Archive for March, 2013

l33t n3rd h8: Sports

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

I get it, when you were in high school, the jocks beat you up and mocked you, but let’s grow up and move on, nerds!

I am a nerd, though I played sports growing up. In fact, my high school experience involved both the football team and several musicals/plays. I guess I may not be a true nerd, in some sense, but I am enough of one that I can speak to nerds as a peer. And, as a peer, I implore you to stop with the hatred of all things sport related.

On social media, I cannot go a day without one of my nerd friends bashing sports and it’s especially bad during major sporting events: the Superbowl, March Madness, NBA Playoffs, NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, etc. With this in mind, due to March Madness, the hate level is high. Some is subtle, jabbing at how sports are not really THAT important. Some is less subtle, talking about how people play sports because they can’t do anything else, inferring stupidity or inferiority.

The intellectual elitism is obnoxious… and ironic, seeing as the following post is about how some video game series has the new edition coming out tomorrow and they’ll be camping out.

Lack of interest is fine. Being playfully elitist at times is fine (albeit, I know I push the envelope with my music elitism… I promise, I’m working on it… unless you listen to Nickelback), but at a certain point we all need to just grow up and move on.

Next time you want to rant about how sports suck, go back to playing your XBOX and shut it…

Respectfully Submitted,
A Fellow Nerd

Grace

Friday, March 29th, 2013

In this Easter season, this message is a pretty important one to remember folks…

Simple Tom

Living With Grace

 

 

 

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Lenten Fast: Soda and Energy Drinks

Friday, March 29th, 2013

For the first time I can remember, I gave something up for Lent. I did so for selfish reasons, not at all about spiritual discipline… but I did learn some discipline AND a thing or two about Lent. Here’s a short blog about the experience.

First, the why…

Why did I give up soda and energy drinks for Lent? The answer is Diet Coke. I have a Diet Coke addiction, which I supplemented pretty regularly with Monster Rehab and Sugar Free Vegas Fuel. I had no intention on cutting out all caffeine, but I knew I needed to focus my caffeine intake on healthier means, namely coffee and tea.

Second, how has it gone?

It’s gone well. I drank Diet Coke once, but it was on an allowable day (Sundays during the Lenten season are considered feast days, something I learned during this process). This is truly a success, because it was not on the temptations that I caved, but rather, I just felt like having one on a day where I was allowed, so I did. My willpower has remained strong, even on days where I REALLY CRAVED Diet Coke.

So, now, let’s look at where I go from here…

I fully intend to partake in a Diet Coke on Sunday, part of my celebration of Easter I guess. But, I don’t want to go back to the old habit, so I have decided that Diet Coke is reserved for the weekends and the energy drinks are as good as gone, outside of possibly for a long road trip or something similar.

And on the spiritual side of things…

I didn’t use this as an exercise in spiritual discipline, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything about my faith or my ability to be spiritually disciplined. If I can give up something that I was consuming in mass quantity daily, than just MAYBE I can apply that to my spiritual journey. Why can’t I use this discipline to focus on my devotional time, my time reading the Bible, and my time reading other works about faith and life? Guess the answer is in the question… right?

New Blog

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Ok, so for starters, I posted 3 old blogs just so I could see what the content looked like on this theme… I dig it. If you want to check out my other WordPress blog, it contains stuff from 5 or so of my old sites/blogs. I no longer have any type of pay site That said… here’s the deal.

This is my new blog. On this blog, I will be writing my thoughts about faith, life, society, pop culture, and all that jazz. I’ll probably review some music, too. I plan to review music on Rock On Philly and hopefully some other sites soon, too.

So… welcome to this, my 12th(ish) site/blog/whatever…

Hatred Sucks

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

(This originally posted a couple of months ago!)

I hate hate! If there is one thing that truly brings forth a feeling of rage in me, it’s hatred. Write that on the table, I’ll start this blog with some brief bios and histories so you can get the full picture.

To begin with, who is Lord Jamar?

Lord Jamar (born Lorenzo Dechalus, September 17, 1968 in New Rochelle, New York) is a emcee and actor. He is a member of the hip-hop group Brand Nubian, which formed in 1989. As an actor, he is best known for his role of Supreme Allah on the TV series Oz. He has appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Third Watch, and The Sopranos. He has also done production work for artists such as Dead Prez, Buckshot, Shaka Amazulu The 7th and Tom Browne. He released his debut solo album The 5% Album (an album dedicated to the Nation of Gods and Earths) on June 27, 2006. He also appeared in a much talked about episode of The (White) Rapper Show in which he criticized contestant John Brown for naming his company Ghetto Revival. Like his onscreen character on Oz, Jamar is a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths.

Jamar is a core member of Brand Nubians, a socially conscious trio of rappers that formed in 1989. Jamar is a Five Percenter, a complex offshoot of the Nation of Islam. To many, their doctrines would sound no more legitimate than Scientology, but the group has a decorated history and following, including many of the founding fathers of hip hop (Jamar included).

Another player in today’s story is Michael Muhammad Knight. If you are my friend, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that MMK is my favorite author right now. His exploration of his own faith (Islam) has inspire my exploration of mine (Christianity). In fact, his writing is part of the source material for a sermon I’ll be delivering later this month. MMK is certainly considered a heretic by many, if not most, of the Muslim world. He has embraced groups like the Five Percenters that the mainstream Muslim faith community has rejected.

