The Answer: Why do Black People Tend to Think Whites Are Racist Or Hateful Toward Blacks?

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First things first, the goal in answering is NOT to bring about anyone’s emotion. This isn’t about morality therefore in this discussion it doesn’t matter if anyone thinks a particular treatment is tragic or justified. A psychologist or economist limits their emotion and opinion in their analyses. Yes, they consider it in their notes. But in order for them to see more clearly and objectively they leave as much out as possible. Too much emotion may cloud and control our reasoning, as C.S. Lewis once framed it. So this “answer” is not about justification of riots, protests, cop killing, slavery, buying candy, or talking back to parents.

How am I somewhat objective and qualified?

If you follow me on social media you may notice that I have never talked about race issues. This is because (1) I’d rather write about Jesus; (2) honestly, I’ve grown to feel ashamed and embarrassed that I am black (something that applies to this topic but may be elaborated on in a future post) and (3) it always seemed pointless coming from me. That is, people would think I’m biased because I am black. I would NOT get upset at that either. I can’t really blame others for that natural reaction. If a Boston resident tries to tell me how great Tom Brady is…I’m naturally going to be skeptical because of course that guy loves Brady and The Patriots. However, I am opening up now because I realize much of the stuff I know isn’t known by many whites and what I can say isn’t being articulated by many blacks.

In today’s world, many people on both sides are not good with listening and being OBJECTIVE. In my experience black people get too emotional inside their bubble that they can’t have an objective discussion with white people. There has grown an innate level of distrust. Many whites, whether they care or not, have a hard time as well because they have natural blinders and historical privileges that prevent them from seeing objective as well. There is nothing inherently wrong with either side in their reasons because it’s not really a conscious effort. It’s naturally subconscious. For the past 50 years, most of this is due to the economic and sociological effects of our society.

What do I mean by sociological and economic effects? I’ll explain. This answer will be in 5 different phases: Micro, Macro, Familiarity of Stereotypes, Indifference, and Dr. King’s Frustration.

We’ve got to do a little ground work before we start though:

My professional career is in community and economic development. This is the process and policies by which a nation, state, county or city improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people. So what my company does is try to bring companies, large and small, to our state. Jobs, capital investment, and revenue are the goal. And darnit we will sell this state the best we can. With statistics, innovation, and persuasion, and more.

Various KEY factors come into play, such as transportation, quality of life, location, money, branding, etc. If you look it up, you’ll see that your own city and county has its own economic development department, chamber of commerce, and other affiliates that are focused on this initiative together. Economic development directly affects the current generation AND the generations long after it. 

Ok now, do we understand that? If so, we can move on.

1. The Micro

Now let’s begin to answer the question of why many black people see whites as responsible AND what is the reason of how much of the black community is where it is today.

We’ve got to go to history of course.

Set race aside and just view it in an Economic development lens. Let’s go back to Tulsa – however, not 2016, but 1921. There was an area in Tulsa that was booming! It was a black community. It was rare because of course the odds weren’t in their favor but they just luckily rolled a 7 with the dice multiple times. As one of the most successful and wealthiest black communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, it was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” until the Tulsa race riot of 1921. They had black lawyers, doctors, teachers, black-owners, entertainment, oil, etc. (Now again, ignore the race factor for now…it doesn’t matter for this analysis piece). Then one night the outside white people grew too jealous, came in and killed many of the successful people and burned down their businesses and streets. It was horrific. They even punished the few white people around for not doing it sooner.

Then the white political and business leaders proactively prevented that community from reconstruction or picking themselves up. This wasn’t hard because due to rights back then black people didn’t have much of that ability anyways.

So think economic development: They are SCREWED for about the next 100 YEARS. For the next 60 years those blacks won’t know about diving into the community and economic development process. How could they? Their schools are IMMEDIATELY affected. Their job structure is shattered. Their families destroyed. They are currently crippled as a society. Not only that but also their kids’, kids’, kids’ are also now crippled. It becomes a generational snowball effect due to that initial occurrence and the laws established for years to come. There was no hope for them and it becomes too hard to thrive. Therefore, poverty in Tulsa. Therefore, violence because that’s all you have and know due to having to survive from being poor and having no good education or possibly/knowledge of escaping. (Although, poverty doesn’t correlate to violence). What happened doesn’t just end in a year…..it resonates within the fabric of a society for years to come in the form of both emotional distress AND economic instability (incorporating education, companies, businesses, families, crime, etc).

