Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The Power in the Blood

You went on and came on OUT on them boys D!!

Came out??

You ain’t on the down low no mo’!! Now ERRBODY knows what you believe.

I guess they do. But I would rather have it that way, I’m not ashamed to confess that Jesus is Divine.

Do you ever think about how someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus would feel to hear that?

Yeah. I mean, I’ve had my doubts about the Christ before too, so I can fully understand that there’s a lot of readers who don’t believe. I have Muslim friends and Jewish friends who visit the site regularly, they’re not tripping because they know I respect them and what they believe.

But don’t Christians believe that anybody who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to hell?

That’s a pretty judgmental way to word it, but yeah, Christians believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light, no one comes to the Father except through Him.

That’s the part that’s going to turn people off. It’s like you’re damning people just because they weren’t raised to believe a certain religion.

Yeah, that was one of my main problems with Christianity too. But then when I picked up the Bible and actually read it…I had a whole new understanding.

What do you mean?

Well, if you look at the 3 major religions, Judaism-Islam-Christianity, they all trace back to the shared patriarch Abraham, who Muslims call Ibrahim. As much fighting and killing that is going on in the world between Jews and Muslims, the bare fact is that they’re both bloodlines of half-brothers.


Yeah..Abraham had Ishmael by an Egyptian servant named Hagar and this is where the Arab nation came from and the Jewish nation descended from Abraham’s son Isaac who he had with his wife Sarah.

Fighting siblings huh? So where do Christians fit in to this??

When you read throughout the Old Testament, you find that God has always promised a Savior that was going to be descendant of the bloodline of Abraham, the father of many nations. So when you read the genealogy of the Christ in the Gospels, Jesus’ family tree is recorded.

Yeah..but I thought Mary had a ‘virgin’ birth?? If Mary was a virgin, then Joseph’s blood wasn’t part of Jesus’!

True..but when you read it, it actually gives TWO genealogies, Joseph’s (Matthew 1:1-17) AND Mary’s (Luke 3:23-38) and they BOTH trace back to Abraham. So no matter HOW you look at it, the Messiah’s birthright is confirmed.

I guess that bloodline really means something huh?

I thought you knew??!! (smiling) There’s wonder working power in the blood mane…


Ever since I was a child, all of my family and friends would always remark on the resemblance I had with my father as well as my grandfather.

That boy got a head shaped just like his paw-paw!

You walk just like yo daddy!

Once I took a biology class, and we discussed genetics and how traits are passed along through bloodlines, I better understood exactly what it was that made me look, talk and act so much like my relatives. There are a lot of people that spend a lot of money time and energy with DNA testing trying to prove or disprove the parenting of a child. A lot of these folks should just gone and save their money, because you can just LOOK at the child and have no doubt who the daddy is. This familial resemblance has nothing to do with what you teach the child or how you raise them, these physical traits are all about genes and the power of the blood.

Blood is made up of 4 different components:

Plasma is a mixture of water, sugar, fat, protein, and potassium and calcium salts. It also contains many chemicals that help form blood the clots necessary to stop bleeding. More than 92% of plasma is water.Red blood cells contain a special protein called hemoglobin, which carries the oxygen we inhale with our lungs to all of the parts of our bodies. It then returns carbon dioxide from our body to our lungs so we can exhale it. Hemoglobin is also responsible for making red blood cells red.White blood cells are clear round cells that are bigger than red blood cells. White blood cells produce proteins called antibodies that help our bodies fight infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and foreign proteins.Platelets aren't really cells at all; they are just fragments of cells. When we are injured, platelets gather at the site of the injury and stick to the edges of the wound. They release chemicals that help start the process of blood clotting so that bleeding will stop.

The common system for blood types is known as the ABO system. There are four major blood types: A, B, AB, and O. Proteins called antigens on the surface of the red blood cells determine the blood types. There are two antigens, A and B. If you have the A antigen on the red blood cells, then you have type A blood. When B antigen is present, you have type B blood. When both A and B antigens are present, you have type AB blood. When neither are present, you have type O blood.

Each parent gives one blood gene type to the child. Type O is the passive type, so if a child gets an A from one parent and an O from another, they will have an A blood type. If a child gets a B from one parent and an O from another, then they will have a B blood type. Two O’s? You already know!

