September 26, 2011

Rainbow to 2012

First off, let me admit that I am up way to late! Yes I should have been sleep hours ago. But instead I am up surfing through Blogger looking at the different ways that people have designed their page to add a flavor of uniqueness to their page.  It would seem that every idea that I have come across would require my revisiting my html code skills.

I took a class in undergrad in computer programming, but it was not my strong suit at all. Back then, computer screens were dark, off black, and the letters were a horrible shade of green. That was it. That was as far as the technology had reached when I was learning computer programming. And I had absolutely no plans of perfecting this skill because I didnt see where it was going to be very entertaining to my imagination. If only I had know how far the technology would advance.

As I sat thinking about the concept of a 'Rainbow Tea'.... and pondered what spiritual insight could be gain from this form of fellowship, I began to think about where it could be found in the bible. What I did come across was the memory of the most popular childhood bible story about Noah and the Ark.  There was a rainbow in the bible.

The Noahic Covenant is the promise that God is not going to destroy everything on earth by a flood of water. We do still have some flooding, but not the entire earth. It is absolutely amazing to me, when I think about the fact that the pressure of the water in the ocean is holding the water back from the land. That is not a very scientific explanation, and sorry that I cant communicate it any better than that. But let me say it this way, the deeper you go into the ocean there is more pressure, that pressure is pulling things to the bottom. The items that actually make it so deep into the ocean will eventually shrink from the pressure. If that pressure were not holding the layers of the ocean in place the land would be covered with water.

Ok, so fast forward beyond basic Sunday School lessons of Noah and the Flood, and my sad regurgitation of Earth Science to the apocalyptic mis-interpretation of the Mayan Calendar.

First let me make clear my personal theology is always grounded in the biblical text. But I am always looking to understand other reading based on how I understand the bible. This means that I am open to reading various writings, but look for how those writings  agree with or contradict the bible.

Secondly, the Mayan calendar is interesting for several reasons related to science, agriculture, and humanity on many levels. The best way to simplify it would be to say this is the Meso-American version of a Farmer's Almanac. I really dont know enough about the mythology that accompanies this series of works to speak well on the subject. There is a lot going on in the way they figured out their system. It includes the human gestation period of 40 weeks, and various other elements that create this understanding of the world and how it cycles.

I have always been fascinated with Teotihuacan and hope to actually go there and see the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. After all building a structure that when the sun is moving through the sky makes shadow that appears to be that of a moving 'feathered serpent'. I mean, seriously, who thought up that architectural design?  When you look at it, it just looks like a large staircase. We are not talking about a small building here, we are talking about a place where almost 100,00 people could live inside the walls around this compound. Anyway, the connection some make with cosmological myths is how you get to the apocalyptic connection. The logic being from 'beginning to end' for some might be more about quantum physics than actually anything related to theology.

The point that I am making here, is that the story of Noah and the Ark is much easier to rationalize and explain than the details of the Mayan mythology. You cant be a surface reader or thinker and even begin to explore the this Mayan concept of 2012. It frustrates me to hear people talking about it as if they have read it, but they are not very knowledgeable about Meso-American culture or any of the various 'pyramids' around the world.

What I can say is that from the 'almanac' stance, the earth is shifting itself. So many natural events are taking place in the last few years, I mean a series of storms producing tornadoes that ravaged a large chunk of the U.S. this past summer is just one of the things that comes to mind, and now there seems to be earthquakes happening in different locations...Reading Mark 13, these days gives some perspective to those of us who look to the biblical text for insight and understanding. . I dont think the world is coming to an end in 2012, the truth is that I cant call it, but I think the Earth is getting prepared for something........... only GOD knows.

"It's Gonna Rain" Andrae Crouch

September 3, 2011

Humanization: Part 1 ( Inter-racial Relationships)

About a decade ago, when I was in seminary, a dear professor stated to the class that the best understanding of inter-racial relationships could be found in the Disney movie, "Beauty and the Beast". As I listened, I understood what he was saying, but now, a decade later, I get it. I now realize that I wasn't fully able to grasp the concept. I saw it no deeper than the socialization aspect. But now I get the impressions of the psyche that are manifested in the concept that was being presented.

What caused my further understanding has been a reflective re-reading of "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire.  Amazingly this book dissects some basic experiences in terms of their affect on the psychological thought process of a person. So by taking the concepts presented in this book and framing my understanding of why inter-racial relationships are important for so many in this day and age. I get it.

As a 'free spirit' who does not look kindly on attempts to further oppress me, I now understand all the more the reasons why I have never been that interested in inter-racial dating as a choice for myself. I guess I could slightly correct that statement, depending on what you consider inter-racial, since I have dated persons other than African American. Anyone who knows me personally will affirm that I am truly my own person.  That is not to say that I have not had my own battles with being oppressed because I have, and on so many levels. But at this point in my life, I am enjoying the freedom to embrace who I am, both internally and externally. And in some ways, I realize that I am still working to define my own humanity in this world that sets limitations on individuals not only on the basis of race, but also based on gender.

Ok, so since my point here is not to write about myself, I must return to my topic. According to Freire, oppression is grounded in dehumanization. Seeing one's self as less than human is the ground work that must take place for all parties involved to agree to the situation of being oppressed. With that in mind, upon looking at the stereotypes that people of the African diaspora live with on a daily basis, it only makes sense that some would seek to be viewed on a higher level of humanity.

After all, most of the times when we leave a relationship behind, it is about the denial of one's own humanity. When you begin to realize that one is being treated in a dehumanizing way, that is when one begins to look for the exit door to the situation. I would further argue, that those who remain in dehumanizing situations do so because they are not able to fully embrace or affirm their own humanity. This is also the same reason that an individual who treats a person of a different race better than they would consider  someone of their own race as deserving to be treated. Somewhere in their mind, they realize the need to elevate their own sense of humanity, but at the same time, they are still willing to deny another person the same need to be appreciated beyond the status of sub-human.

When I was younger, I would always hear people talk about the people, back then it was mostly men, who chose to date outside of their race, as attempting to 'to socially upgrade'.  But at this point in my life, I would argue that it is an attempt to be viewed as one who has done more than evolved, but who has faced the challenges of the psyche to embrace one's own humanity. It is the refusal to be seen as anything less than human. It is the denial to accept the oppressive forces of being dehumanized. It is the internal self awareness to see one's self as deserving all that is humanly possible in life and love.

So, you might ask, is inter-racial dating necessary for all of that? No, but for some people, it is the manifestation of their internal awareness that they need to be view as fully human with all of the life and breath that comes from living as one who is free to exist instead of one who has to ask the world to pardon their being in the world. It is un-apologetic about the right to have the life and companionship of a fellow HUMAN-being regardless of the outer skin. It is so much more than just the meshing of cultural differences, it is about the embracing of all that it means to live and love and to do so regardless of race or ethnic background.

Those who oppose inter-racial relationships do so because they see one of the races involved as less deserving of what the other race has to offer. And they protest the infiltration into their own race for fear that it will dehumanize by association. It is the struggle to continue to oppression of others by way of feeling oppressed in one's own being.

Lastly, I would argue, that when one fully becomes aware of who they are attracted to and why, then it will never be a struggle to embrace one's own humanity, and therefore the individual can be free to love based on the connections of the human spirit and not just because of the outward skin.

Relationships are about embracing the humanity of each other with mutual respect and admiration. Relationships are about BEING  human together and to each other. Love is about acceptance- as is- but with the growing potential to become better together.  When your ambitions within the relationship fully manifest the humanity of the other person, then both individuals can find the freedom to love. And love definitely transcends race, creed or national origin.