A Case for Reparations

I think this is easily one of the more interesting legal conversations and certainly, at first glance, the most obvious.

Are African Americans due reparations? 

However, after careful though (and ignoring ignoring Italian television) I was forced to consider a pratical approach to repairing one of our nation’s greatest blemishes.

A grand, top-heavy settlement with seemingly 100% of the African American population simply seemed intangible in today’s political climate. It’s a practical impossibility that’d you’d have a government agency proactively open itself to reparations. So you won’t see any “new” legislation around it; regardless of the continued efforts of Congressman John Conyers (NY).

There are simply not enough votes and certainly too much conservatism to pay any real attention to the “past” in that way. The government isn’t designed for “favors”.

Though it is designed to respond to formal legal claims.

If (and I mean a big IF) some portion of the American population was interested in reparations there is a framework to persue.

Since slavery wasn’t illegal for a significant period of time, you’d need to seek formal damages for acts occurring after abolition – allowing some buffer for the nation to “learn how to pay ex-slaves”. The term reasonable is used frequently in law and it typically assumes even with a duty of care, a defendant gets a reasonable amount of time to correct actions. I believe expecting anything else would be ill advised by any counsel.

Given that buffer, you’d then build a timeline of bad behavior or “Disservice Period”. Damages having occurred during this time would then need to be tied to reckless and wanton conduct by a governing body, like a municipality or a surviving corporation with contractual ties to a municipality.

The thinking here is to challenge these entity’s willful and consistent maneuvering of the new laws of the time rather than acting to rectify in – you guessed it – a reasonable amount of time. Show how that maneuvering was designed to benefit the group in some way.

Now comes the fun part. You’d need to lose that case. Not purposefully of course. But it is highly unlikely, because of statutes oo limitation that you’d lost on first account. You’d need an appeal and to lose again in a higher court.

What you’re looking for is a precedent built on firm cause – serious, actionable and capricious cause. And trust me, that will take some time, there is definitely enough cause.

You could get heard on res ipsa loquitur alone given the evidence we see everyday. But ultimately you’d have to show clear damages, a direct violation of the constitution and an entity of some kind that directly performed both. A municipality (or corporation having ties to a municipality) would be an interesting start since they’re less agile and have public records on collusion.

Now again, here comes the hard part… you’d have to have to stomach to see it all the way through to the supreme court… like 4 or 5 years battles worth of stomach. It would indeed get ugly. It would indeed be polarizing. It would indeed, formally, divide the country.

Then you’re on your way to getting Justice Roberts to issue this statement… 

“Any surviving entity having directly benefitted from violations of the rights of freed men (as set forth in our constitution) must not be allowed to singly benefit from those violations and instead must produce just remunerations to those directly affected. It is not this court’s purpose or intention to bankrupt these entities but to provide the platform to set right these obvious inflictions.”

Justice Roberts of course hasn’t issued this statement but he does have a healthy legal appetite that, on several occasions, has angered both parties. Good for us, bad for convention.

Moderate compensation terms are sufficient. You don’t want to scare the courts into throwing out your case prima fascia. Precedent alone will provide the volume required for collective wins spread across several actions and several years. You want to open narrow doors – only suitable for proven damages – for a steady flow to undebatable restoration.

Funny though, Colin Powell gave practically, the most pointed comment on these types of set backs.

Perform.

It sounded a bit glib at first but honestly there’s nothing like simply out-performing EVERYone around you and achieving in the face of the obstacles in front of us. We hold the keys to judging what success and failure are in our own communities.

Then we rally those spoils. Rinse & repeat. I think we’re closer to another Black Wall Street than we think.

We’ve definitely got some groundwork to lay but the legal instruments above are certainly at our disposal.

This should be interesting.

So You Deserve “Slower” and “Lesser” Education?

Scalia: Some black students don't belong at elite colleges

Scalia: Some black students don’t belong at elite colleges

While I understand the need to play devil’s advocate during ruling, I have to think this exploration was rooted in at least some part of you that agreed with your line of questioning. I’m going to assume the words you’ve taken the time to impute into debate are at least similar to your own Justice Scalia.