In my job, bringing in 1 company positively affects that entire community – their family benefit, the nearby retail and restaurants benefits, the schools benefit, tourism boosts, more companies follow suit, and more. This occurs positively for the next generations in that area as well. Black Wall Street had the opposite case. And it was not a single company. It was ALL of it.

That is  an objective analysis of cause and effect. Again, it doesn’t matter if what happened was bad or good in this analysis. FYI, this happened in other places as well. We must understand this “momentum effect” in this micro example in order to understand the answer in its fullness.

2. The Macro

To keep low with word-count I’m going to bypass the macro. It has similar cadence to the micro piece but without the violence and is, of course, on a larger scale. Please ask me in person or on Facebook if you want that piece as well.

3. Familiarity Of Stereotypes

I grew up around Blacks and Hispanics, but over the past 10 years of my life at least 95% of my friends and acquaintances are white. So it is extremely hard for me to stereotype people in either group because I have lived life with so many different types and I know their souls and hearts. The way society is laid out (because of white flight, economic structure, convenience, and family history) black people have been left to live amongst one another. So those black people naturally HAVE to CATEGORIZE all whites into the same group. That is how a human brain works.  This doesn’t happen to me because I have lived among others.

White people can easily get categorized by what is seen on television, social media, oImage result for racismr in stories told by the older generations. For example, I’m sure none of us know any native Cambodians personally because we don’t live around them. So we naturally group Cambodians into one category of people. Now we know people in Cambodia are all different with various opinions, personalities, languages, and subcultures. However, in our minds we have tendencies to group them together don’t we?

4. Indifference

The disbelief from much of the black community that a shooting or possible wrong-doing
will gather positive help from the white community is from past years of “neglect” from that side and their current state of “emotionlessness”. That continual reaction from many white people makes it hard for many black people to listen/trust simply one white person with good intentions, when numerous other whites have failed that quota.
Let me explain.

If my mom had cancer and a stranger had cancer I’d show much more sympathy for my mother than the stranger. I naturally have a different level of connectivity and value for my mom.

One group continues to uniformly state “we should wait for the facts after these shootings before doing anything”. I agree, in theory. In a perfect world we should always wait and diagnose a situation. However, this isn’t a perfect world. Those same people flip-flop depending on what the crime is and who did the crime.

There is no objectivity in our reactions. We all react different and with different poise depending on what it is. The less subjective empathy I have, the more ability I have to refrain and diagnose the situation and wait for the facts. But when it’s my mom or a friend it becomes tough to control.

For the bomber “suspect” at the Boston Marathon – we wanted his head immediately. With a man “accused” of child molestation we want to give him the death penalty once he’s caught. When a college athlete is “accused” of rape we want him immediately kicked off the team before the trial begins. All the while, many in the black people continually watch a black person killed (justifiably or not) and those same people show unwavering objectivity and poise the entire time. That shows a different level of respect and love.

Black people see the immediate reaction of emotionlessness and interpret it as white people not caring.

In Romans 1 we see that God’s indifference is a very scary form of wrath; different from violence. Hate is NOT just someone spitting on another person. Hate isn’t only the KKK hanging someone. Hate can also be passive. Even Satan knows that. Indifference OVER TIME can be interpreted as unloving and hatred. That’s what happens psychologically in the minds of a people. So we can’t blame them that much, can we?

5. When Dr. King was Frustrated

MLK Jr. led protests in a manner that would “shame” those who were discriminating. People like to say his method was non-violence. Not really –  his method was shame and he used nonviolence to achieve it. His tactic was that if he could have people feel ashamed for how they thought and acted, it’ll force them to change. Read his writings.

What’s interesting is that in his later years when King went to Chicago, he tried his same tactics but the white people beating them didn’t feel ashamed at all. It was different from the South. And it scared MLK. When a people aren’t aware enough to have the ability or respect to feel shame toward the treatment of someone else, then that is when something is off. Which begs the question of what the next step would be.

One friend I debated correctly claimed that ‘King’s tactic did work in the South though, because it was more saturated with Christians’. If that is true then it still proves my point: We, as a nation, are less Christian today. Therefore, King’s tactics of shame won’t work as effectively here anymore. That said, our nation is more like Chicago in that King was scared because it was seemingly and hopelessly in a state of chaotic reasoning that shocked him. It left Martin Luther King afraid and scrabbling for a new tactic. That’s where many in the black society would say we have been growing in subconsciously [through the eyes of blacks and whites]. Even in the past 50 years, before social media.

