Let My Homies Go

Theatre IV – Black Fatherlessness

(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

If you are anything other than a fatherless black man, there’s a kind of courage you’ll never have to muster up.  It’s the kind of courage that fatherless black men in this generation must have in order to win the War on RD.  We should salute the fatherless black man even before he has done his first courageous deed, because his is truly a tough row to hoe.

Upon the fatherless black man (FBM for short) of this generation rests a burden unlike any placed upon any other generation of men in history.  His time is up.  His time has come.  It is his time to break the multi-generational curse of rampant fatherlessness.  It is his time to fly in the face of a deeply ingrained cultural code.  It is his time to become a man unlike few men he has ever personally known.

Today’s FBM faces a challenge more difficult and more frightening than merely rolling a resting stone.  He must stand in the path of a huge, runaway boulder.  He must risk being steam-rolled, bring the boulder to a stop and then reverse its course. Today’s FBM is the new Indiana Jones, but unlike Indy, outrunning the boulder is not an option for him.  He must turn, face it and beat it.

The biggest challenge that the FBM faces as he considers the runaway boulder of fatherlessness is the siren call of Baby Daddy:  Baby Daddy is seducing young black men with the imitation, “Come!  Be like me.”  Baby Daddy lives in a relatively small, all-black world where conformity is a given, judgement by his peers is quick and absolute, and the penalty for non-compliance is severe.  Baby Daddy is a young black man, and he is always, subtly, recruiting other young black men to join the counterproductive ranks of Baby Daddyhood.

Mild non-compliance makes the FBM an Uncle Tom.  Serious non-compliance makes the FBM a b****.   Grievous non-compliance makes the FBM something even more un-mentionable.  There is no judge and no trial, just a hastily-formed jury of “peers” dishing out the standard penalty for non-compliance, and that penalty is ostracism.

Ostracism is the modern equivalent of being put “outside the camp” or “outside the synagogue.”  It is the forfeiture of one’s place in the universe.  It is the severance of emotional security.  It is desolation.  More than almost any other fear, the FBM fears ostracism by his peers because many times his reality is that the approval of his peers is all he has.

Fortunately for all of us, the FBM has a great role model to help him overcome his fear of being put outside the camp.  That role model is the first-century Jew who chose to follow Jesus.

We forget how great was the dread of ostracism among the Jews of Jesus’ time.  It was so great that when Jesus gave sight to a blind Jewish man, the man’s own mom and dad were afraid to give Jesus public praise (Jn. 9:21).  It was so great that even one of our heroes in the faith, the apostle Peter, gave in to it for a season.

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Baby Daddy

Theatre IV – Black Fatherlessness

(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

Once upon a movie, white actor Tom Cruse begged black actor Cuba Gooding, “Help me…help you. Now, on behalf of sincere white people everywhere, I appeal similarly to sincere black people everywhere:  “Help whites…help blacks.”

Millions upon millions of white folks are willing to do almost anything they can do to help win the War on Racial Dissonance, but there’s one thing that must be done that is above the white “pay grade.”  There’s one thing that must be done that whites can’t do.  That one thing is to persuade black men to stop making babies and then abandoning those babies and their mothers.

Baby Daddy confounds Mayberry.  Baby Daddy frustrates Mayberry.  Baby Daddy angers Mayberry.  And as long as Mayberry is confounded and frustrated and angry with Baby Daddy, the War on RD will be stalled.  That’s why reducing the rate of fatherlessness in the black community is one of the three Non-Negotiables in the War on RD.

Whoa!  Where did that come from?  I’ll tell you where that came from:  That came from Mayberry Town Square.  That came from the very heart of Mayberry, and it’s been stuck in Mayberry’s heart for a long time, and it feels good to finally let it overflow from our hearts.  It feels good because Mayberry knows that even though it’s going to stir up resistance, the message is true and the message is delivered in love, and the message will ultimately take root in good soil.

And what is good soil?  In this case, the good soil is reasonable black people who are sensitive toward both Mayberry Reality and Harlem Reality.  The good soil is intelligent black people who can do simple math and who can see that neither Caesar nor single moms nor tired grandparents can possibly continue their rescue efforts indefinitely.  Black fathers must step in and step up to protect and bless the millions upon millions of innocent lives they continue to help create.

The good soil is sincere black Christians who are heartbroken by both the spiritual weight that Baby Daddy places on himself and the enormous stumbling block that he places on the life path of his innocent children and the mothers of those children. Continue reading

Paternal Instinct

Theatre II – Black Fatherlessness

(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

The second non-negotiable in the War on Racial Dissonance is Fatherlessness.  Fatherlessness in the black community must be resisted and then crushed.  If you can handle the truth expressed in love, welcome to Theatre II of the War on Racial Dissonance—Black Fatherlessness.*

You know all about Mama Bear and her cubs.  You know what happens if you mess with Mama’s boy.  Maternal instinct is fierce, forever and famous.