In addition to the ABO blood group system, there is an Rh blood group system. There are many Rh antigens that can be present on the surface of the red blood cells. The D antigen is the most common Rh antigen. If the D antigen is present, then that blood is Rh+. If the D antigen is missing, then the blood is Rh-. That’s where we get the classification of blood being positive (+) or negative (-)

The most common blood types in the United States are O+ (38% of the population) and A+ (34% of the population). The least common are AB- (1%) and B- (2%). There’s a lot of people who have illnesses such as leukemia, sickle cell, cancer to name a few, or have been in accidents such that they need blood. Donors with compatible blood types are able to save these people in need of blood. From soldiers fighting overseas, to the latest shootout or Friday night stabbing, hospitals are in constant need of blood from donors.

A brother named Dr. Charles Drew started the blood bank system that we have today. Charles Drew researched blood plasma and transfusions in New York City. It was during his work at Columbia University where he made his discoveries relating to the preservation of blood. By separating the liquid red blood cells from the near solid plasma and freezing the two separately, he found that blood could be preserved and reconstituted at a later date. Dr. Drew's system for the storing of blood plasma (blood bank) revolutionized the medical profession. His method was used to save thousands of soldier’s lives during WWII and it is still the staple of blood banking that we use today.

There are a lot of sick people in the world today and a lot of them depend on blood donated by others to survive. A lot of people never even think to donate blood because they’ve never been in a position where a family member or someone close to them needs blood. The simple fact is that it takes less than an ½ hour to donate a unit of blood. The process is 100% safe and sterile, there is no risk of contracting any disease or virus from donating blood. Some people (like myself) have needle issues, which may make them nervous or afraid, but the expertise of today’s blood bank employees can make the whole experience smooth and painless. Please remember that there are thousands of people in need of blood daily, especially those with rarer blood types. So if you’ve got 30 minutes to spare and you’re looking to do something good for society, stop by your local blood blank and serve them on up! You’ll feel glad that you did, because there’s definitely a wonder working power in the blood.

What's up to Ms. Pearl and all the wonderful staff at the Carter Bloodcare Center in Dallas!! :)

Basic requirements to donate blood are: Must be at least 17 years of age. Must weigh at least 110 lbs. Should have good general health. Bring a photo ID to donate and know your social security number

Tips on having a successful blood donation:
Eat a good meal before donating blood (1-6 hours before)

Drink plenty of water or other non-caffeinated beverages before donating blood


Monday, April 26, 2004

A Family of Faith

There’s a lot of people who have sent me wonderful comments concerning the Sunday School Lesson portion of the website. As much as I appreciate the love, it would be remiss of me to act as if I do it all by myself. My wife and I are both students in the Young Adult Sunday School class at Blueridge Baptist Church in Houston (Southside!), Rev. Ceola Curley, Jr. Pastor. This is the church that we both grew up in and have attended since our childhood and it’s also where we have our kids learning about the Lord. I must confess, my early childhood memories of church would have been mostly bad if it wasn’t for Sunday School. I enjoyed the conversational interaction of learning about God’s Word in a classroom much more than the ‘sit down, be quiet and listen while the preacher is preaching’ that you get from the congregational worship service. Blueridge Baptist Church is known for being a strong teaching church. From my first days in the Beginner’s class with Sis. A.White, through the primary boys class with Bro. Wallace and later Sis. Thompson and Sis. Jones, to the junior boys class with Bro. Nolan Jones, to the Seniors class with Sis. Green and Sis. Jones and currently the Young Adults class with Bro. and Sis. Washington, I have had always had a constant source of Bible fellowship and direction. My current Sunday School teachers have a special place in my heart, because not only are they my Sunday School teachers and fellow Believers in Jesus Christ, but they are also my parents.