As scripture says, in the last days nations will turn their backs from Christ. America is doing that. Hence my friend’s point flows into this – shame isn’t working here anymore. hat’s why there are frustrated protests (good or bad) and riots (good or bad). That’s the only next step people can think of on the fly. We all have the same natural tendencies when trapped into a corner for so long.

In conclusion, we cannot just look at “today’s” knee jerk reaction of the black community. We must look holistically. This is similar to chaos theory. It’s ALL connected. This isn’t about black on black crime BUT black on black crime is a subset of the results of history. It’s not about Charlotte. Charlotte can be 99% wrong…but it doesn’t matter. The deep damage was already done.

This isn’t out of the blue. It’s a past 300-400 years thing. It’s a 1920s and 1980s thing. Look at old Richard Pryor or Dave Chappelle stand-up and old low budget black films from the 1970s-1990s. They are screaming and crying about the same killings. And no one cared. Listen to R&B songs from that time period. They were constantly crying about it and asking for help and America turned it’s head. They didn’t have Facebook Live to make it public. I’m not making this stuff up. So little by little day by day that people group grew to a particular view of white people. Skepticism. Distrust.

The solution is another story, but when a black person tells a white person they don’t understand or aren’t qualified – They are really saying that you don’t know how they got there and why. Therefore they are not truly known and loved. But if the black person knows that the white person objectively knows this stuff and still wants to love on them…..goodness gracious the effect that will have.

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Dating: 3 Reasons Why Women CAN Make the First Move

Well well well, here we are again – Dating. In the comments section of an older blog post, a woman recently asked me the infamous question: “Is It Alright For A Girl To Ask Out A Guy?”  It’s an age old question that has become increasingly popular alongside the rise of women in 21st Century America. Women are surpassing men in education and excelling in the workplace, financially, gender equity, and leadership. These cultural changes bring rise to variations of this dating question.

As a man, I prefer to make the first move AND ask out the woman. As a cocky, hopeless romantic … it thrills me to do so. That is just me.

To avoid “personal preferences” or “semantics” as much as possible – instead of addressing the topic of women directly “asking out” men – I will address why it may be alright for the woman to make the “first move” or upfront “initiate interest” in the man.

While conventional wisdom has us generally believing it is ideal for a man to make that first move,  we still should ask [on any matter] what type of investigation was previously done for us to come to such a conclusion.

Does it make sense?

Is there a line? Has that line changed?

Are we robotically following a rule because it is all we’ve ever known?

Was the notion modeled during an historical/traditional outdated set up of society/culture during a particular time period?

I mean, historically, how could a woman ask a man out without herself having a job, money, education, or any status of power?

Here are 3 reasons why it may be alright for a girl to make the first move:
  1. Just Because You Make The First Move Does Not Mean He Cannot Lead

There has been this notion that if a woman initiates first, it subtracts from the man’s opportunity of leadership. However, does this reasoning add up? After you tell him you are interested, it can still be the man’s job to agree and maybe pick out the date spot. It can still be the man’s job to pick you up on time, grab your coat, and pay for the date. It can still be the man’s job to guide, protect and cultivate the woman for the duration of the relationship.

Over time, as you define the relationship, you can make clear to him in what you’re looking for in a man as a leader. Tell him what you expect EARLY on. If he continually doesn’t meet that criteria then stop and move on.

Dating with marriage in mind is important, regardless of who makes the first move. We all know relationships where the man asked out first, but turned out to be a sub-par leader to the woman. This must mean that the first move has no direct correlation to the man’s leadership ability or leadership potential.

  1. The Romantic Challenge Versus The Proactive Challenger Fairy-tale

There is a difference between actively pursuing someone and initially engaging someone. The former is over an extended time period while the latter is at a particular time. With both phrases, the person on the receiving end is the “challenge”. It is said that in the initial stage of a relationship, the lady needs to wait patiently and be the challenge sought out by a man rather than being the challenger.

To actively pursue someone takes time and effort in cultivating. Biblically it should be done by the man, with the woman hopefully being receptive to that man’s servitude toward her. This is correct and does not change. Conversely, to initially engage someone is to show that there is simply interest in that person.

Disney movies taught us that it is romantic for the woman to always be the challenge for a man to find and love. Any seasoned married couple would say that Life teaches a very different story. The true challenge of is in Month 2 of dating after you’ve ran out of small talk. The true challenge is loving one another through the numerous faults and weaknesses. The true challenge is liking one another after the euphoria of physical attraction wears off. The true challenge is loving one another after your children appear and your sex life becomes a part-time job.