While you’re very familiar with maternal instinct, you’ve probably never given much thought to paternal instinct.  Yet paternal instinct is just as fierce as maternal instinct, and it’s even more forever.  The only area in which paternal instinct comes up short of maternal instinct is the area of fame; few people know about it and fewer still have ever really thought about it.  Let’s think about it for awhile.

If you’re a man, you’re loaded with paternal instinct but may not realize it—that’s why it’s called instinct.  Now, the reason you’re loaded with paternal instinct is because you are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27), and God is the ultimate Father.  Technically, it would be inaccurate to say that God has instinct, but whatever its’ called, a passion for paternity is at God’s core, and therefore it’s at your core if you’re a man.

The essence of the paternal instinct in God, and in the men He created to be like Him, is not just the will to create life but also the will to protect that life and bless that life.  For evidence of the will to merely create life, we need look no further than the penis of any mammal; ain’t no babies coming until that Seed Delivery System is activated!  For evidence of the will to protect and bless life, however, we must become more human:  We must rise a bit higher and look a bit deeper.

A mom’s job—her maternal instinct—is to nurture.  It is her job to make a child feel loved and secure.  Mom’s job is largely finished when her child reaches adulthood.  Granted, she may keep on nurturing until the day she dies, but she is not obligated to do so.  Once her children are grown, hers is strictly a voluntary gig:  Lifelong nurture is an extravagant and beautiful gift from God, through her, to her offspring. Continue reading

Wacky Wealth

Theatre III – Cocoonianity

If you’re new to this blog you’ve jumped smack into “Harlem Meets Mayberry:  Black Reality, White Reality and the Way to Racial Healing.”  We’re in Part III, which is Cocoonianity (a.k.a. Taking Whitey to the Woodshed).  Part I was Brace Yourself and Part II was Hard Racial Truth.  Feel free to backtrack!

In the DAR world, wealth has an entirely different meaning than in the rest of the world.  The whole previous chapter was merely a necessary set-up for the unveiling of this definition.  Why?  Because once we understand the DAR definition of wealth we will begin to see how much firepower is on standby to be used in the War on RD, and we will be awestruck by the sight.

To the DAR, wealth means “having enough provisions to fulfill a divine mission.”  DARs do not measure wealth in any other way.  Wealth is measured only in terms of having the provisions to accomplish those things which they believe God has called them to accomplish.  DARS may allow themselves almost any material possession or luxury, but they always strive to be carried along in their financial conduct by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit only.  To them, the Christian cliché “Everything I have belongs to the Lord” is not a cliché but a way of life.  DARs are virtually impervious to worldly thinking about money, and because of this, DARs are an irresistible force for good.

Because they strive to be constantly in step with the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:25), DARS are always on the lookout for two things in particular:

  • Instructions from God regarding money.
  • Good soil in which to “plant” their money.

When excellence— creativity, initiative and discipline—is properly provisioned, the sky is the limit.  And when excellence is properly provisioned and combined with Holy Spirit Horsepower, it cannot be defeated.  This—provisions to invest in excellence–is what DARs bring to the War on RD.

Finally we are ready to exit the Cocoonianity Theatre of the War on RD—the “milk” theatre of our battle plan—and move on to the “solid food” theatres of Black Fatherlessness and Red Word Deficiency (Heb. 5:14).  The going is about to get tougher.  The stakes will be higher and the questions will be more intense, but please trust that we will be advancing toward victory!

As we make this transition, if you are not already a DAR, I invite you to become an honorary DAR for the remainder of the book.  As you read, imagine that you are willing to use your money in any way the Holy Spirit asks you to use it.  Think about the many thousands of Americans who are already DARs and the countless dollars at their disposal.  These DARs are in constant search of good soil in which to plant their staggering reserves of seed.  Think about what constitutes good soil (hint:  It is always rich in two ingredients—gratitude and humility).  Most importantly, strive to read in step with the Holy Spirit and listen constantly for his input.  “If today you hear his voice, keep your heart soft (Heb. 3:15).”

Be street smart yet harmless.  Peace.

 

Disciplined Abundance 202

Theatre III – Cocoonianity

If you’re new to this blog you’ve jumped smack into “Harlem Meets Mayberry:  Black Reality, White Reality and the Way to Racial Healing.”  We’re in Part III, which is Cocoonianity (a.k.a. Taking Whitey to the Woodshed).  Part I was Brace Yourself and Part II was Hard Racial Truth.  Feel free to backtrack!