As a child, going to church was not an option for my sister and I, we HAD to go. Some people feel that this is wrong, and that you shouldn’t force a religion on your children. But the Bible that my family abides by, says that we should train up our children in the way that they should go, so that when they grow old, they will not depart from it. My parents were also real firm advocates in administering that rod to disobedient children. I happened to be one of those EXTREMELY hard headed lil boys that was always doing MY thang. My father often tells people today that they usually had to ‘tighten me up’ with at least 3 whuppings a day, usually all before noon. For those that see ‘spankings’ and ‘whuppings’ as cruel punishment for children, you need to look at me. Because I know that if God didn’t give me the mother and father who laid down the law and put those belts and switches on my az like they did, I would be a LOT worse off than I am today. All kids don’t need to ‘catch whuppings’, some kids respond to reason and ‘time out’. But for those hard headed boys like myself? I NEEDED those whuppings just to make me pay attention. If I didn’t get them, I would have remained under my cloak of selfishness and ignorance.

My parents didn’t whup me just for being a child. Because kids will be kids. But whenever I crossed the line and did something that I KNEW I wasn’t supposed to be doing? That’s when they’d go get that belt and put something on my butt to make sure I remembered that I was doing wrong. Of all the lessons that my parents instilled in me and my older sister, they all traced back to the Bible and God’s laws for man. And one of the first laws that my parents demanded, was that children were to OBEY their parents. If my parents told me to do something, there was no room for discussion or debate, I just did it. I look at how a lot of kids today ignore their parents command or even go so far as to say, ‘No!’ and I’m amazed. Because if I even acted like I was ignoring or being disobedient to my parents command, either one of them would snatch my az up from wherever I was and put that ‘act right’ on me.

This discipline was not confined to our household. My parents were strong advocates in the whole ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ philosophy. Whenever they left me in the care of a relative or friend, they would always part with the same instructions…

If he doesn’t mind you, you need to whup him. And after you whup him, make sure you tell us what he did so that we can whup him too!!

My parents made sure that I didn’t have a way around the rules that they required. Kids are so easy to hasten to the path of least resistance and a united front of discipline is a necessity. From my parents to my grandmother and grandfather, to my Aunt Effie Jean, to my Aunt Marjorie, even to my bus driver Ms. Haynesworth, all the people that had charge over me to administer discipline. We’re at a day and age now where few communities engage in this consolidated discipline.

Don’t put your mf hands on MY child!!!

When kids know that they are protected from being disciplined, they’re going to take advantage of this ‘immunity’ to the fullest. I can’t tell anybody how to raise their children, but of all of my family and friends that are helping me raise MY kids today, they already know that I’m ‘old school’ and I’m a firm believer that if we spare the rod, we will definitely spoil the child.

I constantly thank God for giving me parents that loved me enough to make sure that I was taught what was right. Because for whuppings to be effective, they’ve got to be reinforced with hugs and love. Parents that go from the extremes of completely ignoring their children, to whupping them unmercifully are sometimes doing more harm than good. Because the thing that kids need most is love and guidance. They are little people who are trying to find their way in the world and parents are the natural teachers. So then the question comes, what religion are we supposed to teach them?

Some parents think that since all religion is ‘man-made’, that there is no discernment as to which one is right or wrong in the eyes of God. I acknowledge that we are at a point in history where there are so many religions, denominations and cults to join, that choosing a faith to worship God can seem a daunting task. What if you pick the wrong one and end up in hell?? I’ve faced these same questions myself, because although I was raised in a Baptist church simply because my parents were Baptist, who’s to say that that was right? How about Methodist? Or Catholic? 7th Day Adventist? Mormon?? Jehovah Witness? Non-denominational? How do you choose what to teach your children??

I believe the first thing a person needs to do, is to diligently study and learn about whatever it is the faith you claim is really professing. Are they abiding by the Bible? Do they have other books which are required for their faith?

Those who believe that the Bible is God’s Word, know that it is complete and sufficient for all of our needs. You don’t need a ‘chaser’ to go along with the Bible, it’s a full course meal. So once you start studying the Word of God, then you just have to get in where you fit in. and whenever a congregation or minister is doing something that is AGAINST the Word of God? That let’s you know right there that it’s not where you should be. This doesn’t mean that you should let PEOPLE deter you from your worship of God. Sometimes you might have to just spend time in a room by yourself studying the Bible and praying for understanding. The key point is that if you acknowledge that there IS a God and that the Bible is God’s Word, then you should rekindle your passion for God by acknowledging Him and applauding Him.