Doing life together is the true challenge. The true challenge is where the solid, sustaining love is found. That is what matters most. Disney leaves that part out. A relationship should be looked at more holistically, not just the first 2 minutes of, “Hey, I’m interested in you”.

So the woman does not lose her title of the Romantic Challenge just by making the first move. She possibly gains a  lifetime of true love.

3. Relationships Are About You Too

Maybe the woman has a Type A personality and the man has Type B. The social sciences domain have written many articles on men becoming increasingly more passive. Waiting for the passive guy, the oblivious guy, or the Type B guy could take a long while. For Type A women, it seems like eternity. What’s the worst that can happen if you tell him you are interested? You’ll stop over-analyzing and finally get answers, that is what. Some guys say they wouldn’t mind if you did so anyways. 

The situation plays a factor as well. Are you already friends? Is he your sidekick?  Are you strangers? Can you or a friend to invite him to a group event? How much of a “nudge” is needed for the guy to get the hint? It is a case by case basis.

It is natural to like a guy. You aren’t wrong for wanting to ask him out. Whatever you do, be confident not clingy. Be assertive not aggressive. Read the signs: Is he shy, does he remember the details of what you say, does he keep momentum going? In the end, God will provide in His timing no matter what we do or how foolish we do it. Waiting isn’t a bad thing at all, and sometimes that first nudge wouldn’t hurt either.

Donald Trump, Political Correctness, and the Sexiest Woman

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Do you feel that? The emotional anticipation in your bones as you are wondering how something positive could be said about silly ol’ Donald Trump. Impossible, right? Or could it be that a figure as polarizing as he causes your emotion to have a presuppositions on one side or the other?

This was the case when I commented on a friend’s Facebook post a compliment of how Donald Trump may “inadvertently” bring something positive to our country, in terms of political correctness. The feedback from others was quick disregard of anything I brought up. They jumped the gun to assume I was a die-hard Trump supporter of hatred, when that simply is not the case. Just because I say that one musical group has a particular virtue doesn’t mean that they are my favorite. Neither does it mean that there are not many other artists out there who are better.

Their reaction is understandable – so is much of our nation’s reaction to Trump and with any topic or person so polarizing. Just bring up abortion and watch people’s head explode.

But for a second, can we dive deeper? We have to go deeper than Donald Trump and the other candidates. Deeper than the election. Past our feels and past our self. Not that those are bad things, bu to take a second and reflect on whether there may be trend happening that we are a little too blind to see at the moment?

Three points:

1.What is the New Age of Political Correctness?

One may suggest that if I were to say some of what Donald Trump says in my own workplace, I’d be fired. That is correct. Although, that is not the issue; the issue is that I can say something far less controversial at work and still get fired in Today’s society. A celebrity almost can’t almost anything on Instagram or Twitter without getting verbally attacked by millions of people. Most stand up comedians now avoid performing at college campuses because the college students boo them at the first offensive joke

Political correctness at its core has good merit, but we are increasingly abusing it to the point of chaos. Our society has turned the action of “political correcting” from a transitive verb into an intransitive verb. That is, it should be applied to a direct object, but in Today’s world it doesn’t need an object anymore. Political Correctness is now a means to an end – You start with the end that you want, and then you work it backwards to fit what you want inside. It is a person without a set principle. As the 1800’s government reformer Samuel Smiles said,  “A man without principles and will is like a ship without compass; it changes direction with every change of mind.”  

This new age political correctness is like a powerful, untamed snake. Who can comfortably live around snakes?

 

2. Why is the new age political correctness dangerous?

If being politically correct has changed to an intransitive verb AND we’re working a means to an end…then any goal that we’re working towards is no longer an actual goal we’re trying to attain because there is no standard since the standard is always changing. Progression is effective only unless it eventually finishes on some known objectivity which it is destined for. Otherwise we are left with an open-ended path that leads people into a bottomless pit of insane, never-ending bickering.

Lets put it this way: Historically, successful societies would base their standards toward what they saw as perfection. Whether it be God, gods, a king, a famous warrior, a hierarchical  governmental system, or some other large historical figure – a morally perfect being or system. They had an end goal to march toward and this kept their sanity intact. Today, the perfect being is bodiless because it has no standard behind it anymore. His every purpose in life is purposeless. Therefore, our guide that we’re marching toward is empty.

