Tommy Libre

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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.

 

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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.

Continue reading

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

Principal Christ

Theatre III – Cocoonianity

(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

“So you, also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty (Luke 17:10).”  If ever there was a nugget intended for 21st-century Cocoonians, this is the one.  I swear Jesus knew Cocoonianity would be a huge 21st-century problem, so he made sure to leave us a custom nugget with our name on it.  Hold on tight, my fellow Cocoonians, because we are in for some turbulence.

Black friends, don’t get all smug and snickery here, as if you’re the one who’s not in trouble taking delight in the discomfort of the one who is in trouble.  We’re all in trouble, but you’re just not in as much trouble—this time around—as your white neighbors.  So watch out!

Now back to you, my white brothers and sisters whom I love so much!  Caesar said you had to let blacks into your schools and you did it.  Caesar said you had to let blacks live in your neighborhoods and you did it.  Caesar said you had to pay black employees as much as you pay white employees and you did it, more or less. Caesar said you had to pay more taxes for subsidized housing and food stamps and Affirmative Action and you did it, did it, did it.

Now, when you’ve finally done everything you’ve been told to do, you’re not asking much in return.  All you want is maybe a gold sticker and a pat on the back, and who can blame you?  Nobody, that’s who!

Well, almost nobody.  As you’re sitting there in the classroom of life, looking forward to being recognized and thanked, in walks Principal Christ.

He doesn’t seem to be in a bad mood, so that’s a good sign.  In fact, he seems to be in a very good mood, so that’s a very good sign.  All of a sudden you’re no longer thinking handshake and lousy gold star.  You’re thinking much bigger.  You’re thinking Lady Leg Floor Lamp.  You’re thinking “Major Award” for your exemplary racial altruism.  Woo-hoo!

Then, as you’re halfway out of your chair and on your way to the front of the classroom to humbly (cough! cough!) accept your Major Award, Principal Christ looks at you and loves you and puts you right back in your chair with these stunning words:  “So you also, when you’ve done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”

Really?  You gotta be kidding.  Seriously?  Sear-e-us-lee?  Here you’ve done everything—absolutely everything—Caesar has told you to do, and now this Principal Christ comes along and says you should do even more?  What kind of school is this, anyway?  What kind of Principal is this?  It’s just not fair.  Wahhh!

When we were children, if we did everything we were told to do, we stayed out of trouble but that’s about it.  Our parents and teachers were looking for more.  They were looking for initiative, creativity and discipline.  They were looking for excellence. Continue reading