Now, to the right of the Bloodhound Tither is the proud, Mature Giver; not loud, mind you, just proud.  The Mature Giver is not loud because he is a member of Jesus’ Secret Society of Givers (Mt. 6:3).  The Mature Giver, or MG, not only gives a full 10% of his pre-tax income but also gives above that figure to causes of his own choosing.  The MG is steady and somewhat spontaneous, but his spontaneity moves in only one direction—up!  In other words, he is not “bi-polar” like the Wild Tither who gives generously on faithful weeks and cautiously on less faithful weeks.  The MG has established a “floor” of 10% no matter what, but his ceiling is higher than 10%.  God bless the Mature Giver because he tries very hard to cooperate with God on the matter of money, and many good things happen because of the Mature Giver.

Finally we come to the Disciplined Abundance Returner, or DAR.  All DARs are Mature Givers but not all Mature Givers are DARs.  DARs are a subset of MGs, sort of like pastors are a subset of ministers or surgeons are a subset of doctors.

DARs have the firepower to blow Cocoonianity sky high, and if they do, the outcome of the War on RD will be a foregone conclusion.  DARs have the God-given potential to make victory in the War on RD a matter of “when” rather than “if.”  In a word, DARs are your friends…regardless of your race.

It’s a little tricky to distinguish the MG from the DAR, sort of like trying to tell twins apart if you don’t know them well.  So let’s take a closer look at the “twins,” and soon enough identification will be a snap.

The main difference between the MG and DAR is motive.  MG’s may give out of a mix of motives including faith, guilt, fear, legalism, duty, congregational culture and gratitude.  The DAR, meanwhile, is propelled always and everywhere by just two motives:  faith and gratitude.  She is keenly aware of God’s involvement and favor in her life, and she is tickled to death to share her blessings.

The DAR has discovered, and is in fact addicted to, the “rush” that comes with releasing money into God’s hand.  DARs understand that, as Christians living under the terms of the New Covenant, they have only one non-negotiable debt, and that debt is “the continuing debt to love others (Ro. 13:84).”

Now let’s look at the issue of attaching strings to the tithe.  This means trying to steer all or part of the tithe in directions that meet with the giver’s approval.  Some MGs, especially in smaller churches, use the tithe as an instrument of influence.  DARs, meanwhile, never try to steer their tithe:  They simply pick a home church and then faithfully return 10% of their pre-tax income to that church with no strings attached.

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Disciplined Abundance 101

Theatre III – Cocoonianity

(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

We are headed for a talk about money, and you’re probably wary, and I don’t blame you.  As you’ve read through the Cocoonian progression so far, you’ve probably detected a stronger and stronger odor of “reparations.”  You may have caught such a powerful whiff of reparations that you are bracing yourself for my absurd suggestion that all the white people should just throw a bunch of money into a pot and let all the black people split it among themselves.  Rest assured that I am not about to suggest any such thing.  To suggest such a thing would be sentimental, liberal nonsense, and you cannot be a sentimental liberal and a sincere Christian.  For that matter, neither can you be a “hardcore conservative” and a sincere Christian either, but more on that never.  “Liberal” and “conservative” are Caesar’s labels, not Jesus’ labels.

Reparations are a stench in the nostrils of greedy Christians and generous Christians alike, but for different reasons.  The greedy don’t want reparations simply because they prefer to cling to their money.  The generous don’t want reparations because they believe that private generosity is always much more effective than public generosity.  They know that “generosity” at the point of the IRS’ gun isn’t generosity at all and is therefore futile.  Simply put, generous Christians believe—and rightly so—that no amount of money given against their will can produce any lasting benefit because God loves a cheerful giver, not a grumpy giver (2 Cor. 9:7).

So while it’s true that we’re headed for a talk about money, it’s also true that we are swaying far from the path of so-called reparations.  Caesar is on the path toward reparations, which is wide and ultimately leads to a dead end.  We are searching for a narrower and better way.  As it turns out, that way has already been found, and it is the way of Disciplined Abundance (DA).

I’m not the one who discovered the way of Disciplined Abundance, not by a longshot.  Countless others have taken the way, and there are many on it right now.  In fact, there are so many people on it that you almost certainly know someone who’s on it, but you probably don’t know who that “someone” is.

Confused?  What I mean is that even if your next-door neighbor is on the way of DA, you probably don’t know it.  That’s because of a curious instruction from Jesus himself.  Jesus said, more or less, “When you give, don’t toot your own horn, because if you act like a bigshot on earth you’ll lose bigshot points in heaven (Matthew 6:2).”  His actual words were, “So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets (this is where we got the term, “toot your own horn”) as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”   In giving this instruction Jesus established the most wholesome and least creepy “secret society” in the history of earth, a secret society so secret that even the members don’t know each other! Continue reading

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