Disorientation to Awe

When I found out that Nelson Mandela didn’t write the, “Our deepest fear…” quote, my mind was blown. I pecked at my keyboard, clicked my mouse, going site to site trying to find evidence that Mandela indeed said these wise words. Like a seven year old watching the mall Santa take off his white wig and beard, I gaped at my computer with wide eyes and a frozen heart. I just found out that Santa Claus is not real.deepest_fear_marianne_willi

I feel foolish. Bamboozled.

How did I not know the real author of my favorite quote? I am a writer, a seeker, a wonderer, an intellectual, a critical thinker, a checker of words…how can this be?

I’ve read this quote in books printed by traditional commercial publishers, and attributed to Nelson Mandela. A more daunting question is what other popular quotes are erroneously attributed?

I have been using this quote for fifteen years. This quote has been posted in my work space for a decade. I’ve given birth to three children and repeated these words to them. I loved when the movies like Akeela and the Bee and Coach Carter used the quote on screen. The quote was supposed to have been written by a world famous South African sage and yet it was written by a middle-aged white female spiritualist. I respect Marianne Williamson’s work. I enjoyed her newest release Tears to Triumph, a useful guide for people who need to do inner work or understand emotional tolls.

mandela_

But knowing the truth about the quote is forcing me to re-orientate myself to the words and their true meaning. They still mean the same thing yet they have a different essence now. They are not words from a world weary, historically oppressed and well-known South African activist.

They are words formed in the mind of a privileged white female with remarkable spiritual insight. My dream of having understood the depth of a great man has been fractured. Even though Mandela did not say it, I am glad someone did; even if that someone is his polar opposite, writer Marianne Williamson.

Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Marianne Williamson and Lynn Woolsey

Unearthing this truth is leading me toward a better understanding of humanity. Things are messy with us. Although some muddy the water for sport, most humans just simply misunderstand, misjudge, overhear, and just take a guess. The reason society’s fist is so tight around the ideas of ‘proof’ and ‘science’ is because of our tendency to believe inconsistencies, false motives and outright lies. Science and Proof seem to guard us from the horrors of mistakes and deception. But as much as science demystifies, it also generates more questions than it can ever answer. Science knows it’s in over its head. Snafus will happen. So I can be assured that many more will come into my life but I hope that they will all be attributed to the correct source.

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Bad Magic

Critical thinkers are actively looking for redeeming qualities in our campy, Twitter troll President. I am among those fair minded individuals who like to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, as a black person in America, my vantage point is slanted toward the feeling of alienation that falls around “building a wall”. This calls up feelings of racism.

Donald Trump is like a really lousy magician. We all see the shiny silver coin sticking out between his fore finger and pinky. He then, with a troubling sense of confidence and annoying persistence, tells us he’s just pulled the coin from behind our ears. Many of us just blink at him, wordlessly, afraid to say that we totally saw the coin. The audience members who call out, “sir, we saw the coin”, he tells them to shut up, calls them a derogatory name, and then turns back to the silent ones, throws up his chin and declares without any irony or self-awareness, “I pulled this coin straight from your ear.” His team placates him and pretends to be delighted by this sloppiness.

So he deals in blatant lies. Is this okay? We all know that this is how you become successful in business. This is not a virtue. This is not a complement. Why would white Christians vote for a man who deals in blatant lies? Do they have an agenda of their own? Is it for the best? Do they enjoy faking enthusiasm? It is a vast mystery to me.

price

We are well aware that Mr. Trump is not a paragon of virtue. It is frustrating that white Christians have given him a pass but it is not surprising to me. I am a black Christian and I’ve sat through eight years of hearing “liberation from Obama” ads run incessantly on evangelical radio stations and podcasts. It was incredibly uncomfortable to be listening to the message of Jesus Christ, which is acceptance, love, and forgiveness, and then suddenly be interrupted with an angry ad about how Obama is taking white privilege down a peg and how whites should show their displeasure about this. These groups have been courting white Christians since day one. I thought that educated, thinking white Christians would see through this divisive talk and reject the impulse to “save their economic status” at the expense of appearing racist, but boy was I wrong. I’ve learned that many unintentional racists have been unveiled. If they had to choose between their money and human dignity for their dark skinned neighbor, they would choose their money. They just want affordable healthcare and job stability. We all want this. But having to go through a morally corrupt, carefree, rich white man should not have been an option; and yet it is.

The question we all need to ask ourselves, if we have to choose between money and discrimination, which would we choose?

 

 

Good Article

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-live-under-an-unqualified-president

mind changing is allowed; hypocrisy is not.

Many people don’t use hypocrisy in the proper context.  They’ve muddled the meaning.  A hypocrite isn’t merely someone who says one thing but does another.  I am very slow to assign the label of hypocrite to others because human thought expands and shifts frequently.

hypocriteyes

hypocrite eyes

 

Some of the things I believed as a teenager, I no longer believe as an adult.  I allow wiggle room for beliefs updates, converts, and maturity.  Mind changing is allowed; hypocrisy is not.