As MMK is one of my favorite writers, I follow his VICE column and read earlier this week Michael Muhammad Knight’s take on Lord Jamar’s comments of Kanye’s kilt. I, honestly, knew nothing of Jamar’s comments or even Kayne’s kilt prior to reading this piece, but I spent some time on Jamar’s twitter and on Google to see what the story with Kanye’s kilt and Jamar’s comments were about…

It all started with this tweet… “Y’all Cee where the Kanye sh*t is taking us right? #halfafag.” This tweet Jamar has since explained doesn’t make him a homophobe. Brand Nubian has made homophobic jabs in lyrics before, but these Kanye attacks, including a new diss track that I don’t intend on listening to anytime soon, seem to be on another level.

I’m not an expert on the Five Percenters, but I do find their culture fascinating. Lord Jamar, as well as other Gods (what Five Percenters call themselves and each other), have been jumping at MMK for his piece saying that Jamar was well within his right and that “Gods don’t play that gay shit” (a direct quote). And, that’s bullshit.

I don’t care if it’s Westboro, orthodox Muslims, or these Five Percenters, blaming hate on your religion is bullshit. If your higher power is a bigot, then your higher power is full of shit. God is bigger than rules and walls that we try to build around Him. Jamar can indicate that he’s not a homophobe claim that his views on sexuality are the views of “true Gods” just like Jerry Falwell could say that 911 happened because God was exacting his wrath on the gays… any way you slice it, it’s called hate.

So in other words, grow up. In other words, God is bigger than the box you put Him in. In other words, Jamar is a bigot. Period.

The Bible Isn’t Perfect

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

This is not exactly a review, but more of a discussion. It originally appeared one of my old blogs, but with all of the discussion on marriage equality, some of what this book had to say may be especially applicable right now.

Timothy Beal’s The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book… Some people may not like what it has to say, but I found it enlightening, well-researched, and perhaps, life changing. Reading, understanding, and challenging ourselves by what Beal has to say in this book can lead to a maturing spirituality, one where faith is defined by possibilities rather than the walls of the Pharisees.

Strict black and white interpretations of scripture can be lacking, even dangerous. In the book, one such example of the dangers of taking a single scripture literally and forming one’s whole theology around it is the story of Aaron’s son Phineas. Phineas executes an Israeliste man and a Midianite woman. He is praised by God through Moses for eradicating the Midianite influence. Taken literally and out of context, a group called the Phineas Priesthood in America has used this story to justify taking violent means to discourage interracial relationships.

This is but one example of how people taking scripture too literally can be very dangerous, but there are many. An example in the spotlight right now is the defense of “traditional Biblical marriage” and how it is taking away the legal rights of many Americans… arguments that the “Bible is clear” about homosexuality fail to acknowledge contradictions, contexts, and other nuances. In fact, direct translations refer only to “laying with a man” and don’t address lesbianism at all. Of course, the verses used to point out how the “Bible is clear” are taken as the word of God, but the verses surrounding them which include other laws of cleanliness are not. The Bible simply is NOT clear on this, despite what the televangelists want to tell you. (Side note: Those who read my blog will note that my piece on the Chick-Fil-A debacle never appeared. I decided to forgo this piece right now, as my emotions on this are still high and the impending elections are causing more tensions than I care to deal with at the moment.)

These dangers are only a small part of the picture. What’s most important for Believers, like myself, is to understand the history of the Bible and understand that the treasured notion of Biblical inerrancy is a modern concept that has numerous flaws. Before I can explain what Beal is getting at with this, I should first define what Biblical inerrancy means. In short, it’s the belief that all scripture is right, correct, and totally free of error. In other words, it means that the Bible is perfect.

But the history of the Bible pokes many holes in this theory. How did the Bible come to be? I think many of us seem to think that there is an old book that scholars translate to our modern language, but that’s not even close to the truth. There is no such thing as an original copy and the old scrolls we have were already copied from copies of copies of copies. In fact, there are so many different sources, no one could ever pin them down.

The Bible does contradict itself. The Bible does have questionable content. The Bible was written by man. Does this devalue the Bible? No, not at all. But it should be taken into consideration when we read. Christianity thrived long before there was a Bible. Jesus’s love conquered sin and death without their being some book to tell us so. The Biblical writings are there to enhance, guide, and aid our faith, but they are not the literal word of God. In fact, Beal does a great job in explaining that this concept is only about 100 years old. Before it was never really considered that the Bible was the literal word of God.

Some will probably read my blog, discount Beal as a heretic or a liberal, and scoff. I urge you not to. I urge you to give this book a chance. If nothing else, it can help you understand why you believe what you do, as neither Beal nor I would urge you to take what he says are the Gospel truth without thinking about it and challenging it.

The late philosopher Jacques Derrida has a wonderful phrase; “impoverishment by univocality.” Meaning that when we try to make a text univocal, “one voiced,” of one voice with itself, we deprive it of its richness.

Please comment, challenge, and think. I welcome it all and so does Beal.

Allahu Akbar

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013