugh! Love Conquers ALL, Peace and Love Everybody!!!"
That's my kind of person; someone who takes nothing personally or too seriously; especially a Christian who doesn't judge. Imagine that?
Anyone who has read what the Bible says about Jesus, knows his origins and what he might have looked like- dark with wavy hair with darker features. But do we know for sure? NO.
But what I do know for sure is for those of us who have studied the Bible is that even Jesus had a sense of humor.
Is it really that important that Jesus looked like us black or white or whatever? Isn't it more important that we act like him and lighten up? And turn the other cheek?
For more on this story, click here.
- Created on 04 December 2013
Photo by Elev8
The History Channel The Bible Miniseries is leading people to think more about scripture and its meaning than anything else.
The famous Bible women dealt with identical situations that we face today. They knew grief, loss, suffering, stress, infertility, growing old and dying. There are stories or honorable mentions of nearly 180 great women in the Bible. Some we now well, Some are overlooked. Here is a chance to take a look at women that would be great in our lives today.
Sarah's life was one depicting immense faith as she was asked to deny herself, as she faced famine, and as she feared growing old. Her life teaches us to wait on the Lord and reveals a miracle of God. Isaac was distraught at her death and only consoled by meeting Rebekah, whom he married. But it wasn't all good. Impatient for a child in her earlier years, Sarah forced her husband on Haggai, their maid, who conceived Ishmael and later was banished from Abraham's employ.
She can be found in Genesis chapters 11 through 25; Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:19, 9:9; Hebrews 11:11; and 1 Peter 3:6.
For more on this story, click here.
- Created on 04 December 2013
Pope reveals he was a club bouncer
(CNN) – If St. Peter ever needs help at the Pearly Gates, his successor Pope Francis may be the perfect man for the job.
The popular pontiff was once a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina, Francis told Catholics at a church outside Rome earlier this week.
He has also swept floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory, the Pope said, in revelations sure to boost his image as a "pope of the people." And, as leader of the Jesuit community in Argentina, he woke at 5:30 a.m. to do the priests' laundry, according to author Christopher Lowney.
Francis didn't offer details about his career as a bouncer, according to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, or what connection his velvet-rope experience might have to his current job as Vicar of Christ and head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Instead, the Pope told the church group, "his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church," reports Catholic News Service.
Getting people into church seems to be Pope Francis' primary mission these days, as made clear by his most recent official statement, a 50,000-word pep talk to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
In "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), officially known as an "apostolic exhortation," Francis calls for church reforms, urges Catholics to be more bold and joyful, and castigates elements of modern capitalism.
"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets," the Pope said, "rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security."
Did Francis leave a few barflies bruised and hurting during his bouncing days? No word on that from the Vatican yet.
- Created on 03 December 2013
Photo by Elev8
Privileged Inconvenience is a reality which must be experienced to be fully understood. It's filled with conflicting emotions and confronting feelings you think you shouldn't feel. Those embarrassing reactions uncovering behaviors you have often criticized in others as well as selfishness you never thought to be part of your character. In addition, the fight to maintain the strength of your faith. We struggle with all of these and more when our life hero faces a challenge they don't' seem able to overcome. My mother was my hero.
I was attending the 85th birthday celebration of my 100 year old grandmother when I suddenly became aware of the mortality of my family. The head table, full of grey-headed men and women, represented years of caring, mentoring, correcting and encouraging. My mother was at the table. Our family hadn't had a serious illness, not child or adult, in 30 years. We were enjoying an extended season of great favor and grace. But the super men and women were aging before my eyes. They had cared, defended, educated, tutored, advised and nursed us all. I had a sense my season of being served was about to change. The roles were slowly reversing as great strength yielded to the unavoidable power of time. Their hair, now grey, was grooming itself for the grave.
Years later my mom was diagnosed with liver cancer. Her need shifted my priorities. I began to care for her like she had cared for me for so long. My life focus changed.
I've always been a person able to clearly articulate my emotions, sorting out the conflicting inner voices produced by unusual circumstances. Deciding very quickly to overcome the range of emotions, good and bad, serious illness of a loved one produces. Discovering balance comes when we accept this life assignment and the stress it puts on our lives. I prayed but the results were not immediate. My sibling was of little help. I decided it was my turn to be inconvenienced but it was a privilege. I was never angry but felt powerless as her disease progressed. Always balancing faith with the reality that appeared to be unfolding. I was losing my best friend.
The formal title is caregiver but I was simply being a son. Unknown to me, I had joined the ranks of 23 million who care for their parents. I was the right age (over 50). While hospitalized making daily visits and once released staying at the house each night. It was simply my turn. The emotion and separation I felt when she died is still palpable almost 5 years later. You manage these feelings. You don't' get over them. Your grief is not understood by many and is an inconvenience to some. They don't understand you have no experience in life for this. A part of me was missing. I didn't shed a tear at the Service. Confused at first as to why, I realized that I'd filled the well of mourning by caring for her while she was alive.
You know someone always auditions for a Grammy or an Oscar at a funeral. I didn't have tears of guilt to add. My life had been on hold but it was my turn. She raised my brother and I alone. She had inconvenienced herself for the love of her children. In our last conversations Mom said it had been a privilege to be my mother. Fifty five years of putting my needs before hers. The least I could do during those last few years was give her the benefit of Privileged Inconvenience.
To read more, click here.