When a man secretly adores a picture in the Sexiest Woman Alive magazine, he subconsciously seeks for his wife to look similar to that standard. The man who dislikes his wife for not looking like ANY woman, would be considered foolish and even asexual. Our nation’s thinking is not asexual, but it could be leading to infinite irrationality.

Our desire for growth and improvement may be deceiving us in a way. Our desire for altruism slowly turns into a subconscious desire of egoism. In that, we are wanting everyone to satisfy something at one end and then contradicting ourselves in another end:

The extreme feminist claims that she should be treated just like every man, then she expects for a man to pay for her dinner on the first date.

The atheist and scientific materialist claims that the Bible is false because the Holy Trinity does not make sense, but then they claim to adore the unseeable astrophysics theory of event horizons and black holes.

One ethnic group claims that police are unfairly killing their innocent, then they turn their
head as people in their own ethic group kill one another.

Another ethnic group claims not to be racist, then actively moves far away to areas where they are the only ethnic group around.

As Chesterton famously said, “In an author’s book about politics, he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book about ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men.”

Not having an end standard could lead to a society of never-ending contradictions. Madness. Insanity. People in an insane asylum swear that someone is out to get them, though they have no proof to back it up.

 

3. Is  Donald Trump inadvertently good for America’s future?

The ongoing reaction of Trump highlights our increased emotional sensitivity as a nation. Maybe if elected he could miraculously swing the pendulum of political correctness back toward the middle. Wishful thinking, huh? haha.

He is in NO way our nation’s savior. Neither is any other candidate. Trump has said some foolish, horrible things. There is never going to be a candidate, democrat nor republican, who can save us. Everyone can agree that Trump’s style and credentials, or lack there of,  could make him the riskiest presidential choice of all time. However, there are two sides to a risk.


At the same time, lets be honest with ourselves and admit the climate our nation is in right now and not ignore the depth of
SOME of what he’s saying. Lets not let our feelings cloud reasoning and create biases that could potentially hold back our thinking. Let’s investigate what he is saying and truly see if it is plausible or not.

contradictionWe already have uber low attention spans (especially millennials) and limited knowledge of what is going on around us. In today’s world, we are becoming more and more limited in objectivity.  Additionally, most of us are not aware of the geopolitical ramifications of what been going on in the world the past 20, 50, 100 years. Who can say they know about the root of the Syrian conflict going back to 1916? Who claims understanding of the complexities of ethnic, cultural, religious, linguistic and economic realities all over the world and how they tie back into our life? We are very limited in scope and knowledge.

There is only one Savior we can cling to who actually comes through for us. He, my lovely friends, is Jesus. The perfect standard.

 

What If My Nephew Was Sex Trafficked?

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Hate, Anger, and Helplessness…

would be my three predominant thoughts if my little nephew was taken from my family and put into the bondages of the sex trafficking world. A criminal prostitution enterprise that is prevalent throughout the world, holding 25 million people as slaves and earning $32 billion per year. Here in Atlanta we’re among one of the hubs. If my nephew were to be abducted, I can accurately envision how my life would ensue afterwards:

The world around me would feel as if it were in flames. Not a day would pass where I had not spent time searching for him. I would go from hotel to hotel and constantly search Craigslist for explicit listings as if I were a potential customer myself – hoping to find something that could potentially lead to my nephew. It would be disheartening to see how most people are unaware of what is going on right under their noses. On our streets. In our society.

My time spent with family and friends would gradually diminish. My family would remind me too much of my nephew so I would avoid them altogether. My friends would irritate me, as their continual attempts of consolation would fail to physically help bring my nephew back any sooner. My friends would only slow me down from my mission of finding him.

My mornings would be spent in silence in order to effectively plan where I’d go searching during my lunch break at work. There would be no more lunch with co-workers or going to the gym after work. Every single second of my day would have a predetermined purpose. My work productivity would decline. Matter of fact, I’d eventually have disdain for my male co-workers. Statistically, the most sex trafficking customers are middle and upper class males. The average victim receives 40-50 customers a night. I would reason, or what we call to be reason in this world, that statistically anyone around me could be my nephew’s customer.

There will be glimpses of hope though: some nights I will dream of him being saved and returning to our family. Yet, to the contrary, the majority of my nightly dreams would be of men on top of him. Electrocuting and cutting him whenever he disobeyed. Forcing him to perform hard labor during the day. I would wake up in sweat and tears many nights. Other nights I’d be too afraid to shut my eyes for the fear of what would be envisioned next. Nightmares would become a kind of ritual.