There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well…

That said, are we to believe that African American students do not even deserve the opportunity to succeed or fail at the best colleges? They probably won’t do well so why try…? They probably won’t do well so why would they attempt to enroll…? Is that the message that a Supreme Court justice uses his unencumbered literary prowess and historical briefs to purvey? Why try?

Surely you know my people better than that by now. We perform… at every level. And that they are somehow not suited to compete is a farce. I’m sorry but pursuing happiness happens to be one of the cornerstones of this nation. To “go after” what inspires you is – believed to be – what makes this country what it is. A justice would have to understand that, in his/her position, those words send staggering ripples throughout communities currently and diligently seeking better academic opportunities.

Gregory Garre Attorney for University of Texas @ Austin

Gregory Garre Attorney for University of Texas @ Austin

If you look at the academic performance of holistic minority admits vs. top 10% admits, over time, they fair better.

 

I can’t imagine spending my evening writing to a Supreme Court justice about the dangers of the sheer notion of calculative separation of a segment of students from the most valuable educations available. I can’t fathom lecturing an Associate Justice of the highest court on the idiocy of merely suggesting African American students have no place at faster-paced schools. It’s even more appalling that any current justice sits on a bench with a Yale education “Black”.

I can’t. I’m too busy trying to make heads or tales of this 2nd amendment confusion in the wake of San Bernardino than to be rehashing Brown v. Board with yo ass. I have neither the time nor the inclination to, again, make the case that separate but equal was not a good fit for a developed nation.

And before the scholarly break out the transcripts, I’m not sure I understand why one wouldn’t see the court’s time better spent lobbying for better education opportunities BEFORE high school so affirmative action would evolve past moot to obsolete.

For those wondering what Justice Thomas' thoughts are on the subject... in his defense... he was sleep during the proceedings.

The calls for Affirmative Action are still debatable but not dead. What I wholly agree with is Affirmative PROaction where there are smaller, targeted mandates that ensure an equal playing field in secondary schools and before. Thereby empowering all students with the same access to learning tools well before higher education is right around the corner. Don’t wait for special provisions to have to be applied. This almost guarantees conflict. Readiness is the key, not just access. Ensure adequate and equal public schooling is available for ALL students well before the time of higher education… well before the point of contention. That makes all Americans competitive for far more than just undergrad – how about the rest of the world is learning at a faster pace than our kids.

This notion that replacing hope for a better future with acquiescing to what someone else thinks you can do is unacceptable. If there are any potential college students reading this, take your asses to The Common Application and apply to a top school right now. Like RIGHT NOW.

And why are we discussing the students that have already been granted admission, who I personally know, have succeeded? Your ridiculous case is an obvious exercise of entitlement; not whether African American students can do the job once admitted.

What say you?

Assassination of The Pursuit

This tragic moment in “American” History has always bothered me to no end. It almost certainly stunted African American growth for many generations to come. How does a culture of citizens see any possibility of prosperity when the very symbol of progress, that they’d already, slaved to produce was so violently ripped away from them? How is it possible to feel positive about a future in a land where this is possible – with no vindication from anything resembling a justice system. How is your pursuit of happiness… protected?

It meant we could pour our financial & intellectual wealth into our own communities, see it destroyed and be offered no remunerations or support (dare I say no incentive) to rebuild.

Moments in time like this one and assassinations and supreme court decisions and countless others demonstrate, so clearly, this country’s societal immaturity throughout the decades. Such a disappointment that a land so vast in possibilities is constantly stagnated by fear and hatred.

I am saddened and confused every time I experience yet another recollection of these events where society simply has no answers for true justice. Delivering yet another skewed depiction of what it means to be free.

It’s a shame that a country with this much abundance and opportunity is so often reduced to putrid acts of bigotry and insipid decadence.

The United States could be much greater than even the fairy-tale history book your school district regurgitates year after year. We could have so much more if we would only free up the constipation that greed and racism so often leaves us with.

The Response To The Romany Response

Romany Malco

Romany Malco

I’m actually a fan of Romany Malco, and specifically his character Zeke from Why Did I Get Married, or Look Like a Man Act Like A Woman or Deliver us from Eva or whatever other of my date night picks list. Yeah, him. Good actor and even better comedian. In fact, in everything I’ve seen him in, he’s delivered comedic-ally and thematically. Even in his latest blog post, A Message to Trayvon Martin Sympathizers, he delivers a strong performance.