The easiest thing to do is to fool yourself, ‘Yeah, I believe in God, but religion is all man made, so I’m not going to ANY church. I’mma just chill at the house on the weekends.’ Praying only when you’re about to eat, ‘God is great, God is good…’ or going to bed, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep..’. This was the trap of indifference that I had fallen into for a large part of my adult life. I believed, but I did not pursue Him. I did not praise Him. I did not applaud Him. I did not worship Him. I did not serve Him. But once I started experiencing some of those trials in life that we all must go through, the pain became unbearable and I knew I had to bow down and acknowledge my Creator. Because it was during these dark and hard times, that all of the teachings that I had learned in Sunday School classes came back to me and I was strengthened. And once I made up my mind, to rekindle my passion for God, there was a marvelous thing that happened. I found an inward peace and joy that no one can ever take away from me. This peace had nothing to do with my job performance, or my credit rating or my stock portfolio. This peace had nothing to do with how well my wife and I were getting along, or how my kids were doing. The peace that I found is the gift of knowing that I have a Redeemer.

The simple fact is that everybody has 3 parts that comprises our being. Our body, our soul and our spirit. A lot of us exercise and work out regularly, eat healthy and do the things we need to do to say in good shape. That’s taking care of the body, which is a good thing. A lot of us also go out and do charitable things for those in need. Volunteering our time and/or resources for those who are without. That is the part that is reflective of our heart and soul and that’s a good thing to. But too often people completely ignore or refrain from strengthening the spiritual portion of their being. They seldom pray or read the Bible or seek to grow stronger in their relationship with God. In essence, they are spiritually dead. They know that it’s there, but they refuse to address their spiritual needs. Instead they lock that spirit in a back closet and completely ignore it as they go about the ‘important’ things in life.

I understand that everyone wasn’t raised in a circle of strong Christian believers like I was. I understand that everyone doesn’t have parents who are Sunday School teachers or uncles who are ministers and pastors, or aunt’s who sing in the choir and serve on the usher board. We all arrived to this point on our own different paths. The key is that we’re all here, right now, and everyone has the opportunity to rekindle their passion in God and diligently seek His will. Parents have an even greater responsibility because we have to teach our children right from wrong. If you don’t have a religion, or canon that will guide you along the path, then you’re wandering aimlessly. If you feel lost and you don’t know where to turn because you just can’t trust any MAN, then you just need to get down on your knees and seek guidance from the Lord in your prayers. All you have to do is seek Him and you’ll find Him. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that you ‘believe’, when really all you want to do is whateva YOU want to do. That was the pit I had fallen in, and that’s why I love the Lord so much, because He heard my cry and delivered me.

With Him, I have peace, I have joy, I have love and I have hope. Without Him, I had NONE of those things. When it’s all said and done and it’s my time to go before the Eternal Judge, and I’ve got my lawyer Jesus Christ representing me, I just want to hear Him say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Fingerwaves II

Fingerwaves II - April 21, 2004

Mane..I read that on the DL with Oprah, and now I’ve got my eyes bugged out looking at every n'ga crazy, trying to figure out if they’re punkin on the cool or not. I got sisters and nieces too!!

Yeah..I know what you mean. But as I was writing it, I realized that the problem is a lot bigger than homosexual men in denial, it’s REALLY about anybody who is out there doing thangs they know they’re not supposed to be doing.

That’s true. But it still is messed up that women get the raw end of the stick on THAT one.

Hey, it’s women out there on the DL too, don’t sleep.

So what are you going to follow up that DL stuff with?

I’ve been working on a couple of things, but I think I’m gonna roll Fingerwaves II out there next and see what it do.

Fingerwaves II?? What about Fingerwaves I??

You didn’t read it? I posted it back when I was on blogspot this past summer.

Naww, I must’ve missed that one, what was it about, the barbershop or something??

Naw, it was about prostate exams.

Prostate exams?? You mean that ol ‘bend over, finger in the butt’??


(smiling) You’re a crazy n’ga mane!!


First you put that punk sh’t out there, now you’re going to slide some rectal exams into the mix?? That's kinda 'out there' mane!!

