Sunday, November 30, 2008

An Argument For Black Spiritual Marriage

The state of relationships in America is bad enough, but in Black America, it's a train wreak. The Congressional Black Caucus produced statements that alluded to the numbers of African-American divorces being on par with the general population (about 50 per cent divorce rate) ... but the alarming co-statistic was that only about 75 per cent of blacks are even getting married in the first place. So, what's keeping so many black folks single?

While the stressors may be many, "the cure" seems to be all point back to issues of ethics, morality, and spirituality. In his book, "Blessings Of The Flesh, Sins Of The Spirit," esteemed theologian Matthew Fox correlates the Seven Major Chakras of the East with the Seven Deadly Sins of the West. Old news for spiritual seekers, right? Yes and no.

Lust simply isn't sufficient to carry an adult, mature relationship very far. Yet, within Black American cultures, the over-emphasis on sex and sexuality continues to be an over-value commodity. People still think sex alone will bring them happiness. While sex is an important piece to the human experience, determining what to do with that most sacred parts of our anatomies is best mapped out by centuries of spiritual exploration. (Notice my continued reference to the word, "Spiritual" rather than the word, "Religious.")

In their paper, "An Exploration of Factors Related to the Decline in Black Marriages," W. E. Harris, Jr. and Kelly D. Bradley assert:

When Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, married couples headed more than 70% of all black families. In 2002, the number had declined to 48% (Kinnon, 2003). One of the factors influencing the decline in Black marriage rates has been the rising rate of incarceration among Black men at all educational levels over the past 30 years (Kiecolt & Fossett).

It's odd, but when most people begin having in their relationships with others, they often first seek out the help of a therapist or a psychologist. But all of modern psychology sits on top of old world theology that it doesn't want to recognize. So why look to a watered-down set of instructions rather than seek out an experience in all it's fullness, it's majesty and its "AWE"?

The answers to that question are many. From, it's easier to take drugs to attempt to simulate a spiritual experience, to the willful decision to not be disappointed by one of the mainstream religions all too many have lost faith in. But spirituality involves our personal spirit along with whatever cosmology one finds faith in ... from Yoga, to Buddhist Mediation, to Greek Orthodox Meditation, Catholic Comptemplative Prayer, and on to religious metaphysical practices like the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah. Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra enjoys using phrases like:

"We are literally made of start dust. Carbon. The process of photosynthesis nurtures us--is a part of us. We are essentially the eyes of The Universe in co-creation with God."

This is similar to fingerprints at the tip of each person's hand. We all have them, but each is different. Religion helps teach us the beginning practices that lead to spiritual experiences. But to be a Spiritual Warrior, one has to be willing to relinquish fear, and to relax in faith, surrendering every pre-conceived idea of what God the Spirit is. That can means work. But the work that we were born for. This fellow Space Travelers, is a of the journey too good to miss. May I leave you with this?

Anything you put in front of God, will either eat you—or you'll eventually lose it.

Meaning? In this alienated, pornographic age, we essentially have to even learn how to physically love our wives and husbands. To make an alter out of the body of another means creating yet one more "false god" in our life. One more demon.

Opening to spirituality means opening to a higher, deeper, richer experience in life than people who cling to crutches like alcohol, drugs, porn, and the delusions of power will ever achieve. We really are "spiritual beings have a human experience." Life is really amazing.

May you sincerely, be happy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Post-Obama: Still Addicted to Negativity?

I left the room after hearing his first press conference, and breath an unconscious sigh of relief. For the first time in 30 years, I did not feel like my government was persecuting me. ("Phweeeph"!)

So it's been a little over a month, and there is still a lightness in the air. The California Bay Area hasn't felt this good since the 70's. Yet, already, the bloggers, writers, and media reporters are re-hitching up their little wagons to stars of hatred, fear and resentment.

It's like half the population is addicted to being the victim. Literally ... addicted. In his book, "People of The Lie," Dr. M. Scott Peck speaks to the fundamentals of "Evil."

I guess I'm alarmed at how quickly people can go from elation, hope, and joy ... to returning to the slop of their "Lazy Thinking" ... blaming others instead of getting to work on creating the society ... the culture ... and the individual lives we most want to experience.

It's been easy to point fingers at all the many sources of evil that has came at us these past 30 years. OK ... longer ... but there's been breaks... and it's during these "breaks" that the greatest change can occur. The 60s was a wonderful break. That decade gave us Dr. Martin Luther King, an end to institutionalized Jim Crow, and privileges like the right to vote. And now, as President-elect Obama prepares to enter the White House, we all stand, at a threshold of another unique time in history where great change can happen ... if we only become aware of how the trauma of racism has become a habit in our thinking.

"Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. The evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Spiritual growth requires the acknowledgment of one's own need to grow. If we cannot make that acknowledgment, we have no option except to attempt to eradicate the evidence of our imperfection. Strangely enough, evil people are often destructive because they are attempting to destroy evil. The problem is that they misplace the locus of the evil. Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness within themselves."

I suppose what I'm challenging everyone ... blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, et al ... is to begin ... quickly... to think about what each of us as individuals can bring to the table to make this a better place to live. Stop looking at the faults of others for a minute, and begin thinking about what they need. More, what do I need to be fully happy, healthy, joyous and free ... and what am I doing to stop that from becoming reality in my life? That is the work and the great opportunity of this moment.

Here are some quotes by Dr. Peck ... food for thought...

Books by Dr. M. Scott Peck

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"The 100 best places to raise a family" Huh??

I just read the latest atrocious list put out by MSN's "Best Places To Live." The subtitle reads:

"Find out which American cities are the best, worst for you and your brood"

"Television executives seized the idea long ago: American families value where they plant their roots. The Cosbys had Brooklyn. The Cunninghams, Milwaukee. The Simpsons, Springfield. But fathers face reality when they're not in prime time. They want to raise their children somewhere safe, where they can attend good schools with favorable student-teacher ratios, above-average test scores and respectable budgets. Plenty of museums, parks and pediatricians also contribute to a good quality of life, whereas multihour commutes, expensive houses and divorcing friends and neighbors do not. Best Life editors used these categories and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, the FBI, the American Association of Museums, the National Center for Health Statistics and the American Bar Association to evaluate 257 cities. Here are the best — and worst — places to raise a family."

Well ... I they may have input some data into somebody's laptop over lunch, but they certainly didn't take race or class into the equation.

5. San Diego, California
Yes, San Diego is a lovely place, IF you have the cash to live in one of it's better neighborhoods.

7. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Has anyone BEEN to Minneapolis lately? Another over-crowded city with all the problems of any large urban center ... and it's COLD. But my biggest gripe with this choice is ... well ... it's Minnesota. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin have cultures that drip with passive-aggression. They are the hands-down worst "lookie-loo" drivers in the country. They love to take their boredom and anger with them when they leave the house.

10. Santa Rosa, California
Gangs, drugs and classism.

11. Wichita, Kansas
One of the best jokes on the list. How did they miss all the crack/meth and alcohol abuse in Wichita??

12. Los Angeles, California
I cannot figure this one out. L.A. is Porn Nation's Headquarters. Gangs, crime and random violence ... THIS is a greater place to raise a child than (Number 50) Fairfield, California?? Hmmm ... I guess it would be if you had several million dollars in the bank...

If any of you have any better suggestions about good places to raise working and middle class black children, PLEASE send in YOUR list.

What We Believe:

"Every problem is an opportunity in work clothes."
~Henry J. Kaiser