I thought to myself, is he serious? The main message – Trayvon is not the only dead somebody we need to be worried about. I see where he’s coming from but to say the TM/GZ isn’t especially disturbing is being a little obtuse.

In this country, if it isn’t streamlined through mainstream media and pop culture, it doesn’t seem to warrant national debate.

His larger point is that we need to be constantly on alert when it comes to the well-being of our youth – not just when told to be. I can dig that.

And the violent crimes that have consumed “no headlines” is something that bothers him and, despite his op-ed, the rest of us a well.

But let’s be honest with ourselves. If the assailants of these Chicago atrocities were standing over the bodies of the victims they’d be arrested, charged, convicted and jailed with a routine swiftness. On the one had, there was a legal precedent set/affirmed with the entire Zimmerman case – one with ripple effects. On the other, a moral or chronic criminal illness plaguing entire cities.

Now are we allowed to be outraged, Zeke? Can we now agree that it’s not the media that “didn’t” arrest a gunman? It is with those that are entrusted to protect and serve that our concerns lie. The media didn’t coach us to outrage – the outrage did that.

To say that these concerns are otherwise unwarranted or even to suggest that TM/GZ is not uniquely qualified for our collective attention is glib and dismissive. I’m sure that’s not where we are.

Now if you want to now USE the nation’s recent “watchful eye” to lift up the conversation around our youth’s value and how it should be held sacred then I stand with you. I see THAT as useful. I see that as responsible. I see that as constructive and might just move us forward.

I’m not sure we can afford the separation. Aligning interests collectively is how we move forward. Let’s find that common ground, lift each others’ messages and have an even bigger voice.

Though I agree. There is a generally disgusting trend that ends in death for a number of our children – and its murder. But the GZs of the world aren’t responsible for most of those deaths – we are.

Tavis Smiley And Cornell West Are Not Yet Convinced

Tavis Smiley & Cornell West Are Not Yet Convinced

Tavis Smiley & Cornell West Are Not Yet Convinced

I understand their issue with Obama. It’s devotion. It’s about… “What are you spending your time on? And what aren’t you spending your time on?”

Any injustice is unacceptable.

They are seeking to be the conscience of the president and keep him at his pure word. They’re attempting to “keep him honest”.

Their message is anti-injustice (mainly with poverty) not anti-Obama. They are liberals still so rest assured their ultimate goals align with the president’s.

They keep their messages very direct and pointed directly at the issues and not at the temple of the president. That’s not to say that they haven’t taken shots. There have been many.

I understand them but I’m not sure where they go from here? Are they opponents of the president’s agenda. Should the administration ad them to the naughty list or the concerned citizen list. Or are concerned citizens considered naughty by this administration?

Tavis Smiley and Cornell West have already written a book on the matter of socioeconomic injustices – which targeted some of the president’s inaction. Aren’t they trying to fix an issue that the entire nation should be looking at? How can we criticize that?

Because it tears down the reputation of the first Black president?

As African Americans, we literally MUST hold this brother accountable. We have to show him and the rest of Americans that we take the office seriously. And mainly, we have to show ourselves. He encourages honest & thoughtful criticism. Trust me – he’s gone through a little bit in his day.

Tavis & Nelly make several good points and are certainly worth listening to. I don’t see them as “crabs”, I see them as voters.

Cornell West and Tavis Smiley are obviously salty. Barack Obama has, in the past, rejected a few key invitations and generally avoided officially aligning their agendas.

THIS is exactly the type of dialogue that is only possible when you encourage healthy
debate. Vetting ideologies is how ideas turn into initiatives – and then onto legislation. Dare I say it, even dissent is a necessary step in politics in order to get anything accomplished.

Enter: CorTav.

We need niches like the anti-poverty agenda they’re advocating to help vet the issues of today. Once they’re broken down into digestible pieces we can all begin prioritizing. That’s how we get to the problem solving we need. That’s how we bring about resolution – debate and action.