It is?? Really?? Hmm..well, I just figured that a lot of straight guys would have a homophobic reaction to the whole DL thing like I did. Hopefully Fingerwaves II will remind them about getting their prostate checked regularly and give a lot of men a better understanding of how their body works.

Better understand their bodies?? What the hell does THAT mean??

There's a lot of guys who are so homophobic and retentive, that they refuse to believe that a 'straight' man can be physically stimulated by invasive anal procedures.
Holeup now D!!!?? "Invasive anal stimulation'?? That sounds GAY to me!!!

Have you ever seen that movie Road Trip? it a gay movie??

No, it’s about these college guys in New York that have to make a road trip all the way to Texas. Well, in one of their escapades, they have to stop off at a sperm donor clinic to earn money.

Okay, that sounds non-gay…..

One of the dudes was a real smart az, and he told the attending nurse, who was this cute blonde, that he was going to need some help with ‘stimulation’. She took him into a room and made him bend over and she proceeded to milk his prostate.

Wait..what do you mean, ‘milk’ his prostate??

She massaged his prostate with her fingers and it caused him to orgasm and ejaculate. she gave him a hand job??

No..she manually milks his prostate.

Huh?? Milks?? Like a cow?? I don’t get it.

Well after you read Fingerwaves II, you will…

Soon after I published the original Fingerwaves on, I received a lot of feedback from men, stating that they could ‘feel me’. African-American men have a 60% higher incidence rate and more than double the mortality rate than our white counterparts for prostate cancer. While diet and lifestyle are certainly functions of this disparity, the overwhelming medical consensus is that black men are less likely to have their prostate checked on a regular basis. Beyond the standard disparities in medical healthcare that black men live with, the underlying engine which fuels the high incidence rates in black men, is their unwillingness to get checked. There are a LOT of men who feel extremely uncomfortable and degraded by having to go through a DRE (digital rectal exam). Whether it’s a form of homophobia or just anal-phobia, most black men aren’t trying to go there…

Un-uhhh…nawww podna, my az says ‘Exit Only’ Ain’t NOBODY sticking NOTHING up my behind!!

I would have been the first one in that anal-phobic line leading the charge, but after I read and learned how prostate cancer is one of the leading killers of black men in America and that I had male relatives who suffered from this form of cancer, I knew that I had to get past my anal hang-ups and make sure I’m tested regularly. The good thing about having hang-ups, is that once you share them with others, there’s somewhat of a support group that forms with people with the same or similar hang-ups. I was at my parent’s house visiting with my father a few weeks after I posted Fingerwaves and one of my cousins was over there too. Since my father and I enjoy a close relationship with each other, our conversation often gets a bit more real than a lot of people are ready for…

You know Dad, it seems there’s a LOT of men who have a reluctance to go get that fingerwave.

I can imagine. I already told my doctor he had to take it easy on me, cuz it’s hard for me to pass gas sometimes. I sure didn’t want that finger!! (laughing)

Well, fortunately I only need to get checked every 5 years until I’m 40, then since I’m in a high risk group (black + family history of prostate cancer), I’m supposed to get it checked once a year.

Did they give you a towel when they checked yours?

A towel??

Yeah..sometimes they’ll give you a towel or something if they’re going to milk your prostate.

All the while that my father and I were talking, my cousin was sitting in the room silently, but after my dad dropped that ‘milking’ bomb, he could be silent no longer.

Hold UP Uncle David!!! What do you mean by ‘milking’??

Your urethra is like a tube that runs through your prostate gland. And when a male ejaculates, the prostate gland is what mixes the seminal fluid with the sperm from the testicles. So when you get your prostate checked and they manually massage it, a common reaction is ejaculation.

My cousin sat there with his mouth open looking dumbfounded. I had already read about this physical phenomena, so I wasn’t tripping. Finally, my cousin went ahead and came all the way clean with what was bothering him…

Mann, I had to get my prostate checked and obviously the doctor ‘milked’ mine too. But he didn’t give me a towel or tell me anything about that, so after it happened, I went home and stared into space for a couple of days.

I couldn’t help it, I had to bust out laughing..

