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Racial Rushmore

(Second excerpt from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

The next great sculpture might be Mount Racemore.

The next great sculpture might be Mount Racemore.

One day soon, when blacks and whites are getting along much better than they do now, perhaps there will be a Racial Rushmore.   Into the granite side of a mountain will be carved the likenesses of four great movers and shakers for the cause of racial harmony.

Two of the faces on that mountainside are no-brainers.  Martin and Abe will be up there for sure.  The other two faces are anyone’s guess, and since anyone can guess, I’d like to throw my nominee into the hat: I nominate Job.

You know Job as the guy who had all the trouble, so much trouble that he is the Poster Child for trouble to this very day.  But make no mistake; despite his reputation for bad luck, Job was flat-out winner.  In fact, before all his troubles started, he was on an epic winning streak.

Job had it all.  He was mega-wealthy and had a great wife, close friends, seven handsome sons and three charming daughters.  Everyone, including God himself, adored Job.  Nobody could find any fault with him and on top of all that, success had not gone to his head.

Then, literally overnight, it all crashed.  All of Job’s kids were killed, his fortune stolen and his health destroyed.  Suddenly he had nothing and almost nobody, and he sat in the deepest, darkest pit of gloom.  His body was covered with painful sores from head to toe.

Worst of all, everyone assumed that Job was being punished for some secret sin, when in fact Job was the apple of God’s eye.  At the pinnacle of his torment, Job finally whimpered, “I wish I’d never been born.”

And he meant it.

The book of Job consists of about 40 pages but the story takes only four pages to tell.  Of the remaining 36 pages, about 13 are taken up by Job’s friends pummeling him with annoying advice and criticism, while another 17 pages record Job’s complaints, defense and all-around pity party.  So actual events account for only 10% of the book, while commentary and opinion consume a whopping 75%.

Isn’t that just how our culture works to this very day?

Something horrific happens and an avalanche of knee-jerk rhetoric follows.  Victims howl and proclaim their innocence.  Self-appointed gurus and blind guides, many of them religious leaders who ought to know better, weigh in with hastily-formed opinions.

Meanwhile, God always puts in his two cents’ worth, too (this accounts for the “missing” 15% of Job), but we almost never care to hear God’s thoughts on the matter.

Why do we not listen to God in the immediate aftermath of tragedy?  Because we’re in too big a hurry to be clever and smart.  We’re too busy writing social media posts and giving speeches and hoping that our drive-by post or our drive-by speech will be the magic pill that solves the problem, which of course it never is and never does.

Many folks think the book of Job has a happy ending, but it doesn’t.  True, Job got his fortune and friends and reputation back.  He also had 10 more beautiful children, lived to see his great-great grandchildren and died “old and full of years.”

Still, it was not a happy ending.  It was merely an orderly and prosperous ending.

Job lost 10 children, and anyone who’s ever lost even a single child can tell you that there is no happy ending after a child dies.  Granted, many happy days may follow, but the sun never shines again in quite the same way.  The loss of a child marks the heart and soul in a way like no other loss, and while there may yet be much joy, the happy ending is written right out of the script.

None of us will ever climb as high nor fall as far as Job.  Job was an outlier at both extremes of the prosperity continuum.

So what, then, is the modern point of Job?  How can he help us navigate our racial times, and why on earth would his likeness deserve chiseling into Mt. Racemore? Continue reading

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Harlem Meets Mayberry Back Cover

Been away from the blog for awhile but haven't been snoozing.

Been away from the blog for awhile but haven’t been snoozing.

It’s been over two lightning-fast years since I’ve posted on this blogsite. I’m delighted to be back, and I thank you for having me back.

My time away was spent wandering in the racial wilderness of America, thinking about black folks and white folks and wondering, as Rodney King so famously wondered, why we can’t all just can’t “get along.”

The result of all that wandering and wondering—and praying—is a fresh book entitled “Harlem Meets Mayberry.” The subtitle is “Black Reality, White Reality and the War on Racial Dissonance.”
Notice that the last four words of the subtitle form the acronym, “WORD?”

That, as you’ll soon see, is more than coincidence.

Harlem Meets Mayberry is off to the publisher in August and will be released around Christmas. Meanwhile, it’s my pleasure to offer you a sneak preview.

Over the next few months you can read most of Harlem Meets Mayberry on this site free of charge. It will appear in serial form, one chapter at a time, at intervals of four to seven days.

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The Harlem that was, and is no more.

As you read HMM, I ask only that you read with the “eyes of your heart,” and that if your heart inclines you to share HMM with others, that you’ll share freely.

We begin with the back cover of the book, and next time we’ll enter the first “theater” of the war, a theater which is which is called, “Brace Yourself.” Again, thanks for having me back. As always, I welcome your feedback even if you think I’m off my rocker!

As the laws of the land push blacks and whites ever closer to economic equality, folks are finding that equality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Blacks are angry and scared. Whites are scared and angry. There’s a simmering disturbance in the force and, supposedly, it’s all the “other color’s” fault.

Fortunately, there’s good racial news: American Christians outnumber American whites and American blacks. The solution to our growing problem of racial dissonance—that pesky disturbance in the force—sounds very simple: All that’s needed is for whites and blacks who say they love Jesus to get serious about loving each other. Easier said than done, right?!

Enter “Harlem Meets Mayberry.” HMM is a battle plan for waging and winning the War on Racial Dissonance. Deadly serious yet lively and fun to read, HMM makes a compelling case that we are exiting the Age of Legislation and entering, like it or not, the Age of Persuasion.

Continue reading

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