GOD OF OUR WEARY YEARS
While driving his family to his son’s graduation from medical school, IF a motorist has a flat tire on I-95, yet, remains in his SUV while listening to his favorite music, then is he serious about continuing his journey? Assuming no AAA membership and a spare in the trunk, is it a nail’s fault or the father’s fault that his son now is livid that his family was not there to share and to celebrate his special day? Explain. Similarly, IF the African American community fails to replicate Urban Prep Academy’s quintessential pedagogy for boys, then is it the prison industrial complex’s fault or our own Village Elders’ fault that Junior can handle a ball far better than he can handle a textbook? Antithetical to the expectations of black families from Senegal, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, et al., why do countless African American fathers embrace the pipe dream of NFL and NBA fortune and fame for their sons during their formative years? IF only 0.5% [one out of 200] of high school jocks actually plays professional ball, then is this a good return on investment? Antithetically, IF 95% of medical school graduates enjoy a successful career in medicine, then is this a good return on investment? Is it possible, plausible, probable, or preposterous to think that 79% – 97% of black males in some US medical schools are from Africa or the Caribbean while 79% – 97% of the men in many prisons are African American? Hypothetically, what’s wrong with this picture? What will 295 organizations mentoring at risk youths on Martin Luther King Day do to improve SAT scores? In my father’s words, “Not a cotton picking thing!” Yet, IF Village Elders created book clubs and mandated that black boys master chess, chemistry, computer technology, a foreign language, the Scriptures, erudition, and critical thinking before age twelve, then might the privatized prison industry be forced to go out of business or be forced to find a new identity group as its “cash crop”? Explain.
Currently, more than two million African American men in our communities read at or below ninth grade level, despite many of them being skilled craftsmen or manual laborers. Is there any correlation, brothers, between criminal activity and illiteracy? Are black teenagers with a 1.75 GPA more inclined to drop out of high school than their counterparts with a 3.75 GPA? Hypothetically, which of these two prototypes is more likely to experiment with illegal drugs? Hypothetically, which of these two prototypes is more likely to father a bastard child prior to graduation? Is there any correlation between illiteracy and illegitimacy? What is the opportunity cost or long-term impact of functional illiteracy upon African American families? Nationally, why are so many black males “prodigal sons”, who repeat the same sexual mistakes and other vices our fathers did decades ago? Is it “racism” or a “rational response” IF intelligent black and white Americans eschew such stereotypical behaviors? Explain. Ergo, it is imperative that WE atone for the desuetude of Black Intellectualism via challenging HBCU graduates and Ivy League graduates alike to form nurturing bonds with those “boyz in da hood” who never completed high school. Spending ten hours together each week in the library studying rather than in the living room watching sports could manumit at least two million of us from illiteracy, thus indirectly ameliorating SAT scores for our sons. Rather than to covet 40 acres and a mule, such a paradigm shift could empower black men to purchase 400 acres and ten mules! So, principals, professors, college presidents, politicians, police officers, probation officers, PE coaches, and preachers alike, “What is we gonna do, change the flat or blame the nail?” Victory In Christ Ensemble [VICE] proffers several temporal and spiritual solutions anyone can replicate, which rectify our floundering in the wilderness. There is no “p”, “h”, or “d” after my name. Yet, unlike your fraternity, lodge, synagogue, church or mosque, I guarantee members of VICE an ineffably enlightening workshop experience for those members who attend. WE can’t fix it IF we can’t face it, inconsequential to whatever it is.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
[II Thessalonians 2:1 – 12]
IF we shall overcome, then we must embrace the irreproachable INTELLIGENCE and INTEGRITY inveterately associated with the Civil Rights Era. Without well-educated White, Black, and Jewish men and women working in tandem, Dr. King’s legacy probably would be a mere footnote in US History. Today, in a nation wherein “In God We Trust” has become a mere creed on the money upon which it is printed, have things changed for the worse since the March on Washington? Since 1963, have we been blessed or cursed via government programs such as Welfare and Section 8? IF not now, when will we face and fix the maladies most crucial to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Otherwise, the dream becomes a nightmare. Therefore, it is especially important that the “Negro” intellectualizes who he is and where he is physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. In the context of spirituality, the Scriptures affirm that no man can serve two Masters; for he will love one and hate the other. Ergo, can anyone worship Satan, Lucifer, Isis, Osiris, Baal, Baphomet, Minerva, Diana, Apollyon, or Hermes and JEHOVAH at the same time or are they mutually exclusive? Explain. In Exodus 7, we see that Aaron’s rod turned into a serpent and devoured the Egyptian sorcerers’ serpents. In the Torah and in the Bible, Moses’ departure from Pharaoh’s palace was a sine qua non prior to Jehovah God empowering him to lead the congregation of Israel from Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. Today, is it possible, plausible, probable, or preposterous to think that African American “advisers to the king” can practice similar magic or live in Pharaoh’s palace and concomitantly lead our People to the Land of Promise? Explain. Stated differently, “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on our way. Thou who hast by Thy might led us into the light. Keep us forever in the path we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places our God where we met Thee. Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world we forget Thee….”
