Sunday, August 16, 2015

Punctuality is a Sin!!!!

This post is a response to the many times that I have heard people in Christian circles refer to lateness as a sin issue.  I am here to set the record straight... actually, punctuality is a sin!  How dare you exalt your schedule over the importance of relationship?!?  I have heard that if someone is late, it is sinful because it shows that they are disrespecting your time.  I didn't realize people could take ownership of time.  When did time become yours? Maybe you hold "your time" with too much esteem.  So the next time you are tempted to be angered that someone is late for an appointment you scheduled with them, maybe you should question your priorities.  Are you valuing a schedule over a relationship?  If so, you are the one in sin!  (After all, Jesus was late and no one said he was sinning so it must be the other way around [John 11:6,21])

So, the above was satirical to a point, but there was a purpose.  Oftentimes, we try to spiritualize our own cultural preferences and then decide that anyone who is not living according to them must have a sin issue or some heart examination that needs to be done.  Punctuality is no holier than tardiness.  Punctuality is not a spiritual discipline, just as cleanliness is not next to godliness.  Punctuality is a cultural concept, and frankly, it is not one that you see in the Bible.  (How could it be? They walked and rode donkeys everywhere. Not the most time-efficient mode of transport :p).  But you say, "they gave me their word that they were going to be at a certain place at a certain time and since they are late, they have not been truthful.". That could be accurate in some circumstances, but you could also be speaking a different language of time.  More on that below, but simply put, if I say let's meet for lunch at 12, in my "time language", I get off of work at 12, so travel time is not included.  I could have more accurately said, let's meet around 12 for lunch. (Or 12ish)

Time is looked at differently in different cultures. In the Western-European worldview, schedules are very important.  Time is looked at in a step-by-step manner.  We do this from A time to B time, and then we will move on to the next thing from B time to C time, etc.  I have friends who even schedule time to breath! No I don't. But I do have friends who schedule travel time, walk time, and buffer time.  These are good habits if punctuality is important to you, or if you live in a Eurocentric society.  Then there are people of Latin-American and African backgrounds who view time as more circular.  Then there are people of the Whovian persuasion that view time as more time-wimey, wibbly-wobbly.  (If you are a Dr. Who fan you'll get that joke. If you aren't, carry on).  Circular view of time: it's more focused on relationship and living in the moment.  A person with a circular view of time feels that to live fully in the moment (rather than with a preoccupation with the next event) is most important.  Once they get to the next thing, then they will live fully in that moment, even if it takes a long time.

Major take-away: Stop making cultural preferences into morality judgments!  Since I've gotten married, my husband helps me to be on time more.  This doesn't make me a better person.  It just makes me a person that's more punctual.

A note for interacting with people from different backgrounds:  You still may think that a person showing up late to meet with you is wrong. Die to yourself and extend grace (and schedule extra time if you know they're going to be late).  Even if they did set a time (which then to you may mean they didn't keep their word), maybe the reason they scheduled that time was because they were trying to make a concession for you in your need for having a schedule.  After all, I know some of you couldn't imagine conducting life without strict scheduling, but there are entire cultures that manage just fine that way.  Think about it.         

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The fear of the "R" word

What am I talking about?  Having a brother with a developmental disability, I am very aware that the "R-word" has been used in campaigns against the use of the word retard when using it in any context outside of fire safety.  I am in total support of that campaign.  This post, however, is not about that "R-word".  This post is about racism.

Racism. The sin that's so unforgivable that people don't even want to admit it exists, let alone even acknowledge they have racist attitudes.  I see this in the students I teach as well as in White church contexts.

Some recent examples:

  • Immediately following the church shooting at Emmanuel A.M.E., I heard in two different church contexts about the horrible act of hatred that happened in South Carolina, with no mention of race or racism as being a factor.  Regarding the predominantly Black churches that were burned following this incident, prayers were lifted but race not mentioned.  Note to any Christians reading: If we don't pray against racism, no progress against racism will be made. It is a spiritual issue and pretending that it is no longer a problem is furthering the problem.  
    • Another note, I was saddened to think that the only reason we were praying about this incident is because it happened in a church.  I wonder if the same attention would have been given in churches if the shooting had occurred in a community center.  The cynic in me says no given the overwhelming silence I've heard in the midst of racial tensions that have been continually occurring in our nation.
  • Moving outside of the church context, in the same aftermath, a move to remove the Confederate flag from the SC statehouse began.  I asked my students about their thoughts on the issue, I continually heard about how the flag meant heritage to some but offended or caused pain to others. Racism was never mentioned.  Even if you don't personally believe the flag is a racist symbol, surely you must realize that to some it is.  No, no one believes the Confederate flag is racist; it's just offensive.
Why are people afraid of the word racism?  I will now make a generalization as I rephrase my question.  Why are so many White people afraid of the word racism?  From my short lifetime, I've noticed most people don't like to be called racist or admit to harboring racist attitudes.  To that, I quote the play Avenue Q, "Everyone's a little bit racist, sometimes."  This is true of people of all races (or as my father-in-law refers to them: tribes...there may be more on this later)  But, if we don't admit to that fact, racism will continue to thrive, specifically in the church.  Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other and you will be healed" (paraphrase of James 5:16).  One thing I have observed that is specific to White people (not all, but many) is they deny that racism is a prevalent part of our society. It exists, and it is not just relegated to a few isolated and ignorant people (such as members of the KKK).  It is woven into the very fabric of society, and denying its existence is not helping.