It’s the (in)action that CorTav have a problem with. They don’t see this president as having prioritized reconciling the plight of the banks or the “haves”. In fact, they’ve accused this president, not of commingling like opponents might, but of flat out dereliction of duty as it pertains to economic equal opportunity.

That’s a huge accusation that’s hard to digest when compared against this administration’s macro economic responsibility and efforts.

Where CorTav have a point is unlike the programs proposed by that of John Edwards, the politically-posthumous anti-poverty advocate, there has been no highlighted energy towards thwarting the negative effects of destitution. Insolvency and even starvation are both issues that America has to begin examining on a micro level. And while Obama enjoys the politically Teflon nature of a second term I understand CorTav trying to box him into hearing and dealing with these issue – however uncomfortable they might be.

They’re forcing the president into taking a position AND executing accordingly. It’s the same tactic the president and Harry Reid use when they try to force a public up or down vote just to show citizens where they stand. It’s a pretty slick strategy.

I get it though. Yeah, they may be salty about “The Covenant” and the “State of the Union” but they’re big boys. They can get over that just like the president will have to get over the 2010 elections… that we didn’t show up for and CorTav didn’t canvas for.

7 Steps to Protecting Our Sons

George Zimmerman Acquitted ~ CNN Video

George Zimmerman Acquitted ~ CNN Video

In the wake of the recent Florida acquittal of one citizen having taken the life of another I feel some next steps should be discussed. There is certainly an appetite for a discussion on how to keep our young Americans protected. Calls for a change in laws and behavior are in the air across the nation.

Also in the air – despondence. People are beginning to give up hope that the justice system is even concerned about repairing itself as our society evolves. The value of young Americans’ lives is in question. It needs to be addressed that a number of citizens don’t think their voices will be heard or quite simply – nothing will happen.  We can’t afford inaction. And we can’t afford to wait, so let’s start conversation about the way forward:

  1. Talk to your sons and tell them the threats of this world are real – and don’t always look like threats. Standing up for yourself always is very human. It’s a good thing to do so but how it’s done matters greatly. You never know what people have in their possession. And you never know people’s motives. Are you purposely being provoked? Recognize that some simply want to “get a rise” out of you so they can have a reason to react. Just remember if someone is provoking you, especially those in a position to protect you, they have an agenda. Manipulation in this way is poison on our society and rampant in policing our communities. Don’t be a victim.
  2. Neighborhood Watch

    Neighborhood Watch

    Where is the app for Neighborhood Watch personnel? We’re certainly at a point where the transparency of technology can aid in the monitoring of our communities. This is a simple and practical solve for both knowing your residents as well as the citizens devoted to crime prevention. In gated communities ALL residents are registered anyway. Why not extend these features to expected guests? Maintaining a running inventory of visitors is not a new concept and is already being used in other areas. Those charged with crime prevention should know this list well. This suggestion for neighborhood watch is to ensure they know their residents and their residents’ guests. In the event something happens, you’ve now empowered watchmen with the tools to stay informed.

