Archive for November, 2014

bushpainting

It is no secret that George W. Bush has embraced painting since his exodus from the presidency. At his presidential library in Dallas, there is an art exhibit that displays some of the former president’s masterpieces, such as paintings of former British Minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin to name a few.

This time, Bush has expressed a new level of affection with his paintings with a more intimate and personal masterpiece: a painting of himself and his father, former president George H.W. Bush.

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Bush unveiled his latest portrait during an interview with Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show, on his forthcoming book that gives an account of his father’s life. Ironically, Bush was more concerned with getting the features of the nose correct during the painting session.

Bush shows a great deal of candor when it comes to the relationship he has with his father. In an April 2013 interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose, he expressed his heartfelt appreciation for him. Bush stated that “in spite of his business, he took time to let us know how much he loved us, so my relationship with my dad is one based upon love and admiration.”

Bush’s new book, 41: A Portrait of My Father, is described by the 43rd president as “a love story.” At a time when partisan politics often serve to divide Americans, it might do our world some good to be reminded that family and relationships are still a vital part to our very existence.

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ferguson

The recent events that have occurred in Ferguson, MO, have caused the moral compass in our country to go in reverse. Various arrests, demonstrations, clashes with law enforcement and a grieving community have captured the headline news and inserted itself as the dominating story in our news cycles.

“Moral Monday”, which was on Oct 13th,  consisted of religious leaders calling for unity. But in the midst of their rallying cry was a strong assertion of a particular divide: racism.

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Bishop Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri articulated his thoughts about the racially-tensed event surrounding the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager. “My faith compels me to be here,” he said outside Ferguson police headquarters. “I want to show solidarity, and call attention to the structural racism of St. Louis.”

Faith has indeed been an acclaimed component of the demonstrations in Ferguson. While the cities has hosted the visits of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, it has caused many to think that selfish ambitions, not faith, are the main reasons for their visit.  This claim is validated by the annoyance displayed by a protester in Ferguson.

From The Blaze: 

“We ain’t seen you!” the first protester said. “When you going to stop selling us out, Jesse? We don’t want you here in St. Louis! When you gonna stop selling us out, Jesse?”

This is an obvious call for the activation of faith-based ideals and not just sound rhetoric or a chance for a photo opportunity.

In these dark times, faith should be used as an asset, not a liability.  The local community should be able to rely on the local church to serve as a beacon of hope and common sense. A good example of this is how faith played an integral part in wake of the Boston bombings in April 2013. The president, along with other political and religious leaders, were able to put politics aside and invoke faith as means of a concept of healing and unity.

For example, a local Methodist church in Ferguson served as an host center for protesters to showcase civil disobedience and to learn how to get arrested.

While emotions and tensions are definitely high, would it be more useful if the church called for obedience of the laws and the respect of law enforcement?

Social and cultural issues lie at the doorstep of the church, but it still requires civility.

The forgotten reality is that a life was lost. Whether it’s a white man or black man that is the recipient of death’s visit, it’s a sober reminder that faith can comfort and heal.

The community of Ferguson is looking for real faith—faith that collaborates with a desire to bring healing to a chaotic and disturbed society. That can only come with those who are willing to follow the principles of faith—love and kindness—and not just merely talk about it.

blacksex

Sex sells. We get it. It’s hard to go to the supermarket without seeing a billboard with a woman scantly dressed or to watch a “family” show on ABC without seeing a television ad featuring a guy in Hanes boxers.

Not only does sex serve as a means of advertisement, but it diminishes the value of family and ethics when lust-craved pleasures take its course. When black America becomes fascinated with the release of sex tapes amongst black actors, it shows that the mind and conscious is being diminished by the amount of filth that it is being exposed to on a continual basis.

Let’s take a look at the dichotemy of black America.

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According to Don Lemon of CNN, roughly 72% of children are born out of wedlock in the African-American community. This informs us that there is an high percentage of blacks who resist the moral notion of waiting until marriage to participate in sexual activity. While sex outside of marriage is rampant amongst many cultures, it is having an huge effect among blacks. Many are eager to have sex, but aren’t thinking of the consequences that follow. If impregnated, are the expenses available to provide for a child? If marriage is an eventual goal, how many sex partners will he or she have had before the vows are exchanged? Is sex the only thing a person believes they have going for themselves? Sex, while appealing, is highly complexing.

A bigger question that is looming over us: What is attributing to the high percentage of children born out of wedlock, which in essence is an high percentage of sex outside of marriage? One specific angle to address is entertainment.

The entertainment industry is serving as an cultural disease in the black community. The message is pretty much “Embrace sex.” Let’s look at a recent movie, entitled “Addiction,” that promotes erotic sexual behavior.

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It’s a film that focuses in on betrayal, lust, corruption and deceit. It’s about a married woman who finds life is a little less adventurous when it comes to sexual gratification, so she ventures into an adulterous affair. It’s not like we haven’t heard enough of this already. Whether it’s a politician that cheats on his wife, or a pastor that resigns form his church due to infidelity, or a TV showed named Scandal, sex is a visible beast that is destroying black families and it’s doing it rapidly.

Crystal Shaw King from EBONY provides additional information on the sex-laced film: “There’s sex… lots of sex. And in this era of #LessClassicallyBeautiful, it sure does feel good to see some very classically beautiful men and women doing the grown-up all over the place. And that’s no exaggeration: We’re talking countertops, showers, car hoods, bathroom stalls… Yeah, it’s that kind of movie.”

Movies, in their entirety, cannot assume all the blame for the sexual appetite. The music industry has had its fair share of influence.

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Music, especially rap, that degrades women and showcases explicit sexual material, encourages young people to engage in sexual acts sooner rather than later. Many songs are known to mention private parts and this sends a message that it is acceptable to degrade your body and sleep around with merely anyone.

From Daily Mail: “Those who frequently listened to songs by artists such as rapper 50 Cent and the Ying Yang twins were more than twice as likely to have had sex compared to those with the least exposure.”

While the desire for a sexual utopia looms large over today’s black generation, the cultural and moral deterioration is looming much larger.

If the black community is looking for inspiration, there’s plenty of options. Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Ben Carson, Bill Cosby, and last but not least , President Barack Obama.

Black americans should look to morality, not sexual degradation, as a source of upward mobility.