Monday, August 8, 2011

An Open Letter to African American Boys

I often wonder if you are aware of the potential that lies within you. Do you not know that you have the ability to achieve anything with the help of God?

I often wonder if you intentionally ignore the wisdom and advice of your elders to express your individuality and independence. However, you do not consider the reason why we tell you what we tell you so that your individuality is not shaped by hardship, calamity and disappointment.

Can’t you see the signs of the times? Do you not see how the past is quickly creeping back into the present and ultimately the future? Ok! You don’t know your history or you think our history is just that, in the past.

Listen young men, “Whatever you do not learn from the past of your people, you will have to learn it personally in your present or future.”

Son, why do you emulate the negative aspects of the culture? If indeed you are seeking to be an individual, then why do you copy the dress codes and mannerisms of celebrities whom you do not know? Be who God made you to be. Be smart. Be dedicated. Be respectful. Be a visionary. Be a young man of God.

My young brothers, when will the sexual escapades cease? Don’t take the advice of your uncle Bubba, who has never had a successful marriage or relationship. Instead emulate positive black men who are taking care of their families and who respect their wives.

My young brothers, your manhood is not measured by the number of young ladies that you sleep with. Don’t you know you are spreading yourself all over the community and indirectly sleeping with every person that the young lady has slept with? Follow the teachings that your grandma, auntie, or mama taught you. They taught you to love God more than your sexual drive.

Young brothers, can we reason about education? You do know that the powers thereof build prisons based on the low reading levels of black boys in grades four and five?

Learn young brothers learn. Learn and excel. You can do anything through Christ that strengthens you. You are not weak because you are smart. You are weak when you are smart and pretend to be dumb. Be the individual God has created you to be.

Finally, my young black brothers, I know you do not want anyone telling you what to do, but it is foolish to ignore wisdom. Do this for me young brother. Read this letter again, digest it, follow it and then pass it on to a friend. Give this letter to brothers you know and care about.


A Concerned African American Man

Racism is a Heart Issue

The stench of racism is still poignant. In fact, it may be nearing the levels of intensity experienced during the 60’s. I know about racism as a native of Tuskegee & Montgomery, Alabama. The cradle of southern racism. One would think that we have made progress, but the ugly head of racism continues to diminish any ground gained.

I can remember last month, as my wife and I were taking our boys on a trip from the east coast to the west coast. Our plane stopped in Houston, TX. As we were sitting in the airport, a little white boy began to say out loud,”Look, there is a brown family. That brown family is dirty. They are monsters.” I told my wife and boys to gather their things so that we could move to another section of the airport and I overheard the boy’s father tell his wife to stop trying to correct the little boy because it was not a big deal. Well, I knew it was time to address the whole situation. So I said to the boy’s father,” I would suggest that you teach your child not to say such horrible things about people. I would never allow my children to disrespect anyone because of their race.” He replied,”He’s only a child!” In response, I told him, “Apparently he is old enough to understand how to describe people as dirty and monsters, he should be old enough to learn that what he said was wrong.”

This father then tried to apologetically appease me by telling me he was not a racist; after all he has a mixed family, etc, etc, etc… At that point, I walked off and explained to my boys that the little boy was disrespectful and his father was wrong for not correcting him. I told my boys, regardless of what people call you, you have to be confident in who you are and address the issue with the wisdom of God.

That day was one of the best training tools I have had to show my boys that this world has some people that are mean and nasty, but God has endowed them with the fortitude to overcome every attack against them because of their race, religious beliefs and anything else.

I said all of this to say, racism is a learned, nurtured and intentional way of thinking. Regardless of who it is, if their heart is filled with hate and disdain for a person or a people simply because of their race, they will never change until their hearts change. What is unfortunate as demonstrated through my experience in the Houston Airport is there is a new generation of children who are being taught this same destructive way of thinking.

Their teachers are politicians who disrespect President Obama by saying, “you lie”. Their teachers are news commentators that refer to the President as boy. Their teachers are congressmen who call the president “tar baby”. Their teachers are political movements who display our president’s face in the depiction of a monkey. Their teachers are their families, friends, pastors, etc… who see their propensity towards racism but overlook it or say nothing.

This is a true statement and I believe it with all of my heart, until the hearts of those who hate people because of their race change, racism will be here for a long time.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Making a lasting IMPACT on men can create a sustaining movement of men prepared and equipped for effective ministry. There is an epidemic that continues to plague churches all over the country; men are falling into sexual sin and almost inactive in ministry. In addition, statics say, that over 50% of pastors are addicted to pornography. Why? We have pacified men with sporting events, dinners and feel good seminars. As a result, men have perfected talking to one another on the surface all the while walking as a dead man in the spirit. This is counterproductive to the male psyche, which looks for challenge and an opportunity to conquer. Therefore the best topics to minister to men are those that challenge them to do as God said in 1 Peter 1:16, “Be ye holy as I am holy.”

Men have to be challenged and impacted by specific characteristics. Those characteristics can be found in the very letters of the word IMPACT.

Integrity: Teach men the importance of walking in righteousness even when no one is looking. It is during the times of temptation he has to hold himself accountable and chose integrity rather than compromise. Integrity is feed by a strong desire to consistently please God regardless of the situation.

Maturity: Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spoke as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Men have to be challenged to move forward in their development of Christ and spiritual disciplines, responsibility to family, associates and ministry. A man’s development in these areas are key indicators of maturity.

Purity: The need to walk in total purity must be taught throughout the development of a man from boyhood to adulthood. Men who walk in purity have to have a mission to intervene in the lives of men of all ages and challenge them to guard their hearts and minds from the spirit of perversion. Purity requires us to know how men function when it comes to sexuality and how to guard our eyes and heart with all diligence. Men are stimulated sexually by touch and sight. Therefore, men have to be taught how to monitor what they watch on television, the internet and how to relate with females without entering into compromising situations.

Accountability: Men who feel that they are held accountable by their brother tend to maintain integrity better than a brother who is a loner. We are our brothers’ keeper and overseer as we journey through this very tempting world. To hold a brother accountable means, I will tell you the truth about you even when you are wrong. This may be hard and difficult, but it will preserve the soul of our brothers.

Character: Who are you as a man? Are you punctual, thorough, honest, can people count of you? These and so many more attributes defines a man’s character. Character is a man’s profile sheet. It is the letter that the Apostle Paul says is read by all men. We have to be sure that the letter our lives present is commensurate with our proclamation to be men of God.

Trustworthiness: Do you tell the truth or do you flatter people with your words that have no works to support them? Men are big on trust. If a brother does not trust his friend, he will only relate to him on the surface. Again, just sports talk and the weather. However, if a brother knows that his friend is trustworthy, he will open up to him about some of his most frightening experiences. For those brothers who have brothers who trust you, never break their trust. This could break the spirit of the man and leave him wounded as prey for the enemy. Let’s walk in truth even when it hurts.

This is a season of healing and ministering to men who have been wounded and injured by the enemy. Some may have been self-inflicted wounds and others a direct attack by the enemy. Regardless of the source of the wound, men can still make an IMPACT in their own lives and the lives of the next generation of men.