To answer the question posed earlier: what's with the White denial.  I've come up with two theories.  You can ask for citations and proof to support this and to answer you, I will point you to the title of this blog.  IMO, the first reason for why there seems to be a fear of the word racism is because to use it admits that it exists.  If we're looking at racism from a societal oppression standpoint (rather than an interpersonal exchange) you realize that society is not bent against White people.  It's bent against everyone else.  I will state this more clearly: White people ARE NOT oppressed in America because of their race.  People of color ARE oppressed in America because of their race.  That being said, if a White person admits that racism of this sort exists, even if they themselves are not the oppressor, they realize they are benefiting in some way because of how society is set up.  This goes against everything they have been taught about America being a virtuous nation with equal opportunity for all.  They then have to admit that the American dream should more accurately be called the American myth and that meritocracy is a lie. They may also have to come to the realization that this great nation isn't so great and that America has been in a state of denial since it's beginning (after all, the man who wrote in the declaration of independence that all men were created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, held slaves). (Reason 1.5- most people are ignorant of the history of domestic minorities and history plays a powerful role in the present)

Reason number 2: A lot of White people don't listen.  If I tell you as an African American my perspective on an event and how racism is involved, don't discount it. Don't tell me it wasn't your intent to hurt me if I'm hurt.  If I jokingly punch you in the arm and you tell me it hurts, I'm not going to say "I was just joking" and punch you again.  Listen and try to see things from a perspective other than your own.

This post was longer than I meant it to be, but not long enough to split into two. Sorry.    

Where have I been?

An brief update of where I've been since I last posted:

  • I graduated with my Bachelor's degree
  • Got a Master's in Animal Sciences
    • During that time I started teaching a diversity and social justice course
    • Decided I liked teaching
  • Currently doing a PhD in Curriculum Studies with a focus on Multicultural Education
A little more on how I got to here:

  • Attended an XA SALT conference and my conference track was focused on Diversity: A gospel perspective (
    • More from her here:
  • Felt like God was calling me to do something about church segregation
    • I plan to focus my research on desegregating churches
Just a bit of context for some of things on my blog to make sense:

  • I grew up in a predominantly Black church but I now currently attend a predominantly White one.
  • I am an African American female if you couldn't tell from my picture. This is the perspective from which I am writing.
  • I really love Jesus
  • I really hate politics. 
  • But a lot of what I will write about has to do with the previous two.
  • Because I hate politics, and Jesus is the only hope we have, I do not align myself with a political party
  • As I wrote in the description (but I think it's worth repeating here) if you consider yourself a liberal or a conservative, you'll probably be offended by some of my posts, but I hope you will think outside of your perspective and think about mine.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Story behind my last post

Based on the title, you might want to first scroll down to the post entitled Life...

I was inspired to write this from something I wrote for my animal reproduction exam. I was writing about how the sperm fertilises the egg and as I got to the point where the sperm actually fertilises the egg, I almost wrote, "and the two become one."
And I was struck with how so many everyday things (ok, so I'll admit, most people don't know the actual process of sperm maturation and fertilisation, but it happens everyday nonetheless) parallel with spiritual principles. The one of which I am specifically referring to in this case would be marriage (if you hadn't already guessed).
The sperm has to leave the male reproductive tract (where it grows and matures) and swim through the female reproductive tract to find the egg. It doesn't fully reach maturity until completing most of the journey to the egg.

It kind of reminds me of how a man must leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife...and the 2 shall become 1. Sound familiar? And I also believe there's no coincidence in the fact that it's the sperm's job to find the egg, not the other way around.

Of course it's not a perfect analogy, as there usually aren't thousands of men competing for one woman, and most men don't face multiple near-death experiences or have immune cells trying to eat them, but I can say that there are some pretty cool parallels.

One male and one female, who are whole (100%) beings on there own, come together (like in marriage) and accomplish more together than they could apart. And talk about it being good to find a wife? Of the millions of sperm that are ejaculated, the only one who's fate doesn't end in death is the one that successfully fertilises the egg. But the coolest thing in my mind is that this fertilisation process, with so many parallels to marriage, serves the ultimate purpose to make a baby (not saying that all married ppl have to have kids, but its one of the perks). The zygote grows into a baby, and if that sperm happened to deliver a Y chromosome, that baby will eventually grow up to be a man, who will leave his father and mother to cleave to his wife, and the process will once again begin with the sperm maturing and setting out on the adventure to find his 'wife'.

Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


He began as just a cell. Just a little insignificant cell, or so he thought.
He didn't know that he had a purpose, or that many were working on his behalf, protecting him from those who sought to destroy him, acting as a barrier, a shield. He didn't know that others were working to equip him to be able to survive against those who would come after him later with the same intent, his demise.
He didn't know he had been chosen, that he had a purpose. He just knew that he seemed to be stuck going in the same direction as all the others surrounding him, subject to those larger forces around him. But although he didn't know it, all these experiences were maturing him so that he could fulfill his purpose.

Soon came the time for him to leave the place he had been born, the comforts of familiarity.
He entered a new place, a new environment, and that time of a maturity came in handy. In this place, every moment was a new obstacle, a new adventure, another chance to die.
Many with whom he'd grown up with had already fallen, but he and those who remained with him continued on the perilous journey.

He finally makes it to a place on the journey where the environment is not so harsh. He seems to coast for a bit, and he becomes complacent. But then, he encounters a new experience. Something like he's never yet experienced.
In this new environment, some unknown force surrounds him that begins stripping him of the hardness that he had developed over the course of his life.
With this newly acquired clarity, he realises his purpose, and for the first time in his life, he begins to trek his path quickly and determinedly.
Those that surround him race to try and steal his price.
But finally, after a grueling journey, he makes it.
He finds...Her!
She of course is surrounded by fortified defenses, but he hasn't come this far to give up. He breaks through to get to her and when he finally does, he realises that the journey was worth it.
Upon his presence, she becomes his, and all the others are immediately turned away. Then, a beautiful thing happens.

SYNGAMY...the two become one

and form a zygote.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A lesson from my little brother

I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about how people relate within the church with those they don't know. Basically, they were talking about how you need to look for ways to meet new people and start conversations and be relational and stuff. Then someone made the comment, "I think we make this too hard" and my mind immediately jumped to my youngest brother. For the sake of not putting his name on the web, I'm not going to put his name on the web, so we'll just refer to him as my little brother. If you know me, you probably know his name.

Anyhow, we were at the ENT for my younger, his older, brother, and he was playing with standard toys that are usually present at a doctor's office and this other little girl was there as well, so as little children do, they began playing together. At one point he comes up to my mom, and was referring to his new playmate as "the little girl," so my mom says to him, why don't you go ask her what her name is. So he did. I suppose the little girl wasn't to the point of being able to fully communicate because she didn't really give him an answer. She sort of turned to her mom for guidance and then kinda mumbled something as a response. I realise for many of us, in our "sophisticated adult ways" are often hesitant in befriending or relating with those who it may seem "not so easy" to relate with initially. However, the lack of communication on her part, was no discouragement to my youngest brother. Instead of saying, well, "we can't really relate", or "this person seems like there will be effort to getting to know them" as we often say (not necessarily by our words, but our actions), he responded with a very formal (especially for the age of 3), "my name is _(first name)_, _(first name)__(last name)_." I found it very humorous at the time for the sole purpose of his unnecessary and completely unexpected formality, but as I think back on it, there's so much that can be learned from that 3 year old's introduction. Upon introducing himself, they continued playing as if they'd known one another for ages.

Oh if we (especially me) could be more like little children! (Matthew 18:3)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two related observances

I just thought I'd share this. I was reading about the Pharisee and the tax collecter the other day, where they are both praying. The Pharisee goes on and on quite loudly about how good he was and was thankful that he was better than this tax collecter. A few things ran through my mind at that moment. First, the impression I get from reading that was that the two of them were quite near to each other. If they were, I just have to say that that was so rude. I get the picture that he was standing right next to the guy. The second thought that I had was what was his point in praying? God's so much bigger than us, and all the Pharisee did was praise himself. For him to be so "big" on rules, it seems that he'd broken the number one command, "Thou shalt not have any other gods before me" because I don't recall him giving praise to God once in his "prayer." Lastly, I suppose, is the most meaningful observation. Pride makes people look stupid. I feel like he probably looked really foolish yelling out a prayer like that, but when we're blinded by pride we don't seem to lesson learned from that, stay away from it.

The second observation has to do with the city of Adelaide, although this isn't my Australia blog. I feel it fits better in this one. I was told by a friend that although Adelaide was known as the city of churches, many of the churches have been turned into other things, unfortunately. Last night, I was walking and I saw a bar called heaven, which looked like it had once been a church, or the building was modelled to look like one. This angered/saddened me at the same time. I immediately thought of Jesus cleansing the temple for the sole fact that I had read Luke's account of it that morning. I imagined what would happen if I walked in there and started flipping tables and stuff. Amusing thought, but I'm not Jesus, so I would have no right to judge the people there. The sadness came as I thought on it longer. I thought about a quote that Pastor Linda often uses: "There's no high like the Most High." I was saddened because people truly need the love and peace and all the other great things that the Holy Spirit offers, but they too often settle for Satan's cheap counterfeits. I suppose that's all the more reason that the church is so desperately needed. Well, that's all for now. You haven't heard from me in a while, and who knows when I'll write on this one again so until next time, May you meet the Most High if you haven't yet, or may you continually enjoy Him if you have.