6389490_orig.jpegDuring the day I’d again dream of him returning. Then I would realize that could welcome other heaps of trouble. My loving nephew who loves playing the drums, wishes The Ninja Turtles were a real, and thought the movie Inside Out was simply “ok” at best…. would never be mentally nor emotionally the same kid again. His youthful vitality and zeal will be shattered by the evils of this world. He may likely have depression, guilt, shame, HIV/AIDS, sleeping disorders, PTSD, etc.

 

If my nephew were taken my spiritual faith could go either direction. Sure I may push in closer to God, rely fully in Him and sing hymns all day. However, if I’m honest, that would be extremely difficult. Most of my time I would likely go the opposite way (I am reminded of a dear friend who wrote a blog post a few years back of her mom being literally days away from dying of cancer. She was emotionally broken but her faith and thankfulness in God was somehow strong. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I want that strength, but I would be going completely insane if I were in her shoes.”) It would be very tough to focus on the goodness of God. At the same time, my prayer life would sky-rocket because I would understand how limited I am and the miraculous power God has in saving my nephew. 

If I were given the chance to be face to face with my nephews capturers, would I kill them? I honestly do not know. But physical harm and unforgiveness would be on my mind for sure. That is what makes Jesus dying on the cross so much more crazy. If Jesus is real – if Jesus did die on the cross – and He is real and, yes, he did die and resurrect this means that God watched as we beat His son senseless, cut him bloodied, and massacred his body continually as if He were a piece of trash. Those tears and blood were for us because we needed Jesus to die for the forgiveness of our sins. He”undeservingly” did so because He loves us; especially the children. Jesus also loves the child molesters and desperately wants them to truly follow Him as well. That is grace.

That type of love is supernatural and beyond my comprehension. I guess that is why He is God and I’m just an uncle. That said, if you do not think there are millions among millions of people being sexually abused everyday and sold then you are tremendously mistaken. What are we going to do about this monumental problem?

Hey, everything is alright though. My nephew is fine. Haha, forget about the other 25 million women, children, and men involved in human trafficking. I will sleep well tonight. So will you, right?

Again, seriously, what are we going to do about this?

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HALLOWEEN: Joel Osteen RETURNS

There I was, lazily sitting on my parent’s comfy sofa in their Atlanta home a few weeks ago. I was watching old NBA highlights on YouTube when, unexpectedly, my father’s brother walks in through the front door. My cool uncle. After greetings, he led our conversation through such topics as life, dating, and then he somehow switched to Joel Osteen. I was shocked! Apparently, he had read a blog post I wrote over a year ago on Osteen’s teaching and my uncle has had a few reservations since then.

Though my uncle does not fully agree with Joel Osteen’s ministry, he wanted me to understand that his teaching is not wrong because still does large amounts of good and gives purposeful drive in people’s lives. I then brought up many of the points that I wrote in my past blog post, here.

We continued on until he asked a certain question that I was unable to give a solid answer to at the time. That question is what I will now address: He asked me… how do I know that what I am saying IS correct and what Joel Osteen is saying is NOT correct?

Now there are two ways to hear his question. He was not “entirely” asking me to biblically show him proof for which preference gives a governing, correct version of God’s message – though that is possible and has been done numerous times before. His question is for the breakdown of a fundamental rule(s) of how a particular person can come to know that whatever he or she believes – within a particular society, system, doctrine or group – governs over a different belief, within the same context.

Well, to my handsomely cool uncle, the answer involves four aspects: facts, intuition, reasoning, and authority.

When you take what you believe and find that (1) the facts are clear and undisputed, (2) your basic intuition is undoubtedly intuition, (3) your reasoning which connects this intuition with the particular belief is strong, and (4) you are in agreement with humanly or divine authority; then there is a good chance that you are correct and you can trust in your warm blanket of thought. The more that each of these 4 factors is not met, the more you can conclude that your belief is probably wrong.

(There is much to say on this topic, but it will be greatly shortened for a low word-count, ha. Neither is this only limited to Osteen’s teaching)

As to the Facts. It is agreed among everyone that happiness, wealth, and health are beautiful gifts. Lets say that the prosperity gospel is true. If this is so, then overseas missionaries should be getting the best treatment from God. If belief in God were numerical then no one would have earned more points than a martyred missionary. But the fact that they are killed for their faith to begin with goes directly against the promise of prosperity teaching. That argument/teaching collapses. The same goes with most people in the Bible. Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man alive. A few verses later we see John The Baptist being beheaded. It seems that any prosperity preaching is more so a rhetorical account of someone who is already in a prosperous position … likely a pastor. Therefore this teaching isn’t based on fact because it is barely an observable opinion.