  3. Know where your sons are at ALL times. Trayvon Martin’s father was unaware of his whereabouts for almost 12 hours after the shooting. Trayvon may very well have been the more responsible young man but no matter how “grown” our youth feel we have to stay in touch with them. It’s time-consuming and may feel burdensome but we simply have to keep tabs on our children – children meaning those in our immediate care. Yes – this could have happened to any parent but for that very reason we want to stay in close contact with our teenagers and be readily available to them when needed.
  4. Remove Section 2 (A) from Florida Law 776.041. It’s broad and essentially absolves provocateurs from being accountable for reasonable reactions from other citizens. All individuals who feel threatened in a real-world scenario should be protected by self-defense. However, creating the scenarios for which violence reasonably ensues should establish some order of intent. I can’t see all the freedoms and assumptions afforded to citizens being available to individuals who knowingly create dangerous situations. How others respond to an otherwise non-aggressive situation should be considered if & when these instances play out in court. Section 2 (A) provides too many luxuries to that of an aggressor.
  5. Minors without weapons should be excluded from Florida Law 776.041. Not just actions that rise to the level of imminent danger but only the use of deadly weapons should warrant the use of deadly force towards a minor especially WHEN one is themselves, the aggressor. We afford minors additional inherent protections against their own underdeveloped assessments in other instances – why not in physical altercations. We must also consider the actions of an aggressor just as complicated a set of circumstances for minors as their judgement in, say, sexual situations. These automatic protections should be levied here. Retrofitting a law would not service prior legal outcomes but we must consider all the ways we can protect youth and the Trayon Martin case offers us an example of a gap our children can unknowingly fall into
  6. Only 1 self-defense law should apply at a time – no 2 can apply. Combining these protections seems like bad practice. Remember, there are several lives at stake – not just that of the aggressor. That amounts to under-collateralized protection and almost promotes provoking attacks. It also promotes zero accountability. Does this mean good judgement no longer needs to be exercised? Or worse, that bad judgment is excused? The laws should not be in place to protect overzealous citizens in instances where their actions result in a death. This is dangerous and could lead to many fatal situations where the only witness to corroborate or counter these judgements will be unavailable for questioning.
  7. “Aggressor” must show just cause for approach AND be subject to legal exploration. This exposes ALL aggressor’s actions (including those leading up to an encounter) to explanation in a court of law. Jurors should have the opportunity to consider both “motivation” as well as motive when ruling. “Citizen” and “aggressors” can not mean the same thing. Zealous citizens cross a line and should accept a new standard and duty of behavior. Where we are today amounts to vigilante behavior.

I think these are practical considerations and can all be implemented in under 20 months. That may sound like a lot but it’s been almost that long since Trayvon Martin had his life stolen by George Zimmerman.

Can’t we get this done? Can’t we try?

A justice system without the justice is just… the system.

There are countless examples of a system that does not lean in the favor of minorities. It is more than obvious the courts alone can not keep our youth safe. In fact, the courts are not designed to – queue the prison industrial complex conversation. But more that it’s our job to own the protection of our children – with knowledge, fair representation in law enforcement and proper regulatory reforms.

I think there’s enough here for a spirited debate so let’s see where it takes us.

Thoughts?

Nickels and Dimes and Legends

Jay-Z Slams Harry Belafonte, Tells Him to Respect ‘…Youngins Boy’

Jay-Z Slams Harry Belafonte, Tells Him to Respect ‘…Youngins Boy’

If you breath oxygen then you’ve no doubt noticed a recent album release that’s more than raised a few eyebrows. Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail is sucking all the air out of the music industry’s respective room. While igniting the creativity of a new generation of listeners and artists it’s also managed to incense a handful of legends – and 1 legend in particular to be exact.

Without mentioning, much, the fact that Carter has moved away from wearing chains to wearing God(ly) robes, this album is a premium-caliber exploration in narcissism. Oh, wait, my sources are telling me that’s just rap in general. Nevermind. He does a pretty good job cementing his place as THE great rapper of today by literally rewriting the rules of engagement.

Let’s now spend a little time discussing his rift with Hava Nagila and civil rights titan, Harry Belafonte. In the summer 2012, the Legend joined a conversation around how the current class of superstars are simply not pulling their weight when it comes to advanced their own cultures. In summary, Hollywood brothers & sisters simply aren’t getting it done.

I think one of the great abuses for this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile arts, power celebrities. But they [Black Stars] have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. ~ Harry Belafonte

Hopefully this is a non-story. Belafonte is definitely owed respect and that’s actually what happened.

Firing back with the Nickels and Dimes track, Jay-Z mentions extending an olive branch to former trailblazers, called Belafonte a boy, harkens conservative values and much more. Wait? Jay-Z calls Belfonte a boy? The answer is. While aggressively attempting to separate both his genre and era from Belafonte’s, Carter bookends a verse with “Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now”.

The boy thing is just plain inappropriate; certainly considering the context. But does Jay-Z not have the right to respond to criticism?

The hip-hop brand of respect (or any conciliatory action for that matter) is “mentions”. Jay-Z is definitely not advocating the same message as Belafonte. Belafonte’s was that of a pure, communal and social inclusion. Jay-Z’s theme is self-empowerment & narcissism. Dude considered himself a “god”. How can you expect their wavelengths to blend?