Stared into space??? You couldn’t figure out what was going on huh??? (laughing)

Man, all I knew was that a man had put his finger in my behind and I ejaculated. I knew I wasn’t gay, but I just couldn’t figure that one out.

My father and I both were almost on the floor rolling laughing. My cousin didn’t care that we were laughing either, he was just relieved to hear that there was a physiological reason why his body had responded the way it did. I’m sure most men’s reluctance for anal exams has a large part to do with homophobia. Going ‘anal’ is something reserved for homosexuals, it’s not something that straight men are supposed to get satisfaction from, right?

Upon closer inspection of the male body, the physical fact is that the rectum offers the easiest access to the prostate gland. And once this gland is manually massaged, it will be ‘jump started’ so to speak, into doing what it does, and that’s secreting seminal fluid. It wasn’t too long after that that I was talking to one of my golf podnas and he had a story even wilder than that…

Yo D. Earllll!! What’s up n’ga!!

Heyy Hawk-daddy, what it do baby??

Mann, that Fingerwaves was off the chain!! You had me ROLLING laughing with that one.

Oh yeah?

I got one even better than that for ya..

Aiight, go ahead and run it to me.

My dad had to go in and get his checked not too long ago. So before he went, the first thing he did was go through the medical directory and pick out a doctor. The first thing he did was find a doctor with an Asian name.


Yeah..he figured that they would have the smallest fingers!! (laughing)

Oh!! (laughing) That’s pretty smart.

Holdup, I ain’t told you all of it yet, so he goes to the exam and he tells the doctor to ‘be gentle’ with him. So he’s lying on the table on his side and the doctor inserts his finger and starts checking him out.

Milked him down huh?

N’ the time it was over and the doctor told him he could wipe up and get dressed, my dad said he wanted to turn around a KISS the man!! (laughing)

Of course, only men that are confident in their sexuality can laugh and joke about sensitive matters such as these. Raging homophobes or men who are still a bit confused about their sexual preference (usually one and the same) are reluctant to go there. The reality is that prostate cancer is still one of the leading causes of death for black men and unless a stronger effort is made for awareness and medical detection, these numbers will steadily increase and black men will continue to die at disproportionate levels. If detected early, the long-term prognosis for prostate cancer survival is at a all time high and steadily rising. But the truth is that doctors and medicine won’t be able to do a thing for you if you don’t go in and get it CHECKED! Don’t be might even happen upon a nice Asian doctor, you never know!! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2004

The Reason for My Hope

There is a void created when a loved one passes. It’s like the tearing away a part of flesh unexpectantly and the rest of the body has to find a way to go on despite the pain and trauma inflicted. After that initial wave of pain that hits, and the shock and disbelief start wearing away, then the pain of the wound starts to resonate. All of those past memories of episodes and journeys shared with this departed soul are recollected. Then the dull thud of knowing you will never be able to hug, laugh, talk, muse, plan, and enjoy this person again kicks in.

The first time I ever experienced this void, was when my great-grandmother, Grandma Bessie, passed away in 1983, not too long after her 2nd stroke. Bessie Hall was a beautiful dark skinned woman. My recollection of her was with thick and pretty hair that she normally wore pinned up in a bun. But those evenings when she’d sit in her chair and let her hair down and comb it out was a glorious sight to behold. Even when her hair turned predominately platinum, it was still beautiful to me. She was the color of brown that looks like a melted Hershey bar whenever she sweats. She wasn’t a talkative woman, but when she DID talk, she commanded attention and respect. We all knew, grands, great-grands, nieces, and nephews alike, when Bessie Hall tells a child to do something, you DO it, or else face the consequences.

It was this Grandma Bessie that first taught us reverence for the Almighty God. Because those warm Arkansas summers, when those thunder and storm clouds rolled in, caused our world to stop. Because whenever the skies turned gray and the rain came falling down, we had to cease and desist all things, which might be construed as not respecting God’s voice. Which was manifested in the thunder and crackling lightening that we could hear in the background. Just like my sister and my other cousins, I knew to straighten my act up when Grandma Bessie spoke…

Ya’ll hursh now!! (she’d say in a low stern voice) God is talking!