As to Intuition.  Intuition would be the ability for our mind to perceive self-evident truth. If A equals B, then anytime you have A then you should have B as well. If being a Christian and fully trusting God to give you prosperity works, then it should always work. Since most Christians, historically and today, die without ever having prosperity then it seems that prosperity and Christianity do not go hand in hand. Such an opinion is highly improbable of being true.

As to Reasoning.  Proving the prosperity gospel is a means to an end. In order to give the teaching a firm and sustaining foundation its reasoning must always work backwards. You must start with the end that you want, and then you work it backwards to fit the Bible in. So you work in a few things Jesus said; but only a few. You’d omit his teachings on salvation, hell, sin, and even omit mentioning his death on the cross. Because you’d want more members and just mentioning a guy being beaten bloody and nailed onto a tree isn’t a crowd pleaser; catch my drift. Then you’d re-word a few of his verses to fit your style (something Joel Osteen has said that he does). No one starts fresh with the Bible and concludes with the Prosperity Gospel, you must start in reverse… because the end must always be the same. That is how you can have people speaking believable heresy; since the lines can be constantly moved to maintain their preferred end. Still, why can’t we keep prosperity teaching AND include the whole meta-narrative of the Bible? You cannot because the latter portion would directly interfere with sustaining the foundation of the end goal of the prosperity portion. Each book of the Bible rubs against prosperity teaching.

With this reasoning piece we must always be careful that we do not have a passion swaying our mind. We are always liable to be corrupted by our passions when we are considering truth and falsehood. When a popular sports athlete gets in trouble, sometimes we’ll side in their favor not because they are innocent but because they are on our favorite team. Do you read for yourself that Jesus wants you to have financial blessing? Or do YOU just want to have financial blessing? I think I remember verses cautioning on that.

This reasoning style is a game that only makes sense in the context of the end goal. A logical fallacy game. Admittedly, I use the same tactics to argue that Kobe Bryant is better than Michael Jordan  😉

As for Authority.  Since his question is not for the Biblical answer, we can leave out divine authority for now and just address human authority. The prosperity gospel has only been around in the past 70 years. Therefore, we’ve found something new under the sun that was not taught by any of the apostles nor by any of the old church writers. We would then have to say that we have found something that the Apostle Paul was not aware of. We would find that Augustine, Blaise Pascal, Charles Finney, John Calvin, Leonard Ravenhill, Thomas Aquinas, Jonathan Edwards, and the writings of many others are against us. We would not be able to find any literature to back us up that is dated before the 1960s. Whatever authority we find 2000 years prior to the 1960s would not mention the prosperity gospel. Surely we could not have been so far incorrect all those years. Somehow we were always intellectually off until this recent generation of fast cars and Facebook. That basic assumption is flawed in itself. With that said, human authority does not seem to line up with the prosperity gospel either.

So, Uncle. That is my answer to your question. I pray this helps. I love you.

4 Reasons To Take Spiritual Breaks From Facebook

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 7.48.55 PMIt was only a two-month hiatus from Facebook. The plan was to take a break and relax at the [metaphorical] beach. I would sip on pina coladas while my mind was cleared from all the cutter Facebook brings. Everything was fine the first week. Soon enough, to my shock, I began to notice that I was not quite at the beach, as I presumed. I then realized that the beach and pina coladas were a mirage. And so, for the next 8 weeks, it turned out that God had me in a dry desert so that he could wrestle with me about some deep things in my life that I had not noticed beforehand.

Sure, God could have told me what he wanted without leading me off Facebook and into a lonely desert. Still, sometimes the volume of distraction is too loud for us to hear Him. Sometimes we need silence. Sometimes we need to be led out into a dry season. No one enjoys the desert, and rightly so. There are times in the desert when all you hear is your own darkness, Satan’s calling, or worse…nothing at all. However, it is in those places that God can work on us and mold us into better soil. God did a good work on me in the desert. I did not enjoy it for a second, ha. But I was humbled and it was good.