American media relentlessly proffers our citizenry a phethora of government programs as the solution to social problems, i.e., AIDS, illegitimate children, depression, domestic violence, drug addiction, homelessness, etc. Conspicuously absent from proposed remedies, however, are any recommendations to study enlightening books, peruse the Scriptures, pray, fast, trust in God, and especially obey God’s commandments. Even perspicacious agnostics can see that both the Old Testament and the New Testament are replete with countless illustrations how GOD or some invisible “Higher Power” punished disobedience and blessed obedience to His or Her commandments. Ergo, in the context of spirituality and religion, is there any correlation between disobeying God’s commandments and the proliferation of immorality within Americana? In a nation wherein “In God We Trust” has become a mere creed on the money upon which it is printed, is it possible, plausible, probable, or preposterous to think that curses and plagues often afflict those who neither fear nor revere Almighty GOD for generations to come? As you observe how countless teenagers and young adults dress, speak, and behave, please consider whether it is possible, plausible, probable, or preposterous to think 79% – 97% of our Village’s social problems are attributable to a People having forsaken the GOD of our weary years. Yet, never forget that GOD delights in a prodigal son’s repentance and return to His Father’s strict covenants and blessings. First, he must realize the error of his lifestyle and “come to himself”…capish?
Homicide, illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, illegitimacy, and AIDS are among a plethora of maladies adversely impacting the African American community. Is this a coincidence, a government conspiracy, or our own fault via the desuetude of critical thinking? Explain. Unabashedly, I dare to challenge our Talented Tenth and Village Elders to explore this quandary via irreproachable intelligence vis-a-vis your emotions. Moreover, IF we intellectualize cause and effect, then we can discern rightly whether the African American community is cursed via racism, via Ham in the Bible, via having vacated and forsaken God’s commandments, or via a dearth of knowledge relevant to formal education? What mores or incantations inoculate our kindred from Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, Jamaica, et al., from these vices? For example, IF of our own volition we CHOOSE to sell drugs, drop out of school, steal, sag our pants, speak Ebonics, or maliciously shoot our kindred, etc., then is the culprit racism or self-hatred? If we truly want to draw water from the “well of success”, then why do we incessantly punch holes in the bottoms of our own buckets? How could it ameliorate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness within the African American Village, IF our elders, pastors, politicians and other prominent men, held themselves accountable to irreproachable ethical [see: God’s Gym: Workout #1] and intellectual standards? For example, is it possible, plausible, probable, or preposterous to think that only an exiguous number of African males [men from the Caribbean, the US, or any of the countries on the continent, Mother Africa] uphold Victory In Christ Ensemble’s subjective list of things devout Buddhists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims “should” do? IF God rewards our obedience and concomitantly punishes our disobedience to His statutes, covenants, and commandments, then when will devout fathers teach sons how to break generational curses vis-à-vis following in their footsteps?Why do we allow our progeny to fill privatized prisons rather than to teach our sons reading comprehension, standard English, computer literacy, chess, critical thinking, and the SCRIPTURES prior to their twelfth birthday? Obviously, millions of African American fathers read below a ninth grade proficiency. Obviously, illiteracy creates a chasm between well-educated brothers and those who have yet to discover “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”.Obviously, WE can’t fix it IF we can’t face it. Therefore, why don’t our churches, lodges, frats, temples, mosques, libraries, and other institutions sponsor Book Clubs, Brain Bowls, Chess Clubs, and GED programs? Is this a coincidence, a government conspiracy, or our own fault via the desuetude of critical thinking? Explain. IF the score is 36 – 0 at half-time during the Super Bowl, then should the losing coach complain to the officials about his opponent’s offensive team or admonish his defensive team to stop the quarterback and running back? IF you enslave his mind, then a docile man becomes even more malleable. Ergo, IF our college presidents, preachers, and political “leaders” emphasize how unfair the system is — without holding us morally accountable for our own sins of omission and commission — then are they leading us through the Red Sea or leading us back to the Nile Plantation to resume building Pharaoh’s pyramids? I rest my case.
And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them, so did they. And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”
[Exodus 7:1 – 13]
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
[Romans 12:1 – 21]
“And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord. And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath–heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtoreth. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so. And when the Lord raised them up judges, then theLord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice…”
[Judges 2:1 – 20]