We had already turned off all of the lights, as well as the television, no radio, all we could do was sit in the dark and be still and look at each other. God was talking, we had to be quiet and listen to what He was saying. I always gave an honest attempt to decipher what God was saying through all of the thunder and lightening. All I could ever make out was…the sounds of thunder and lightening. But the presence of God definitely imposed itself on my countenance. If God was talking, He must be talking to someone else right then, hopefully he’d let me know when He was speaking directly to me.

Grandma Bessie was a proud and strong black woman, whose favorite TV shows were Gunsmoke and Perry Mason. I still remember how her hugs felt, and how she’d always have the happiest smile on her face whenever we arrived to see her. Of course, the last physical memory I have of Grandma Bessie was of her lying still in a casket with her eyes closed. But the body that I saw lying in the casket when it was the ‘family’s’ time to view the body, was not the same woman that I knew. This person they had in the casket looked pastey and cold. Nothing like my warm and colorful Grandma Bessie. Someway, some how, they had made a mistake. This couldn’t be the lady that I knew. But as we made our way back to the those front pews designated for the family, I happened to notice that there were a lot of people in the church crying. I even happened to glance over to my father, and I saw him dabbing his red and rimming eyes with a handkerchief. I had seen my grandmother and my mother cry many times. Usually in church when they got happy. But this was a new one on me. I was 12 years old, and this was the first time I ever saw my father cry. Since he was so much my model for strength and what a MAN should be, I was a bit taken aback. Because I had already felt those tears stinging the back of my eyeballs, as well as the low whimpers that can escape from the back of your throat if you don’t muffle them out or choke them back down. But somehow I had detached myself from the situation and I refused to cry. But seeing my father cry, made me realize that we all have to cry sometimes.

As for that body in the casket, it WAS Grandma Bessie’s earthly body. Full of embalming fluid and mortuary makeup, but yes, that was Grandma Bessie’s shell lying in that casket. But my grandmother taught us that we’re not supposed to cry at funerals, because people who have Jesus as their Lord and Savior know that absent from the body, means present with the Lord. Once they take that last breath, they are in a better place than we are here on earth. T

here are a lot of Christian principles and beliefs that were taught to me as a child, that have been challenged by non-Christians as an adult. I have friends who don’t believe in God. I have friends who believe in God, but they think Jesus is a completely fictitious person. Still, there’s others who believe in God, believe in the teachings of the ‘prophet’ or ‘rabbi’ Jesus, but they don’t believe that He is the Son of God. Some think the crucifixion was a hoax that had one of the disciples on the cross instead of Jesus. Some even think that Jesus’ body wasn’t actually resurrected, but rather the disciples came and stole His body from the tomb at night and told everybody that He had ascended.

It’s a wide range of theologies and religions out there ya’ll. And there are some extremely well read and literate people who will bring out volumes of works and papers and treatise denying the deity of the Christ. Of all the things about Christianity that are debated amongst all the different factions and denominations within Christianity, the pillar of Christianity is that Jesus Christ arose on the 1st day after Passover. The standard 7-day workweek was originally patterned after God’s week of creation. God worked 6 days and on that 7th day, He rested. No one can deny, not even Christians, that Saturday is the 7th and last day of the week. Even the Spanish name for Saturday, Sabado, is indicative of this being the Sabbath day.

The morning after the Sabbath was when Jesus’ mother Mary and Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb to check on His body. Once they arrived at the tomb, an angel of the Lord appeared and told them that Jesus had already broke out, the Savior had risen. The angel even moved the rock out of the way so that they could check themselves. Once they looked inside and saw that Jesus wasn’t there, they grew very happy and excited. It’s ON again!! So this was the first Easter Sunday, and this is why Christians observe their Sabbath on Sundays instead of Saturdays.