In that time of silence He also allowed me to take a step back so that my eyes would be a little further opened into the subtle nuance of toxicity that Facebook and social media carry. Funny, because we almost need it just to survive in the modern world. But remember, Satan is always at work accomplishing his goals. Through both small and large means:

1) Facebook Can Give You an “I am God” Complex

Since society can date back, three components have had the largest impact on connecting and shrinking the world: Communication, Travel, and Technology. There is much good that streams from these three avenues. Facebook, although while yielding similar positive outcomes, gives us so much knowledge of others and a more holistic view of our surroundings that it makes us feel “bigger” than we are. Facebook gives us a false sense of omniscience and omnipresence.

This directly clashes with what we’ve known historically and even today. Our bodies, the natural world, and the Bible have constantly shown us how small and finite we truly are. All the while Facebook puts everything at our fingertips. I can find out where the grandparents of my friends live and who my old high school girlfriend is dating now. What was defined as stalking 25 years ago is now a regular stint on a cell phone app. We can find out almost anything about anyone anywhere. Do you not think this sense of power has crept into our spirit or Spirit? It is hard to worship God when you have an elevated opinion of yourself. Humility is steadily becoming a foreign concept. Soon we’ll have to visit museums just to see it.

Our confidence should be in the Lord not in ourselves (Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 44:6).

2) Facebook Gives a False Sense of Meaning

The human heart always searches for fullness and meaning. It’s a natural progression that we continually strive for no matter the obstacle. Even someone who commits suicide is looking for fullness because they believe that there is a state they can be in that is better than their current state. We search for fullness everywhere but can never seem to achieve that satisfaction so we always go on to the next best thing in line.

You can try to find fullness in something or someone, but it will ultimately fail you. Luckily most of the time there will eventually be clear evidence of this case.

The deadly thing about Facebook is that its failure to satisfy is extremely unclear. Facebook has an infinite amount of sectors to possibly make us happy for a while. With so many options we’ll continually go from page to page, video to video, event to event looking for the “next thing”. The scary realization is that we can literally go on and on surfing through Facebook without ever hitting a dead-end. “Hmm, ok I didn’t reach 100+ Facebook likes with that picture, lets try another one that I’ll post at this particular time when most people are active.” We believe that if we could get a few more likes then what doesn’t satisfy us will finally satisfy us. Weird.

We have become a society who, instead of viewing meaning outwardly, has turned into finding meaning within ourselves and our own abilities and what we achieved and in doing so we have slowly forgotten that we do not stand as Ultimate.

This ends in weakening our view of friendship and love. There is a serious lack of depth and root. Thus our framework of how God carries out His love for us and how our relationship with Him should look is weakened as well.

3) Facebook Draws An Aroma of Negativity

From political posts to social posts … Darkness lingers via different sources. It is tiring and exhausting to see debates and arguments carried out online. With an increase in societal issues and political shifts, we are constantly bombarded with hot topics that many people who suddenly think they have PhD’s on the matter feel the need to comment on. Your Facebook feed sadly becomes a wall of illogical reasoning that is filled with emotional bias and slander.

From jealous whispers to pictures of superficiality … On a daily basis we are called into a world of discontentment. Social media has traces of a popularity contest which ostracizes and cause depression. Comparison robs us of joy. That negativity can build if we do not take a break and treat those thoughts. Otherwise we can end up in an emotional prison robbed of purity.

4) Worst of All, Facebook Can Hinder God From Speaking to You.

47% of all Internet users are solely on Facebook. Entertainment is one of Satan’s favorite substitutes for joy. With quietness and alone time God is better able to speak to you. It is not a simple a + b = c equation just to get God on your personal Snapchat. But if we put ourselves under the umbrella of His presence and His Word then it allows us the opportunity to truly hear from Him. Facebook is a loud tool that has the ability to keep the volume on high if we allow it the power. It is not hard for Satan, once he grabs a foothold, to keep that volume increasing until you quirt God altogether.

We all have struggles, fears, addictions, pride, idolatry, doubts, depression and stress; we are all broken … but we need quality time with God for Him to be able to clean some of that “junk” out. As an old pastor once said, “Many people want to be good but no one wants to be holy. The holy live in eternity… all others live in time.”

Let us be watchful. Some of you may not even relate to the desert. Some of you relate and have been in the desert for months. Some for years. John the Baptist was in a lonely desert for 20 years with God, then preached from 6 months, and Jesus called him the greatest man to ever live! This concept of Facebook is very easy to miss. I had to learn the hard way until God shook me. I speak as a dying person speaking to other dying people. There is a partial element to Facebook that is a silent, life-sucking toxic environment that will trap you in boredom and, in turn, limit the potential that God desires you to have. Let us be watchful.

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Hebrews 12:1b – Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.