Mentioning your adversary as a form of respect in hip hop is definitely a stretch. It’s more the acknowledging than anything I thought was interesting. The fact that he said boy was definitely in poor taste but I’m not ready to say he disrespects Belafonte’s acumen and contributions. Not just yet.

 

An Ode to the Movement?
Because I trust Belafonte’s judgement in terms of civil rights I will always give him an ear on the matter improving the culture. His and Poitier’s and Cosby’s and Ali’s voice’s had to penetrate far more bigoted thickness than Carter could ever imagine.

I’d like to think he would go out of his way to pay homage to each of the greats… but in what way? In what way can you, HOV, a self-proclaimed “god” pay respect to similar “gods” from another time? By performing! By besting the industry itself. By engaging in a monopoly and buying & filling stadiums. You pay respect by literally being the best. I think Jay-Z is annoyed by having his name mentioned as part of the problem and simply felt he had to respond – especially since he thinks his plan for “us” is grand as well.

Social Responsibility
Note to Harry Belafonte, social responsibility has a very broad scope with deliberate and cerebral methodologies. Much in the same way President Obama serves a beacon of hope for change, I think both Jay-Z and Beyoncé emit an err of entrepreneurship. They also spend time on community-building initiatives and empowerment programs. In fact, just a few lines before the nudge in Nickels and Dimes (the same track Belafonte was jabbed in) Carter talks about how he wants to position people for opportunities and not handouts.

Though it’s very possible Belafonte acknowledges that. It may be that even in their efforts to help build up the culture, their lavish lifestyle draws too much attention away from these much-needed social endeavors. In Belafonte’s comments he mentions popular artists in general and later goes on to single out Jay-Z and Beyoncé – no doubt because of their influence.

I hate to sound like I’m advocating Carter’s boy sentiment or even apologizing. It was in poor taste. But I did want to draw attention to a fact that Carter also alluded to – having a conversation with the likes of Belafonte and probably all other old-heads. At least that’s what I gathered. It would definitely be worth seeing Harry Can-I-Bus back but maybe a quaint dinner at the 40/40 Club would be more appropriate.

Although there’s only 1 “B” in Carter’s life. He apparently wants to keep it that way.

The Pa$tor’s Finances, What the Church Isn’t Doing & You

Pa$tor, Pastor's Wife, Deacon, Church Members

Pa$tor, Pastor’s Wife, Deacon, Church Members

If the congregation is giving to a well-run church, the pastor AND the church’s bills will be taken care of. And if this pastor has money to pull up to the scene with the ceilin’ missin’ then hey… C’est la vie, right?

Quite a few mega churches I know of are buying land, subsidizing housing, building schools, launching neighborhood watch programs and God knows what else. I’ve been to several in D/FW alone that do it big in their respective neighborhoods.

I was asked a question around whether or not a church and its pastor (or leadership) could or should raise the echelon of an entire neighborhood. Either answer has its own degree of controversy. One the one hand, shouldn’t a church and its god be powerful enough to move mountains – and a few blocks? On the other hand, should the material success of a community be compared to the spiritual prowess? There are debate-worthy points on both sides. It’s definitely a socioeconomic conversation I’d love to have.

For now, we’ll simply examine a community as a living organism that needs to learn to survive on its own. That means clergy, schools, parents, tax payers, voters, home-owners ALL need to be on the same page as far as advancing their area. Without all those pieces firing on all cylinders an area simply won’t have all the ingredients needed for success. I’m thinking it just be the church.

Faith tends to have a couple meanings in the context referred to when discussing churches’ faith-based giving initiatives. There is simply believing in something and then there is aspiring to achieve it. The difference is big and the ladder involves  the rallying of resources to get things done. The former – hope. There is room for both. I know I love to have hope on my sidelines cheering on the achievers. Even the achievers have to have hope. Some folk want to get in the game and some want to be in the presence of greatness. As I grow older I’ve found that I’m largely okay with both.

But for a discussion on achieving progress, responsible faith involves work – the work of a living breathing community. When we have hope and faith we can make major moves. When we don’t – typically nothing happens.