You have to realize, this was a very difficult time for followers of Jesus in Israel. They had already crucified that ‘radical’ Jew who was talking all of this crazy, ‘peace and love’ talk. Even all the disciples had to go into hiding from public view, because they knew they were subject to persecution also. But these ladies who came and checked up on Jesus were the first ones to lay eyes on the risen Savior. People may claim, ‘How do you know they just didn’t SAY that??’ But of all the things about the gospels, especially since this was a time in history when women weren’t even allowed to testify in court, this was one of the things that stuck out the most to me when I had doubts. Because if there was a lie or a fraud to be perpetrated to the world about Jesus being resurrected, they definitely would have chosen some men to be the first to see Jesus and spread this 'lie' of Jesus rising. Therein lies the crux of Christianity and all of our hope. For if the tomb wasn’t empty, and Jesus’ body was still there, we would have no Rock to lean our faith on. Of all the smirks of naiveté that atheist’s intellectuals give me, I always try to see why they’re hating so much on Jesus? Do they think they’re immune to needing a Savior? Do they think they can go through this life and the next by themselves? Do they have a problem with peace, love and forgiveness?

Of all the reasons they try and hate on Jesus, they can’t knock His Word. And just like God promised, His word shall NEVER return void. It sticks baby, time and time again. They can’t burn it, they can’t bury it and they can’t fade it, cuz it’s all the way real. Of course the problem comes in when people ‘twerk’ it and change it up a ‘little bit’, maybe in translation, most often in interpretation. But God gave us a roadmap for these ‘twerkers’ and false prophets too. Jesus told us that we can tell the false prophets by the fruit that they bear. Look at what it do, and you’ll be able to see if it’s real or not. There’s a lot of ‘Christian’s’ that’s faking and shaking. Saying one thing and doing something completely different. The truth is, since Christ is risen, we ALL have access to Him, all we have to do is confess with our mouth and believe in our heart and we shall be saved. Saved from that cold grave and delivered to our Father’s house, wherein there are many mansions. Some people are too staid and ‘sensible’ to give their all to something that they can’t touch or see.

"I can’t put myself out there like that podna. No telling how them white boys have changed up the Bible to say what they want it to say. Even Hitler used the Bible in some of his speeches, I need something for the brother man, and Christianity is for them white folks!"

Ya’ll are tripping. You’re letting your distrust in a race of people obstruct your judgment and belief in God. There is NOTHING in the Bible that speaks of a blonde haired blue eyed Jesus. But even if it did, it REALLY wouldn’t matter in the big picture. What DOES matter, is that you believe in the sinful nature of man and that we all need a mediator to go before God. Jesus is that Wonderful Counselor, that Prince of Peace who will go before God for us, as our Mediator. Letting God know that He already paid for our sins: Let him in Father, he’s rolling with Us, I’ve already paid his way in.

Some see Christianity as the ‘cop out’ religion. That perfect blanket that covers and wipes away all our transgressions. They see ‘Christians’ running out and doing their dirt, then running right back under the shield of Christianity until the heat dies down. We all must repent and be accountable for each and every one of our sins. Paul even speaks of those ‘slick’ Christians who think they can sin at will, and still be saved because they say they believe in Jesus. It doesn’t work like that podna, God forbids.

Once you have faith, then you must pay the cost of discipleship. You must walk that walk, each and every day. Your life is no longer about you, but rather worshiping and serving the Almighty God. There is no man or entity to fear on earth, because the worst they can do is take your life. But if you have Jesus on your team, He has the keys to Eternal Life and it will only a matter of time before all of the saints who were persecuted in the name of Jesus, they get to rise up first. Yeah mane…people will be rising up out of their slumber..once that Rapture gets here, it’s on again baby. There will be no more tears, but our Lord will be back down as a roaring Lion, and this time we won’t have to turn the other cheek.

Of course this is part of my vengeful nature that I must pray to God about constantly, because I know I have it. If a n’ga hits me in the jaw, I’d have a hard time turning my other one to him, because I’m from the Southside and I know how that goes. If a n’ga hits you in the jaw on the Southside and you turn the other cheek, he’s going to hit you in that one too. But once you’re ready to stand up and take some blows for His sake, all the while using the word of God as your only offensive mechanism, you become the ultimate warrior. Onward Christian soldiers, marching on to war. And despite all of the arks and holy grails that men seek, none of this would mean a thing if Jesus hadn’t rose up from the tomb.

Happy Easter Sunday to all of you. Please remember that the Easter bunny, Easter eggs and candy don’t have a damn thing to do with Easter. Easter is all about the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, let out a yell of joy, the tomb is empty ya’ll. There is hope for us all.