 

True hypocrisy always involves a blatant lie.  It denotes known deceit.

When my uncle would puff his cigarettes then blow the smoke in my face and say, “don’t you ever start these things…they’ll ruin your life.”  He wasn’t being a hypocrite, he was being honest.  He didn’t hide his use of cigarettes while bad mouthing the habit in public. He used openly and bad mouthed openly. He was not a hypocrite.

Sometimes we can slowly drift into the hypocritical realm without being aware like accidentally giving donations to a slaughter house because you didn’t read the form right and you are a known animal rights advocate with a website and everything and recently updated your site condemning meat eaters.

It is very rare that one is unaware that they are being hypocrite.  Most of us know, rather acutely, when we have veered past the beliefs that we’ve pretended to live by.

The girl who preached to me about the wickedness of premarital sex whilst having it herself yesterday is a hypocrite.

If you scold someone for a sin and then find yourself in that same sin a year later, I do not consider you a hypocrite.  You are simply a misguided individual who spoke too soon.  If you however, continue to scold people for the very sins that you regularly indulge in, then you, my friend are a fabricated, fictitious, master of the stage, worthy of an Oscar, bona fide hypocrite.

 

Flying birds

Hypocrites are typically the double-lifer’s; you know, those people who live in two opposing worlds. People like the president of a rape prevention organization, who rapes women in his spare time, and the upstanding preacher who casts out homosexual demons yet maintains a homosexual relationship in private are the paradigm of hypocrisy.

The thing to remember about hypocrisy is that it is based on contradiction.  It is not based upon changing your mind (truthfully), learning, growing, or changing perspective.  I guess this is why it is not a good idea to be judgmental, preachy, or disparaging towards others.

You may find that you feel differently later and people will mistake you for a hypocrite.

 

 

soul junk

I am subscribed to my local library’s great reads newsletter.  The library service emails patrons listings of new book releases in different categories. For the past two years I’ve been getting the African American New Releases. And for two years I have exclusively seen books that are about neurotically religious freaks that sleep with preachers, pimps, kinky sex pots, gold diggers and drug dealers.  Here is a sample of the listing I received today:

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African American December 2012

New and Recently Released

 By the Grace of God – by Keshia Dawn

Gracie looks to God for strength when her fiancé, Dillian, leaves her one day without so much as a warning, and when she finds out the reason for his abrupt departure, it causes her world to flip upside down.

Outcast – by Lewis Ericson

A gritty, page-turning Urban Renaissance debut introduces a troubled young man who gets mixed-up in a dangerous drug trade that threatens to destroy his life.

Gift of Faith – by Robert Fleming

Fleming reminds readers that even a man of God can sometimes falter in his faith.

The Other Side of Dare – by Vanessa Davis Griggs

Griggs weaves the compelling story of a family threatened by a shocking secret.

Playing the Hand You’re Dealt – by Trice Hickman

After her mother dies, sweet-natured Emily Eloise Snow joins her best friend Samantha in Washington, D.C. where she comes face-to-face with a man from her past and must make a choice that could destroy not just her life as she knows it, but the woman and friend everyone believes her to be.

Rise of an American Gangstress – by Kim K.

Born with a platinum spoon in her mouth thanks to her drug dealing parents, Fancy is a young, spoiled princess. But when havoc enters the picture and the Feds seize her family’s ill-gotten gains, Fancy’s lavish Caribbean trips are traded in for cold winter nights in the heart of the hood.

P$$y Power – by Tya Love

Precious, Baby Doll and Sassy, three call girls from the Diamond Palace, are on their grind, living the street life and chasing the all mighty dollar. Beauty, brains and a feisty attitude are a deadly combination when running game.  Will this combination work for them or against them?

Reverend Feelgood – by Lutishia Lovely

“Lovely once again expertly illuminates the wacky world of the devout and devoutly devilish.” (Publishers Weekly)

Make Me Yours – by Sophia Shaw

A free-spirited woman. A man with a plan. Filled with fascinating characters and steamy romance, this sizzling romance contains plenty of heat that will keep readers hooked.

Contact your Librarian for More Great Books!

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Really?  Trust me when I say that EVERY list is similar to this one. I am let down and insulted by this list.  Not one book about deep spirituality experienced by an adult who’s not obsessed with money, delusional about religion, caught up in appearances, or heavy in drugs? Not one book that appears hopeful in a non-sensational way?  Not one imaginative story about a black person who transcends the stereotypical lifestyles of the bravado laced hood society?  I suppose it is these popular ideas that sell books.  But the black experience is so much more than this.  I understand that publishers want to sell books but some inventive, positive, and bohemian perspectives are desperately needed in the market.

The first title by Keshia Dawn (By the Grace of God) is the only one that I would even attempt to read.  The rest of them come off as soul junk.

a soul weighed down

a soul weighed down

Soul Junk – literature, images, movies, people, attitudes, lifestyles, drug use, violence, wickedness, or any substance, place, person, or thing that causes, induces, teaches self destructive behavior