I wouldn’t get caught up in the cartoony/satirical/handkerchief “faith”. That’s old hat. There’s another group of folk that have faith and aspire to achieve great things. Those folk typically aren’t sitting in churches with ignorant teachers. Those folk are in churches that move mountains. Those folk are sitting in churches with amazing pastors and leadership staffs. And, yes, they sometimes drive a Benz.

So when it comes to pastors making more money than their congregation I can’t say that it concerns me whole lot.  Typically, and I mean typically, the pastor is one of the most educated. Why wouldn’t it be the case that a pastor has amassed a great deal of education and resources along the way. And wouldn’t it then be the case the they might just be more well off? Education, of any kind, typically merits more earnings. Typically, the pastor leads leaders, trains a flock and sharpens swords. I would be willing to give those assignments a pay raise. I guess it’s all in how once values the work pastors do.

The Congregation

Although a congregation full of educated people usually means they’ll be EXCITED about doing MOST of the community’s work OUTSIDE the church – instead of depending on any one organization for answers.

The passa’s Rolls Royce is keeping the rest of the church from solving community issues.

Got it. But I disrespectfully disagree. I think it is the strength of the communities themselves that ensure they thrive. I have even seen, on too many occasions, churches pulling the weight of a community – with no help.

If you’re secondary argument is that churches “shouldn’t need man’s help”, I disagree. To quote any scripture here might get me into trouble but I’ll say this: your god will put resources and people and circumstances in your life that you can turn into opportunities. Man is here to help.

If I had to stand on 1 side of any collective argument about the effectiveness and impact of churches I would have to side with the affirmative.

I’ve seen it – and you know you have too.

Even small churches do some awesome things. Haven’t you seen  it where smaller churches raise funds for members with cancer, or sponsor kids’ trips out of country, or provide after school care? I know I have.

Smaller churches seem to do the most work. It’s just concentrated in there small areas. Big churches probably have a way worse ratio of members who actually do things to help out the community.

I would chock that up to bystander apathy at mega churches. Sometimes they can get so big that people forget to do their part or that their part even matters still. They think others have already stepped up. It happens at small churches too but I would definitely say the bigdogs suffer more.

It’s also why I believe some of the larger churches initiatives are so grand – then individuals don’t have to care. Now you just show up, pay tithes (hopefully) and then you get to watch the 5-minute short film on the big screen the [insert cause] the church helped last week. Mission: Accomplished, right?

An effective church, not unlike effective government, should only have to go so far. Then the free liberties and collective goodness of the church should take over outside the walls of the church itself. However, your god should go with you everywhere – especially outside the church.

I think there is more work being done by God than all religious institutions combined. And my work I mean BIG things. You just have to want to be in tune with what those works actually are and you’ll be open to them.

It’s definitely an interesting argument to challenge why ISSUES and GOD can exist at the same time. But I’ll leave the Theodicy conversations for the zealots.

Bringing the Hammer

DOT GAMMIT! If I hear one more idiot conspirator utter the term “Do Your Research”. People, if you are in possession of knowledge that your folks need then you share it… you cite it… you pitch it…

YOU understand it such that you can hold a thoughtful & meaningful exchange with your brothers & sisters. We do NOT have time for YOU to have a monopoly on 10%ing! Cultural capital is what you OWE… NOT what you simply covet.

What separates man from everything else is the indiscriminate transfer of knowledge from one generation to a next. Fluid & readily available rivers of information is the only reason you know what fire is. Are you participating in that transfer or are you the Sméagol of the knowledge you gain? Don’t answer that.

So, to my militant brothers & sisters: find your place again. Show us why we still need you at the table when it comes to actually solving today’s problems.

“A hammer can be used to build a house or bash in someone’s skull.”

It’s all about how one chooses to use their tools.

The moment a starving Cambodian child outrages us just as much as a starving Black child we might be on our way to “real” progress.

The American Flag

The American Flag

Until then, choosing sides only prolongs the solutions needed to put a dent in all the suffering we’re dealing with.

Militancy is polarizing. And while militants are basking in their super-tude and bathing in knowledge the world continues to deteriorate around us all.

Join the ranks of those who choose to put their “knowledge” on the line and grab a hammer. If your knowledge helps you swing faster, THEN I will respect it.

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