According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beyonce Is Wrong: Girls Don't Run the World

Why her message of female power is hurting the African American community.

Natasha Robinson, guest blogger
Beyonce has built a musical career based on girl empowerment and the seduction of men. In her efforts to empower women, though, she has endorsed a self-absorbed world where a false view of love reigns supreme. Her songs reveal a worldview where men and women indulge in lust, lavish spending, and fantasies of catering, upgrades, and joy rides. I don’t see much responsibility or empowerment of either sex in that kind of behavior.

Yet the lyrics of her recent single acknowledge the men who respect what she does. In her skimpy attire, she seduces them while singing we have "endless power, our love we can devour when you’ll do anything for me."

The question that haunts me and should arise from moral women of influence is: What type of power is Beyonce encouraging women to embrace? Is an average girl’s persuasion enhanced by flaunting her body, vanity, and money more than modesty, character, team building, and leadership that place the needs of others above themselves?

True persuasion and leadership elevates all people without sacrificing others along the way. That’s what alarms me with the “positive” messages in songs like “Run the World (Girls).” By elevating girls in a music video where they stand strong against an all-male army, Beyonce has subtly (or perhaps not so subtly) sent a message that devalues boys and men.

As an African American woman who is heartbroken over the current condition of African American boys, I find Beyonce’s message destructive and damaging to the Black community. The reality is that so many African American boys are being ignored in the classroom and other social arenas. These young men are dropping out of high school at an alarming rate. Many who graduate from high school cannot read with a significant level of comprehension or write a grammatically correct paragraph. Some sources say we now have more Black men in prison than in college. If Jesus' teachings concerning the Good Samaritan resonate at all, we should all share in these concerns. We cannot continue to ignore the plight of these young men while Beyonce is encouraging all the independent women to "throw their hands up."
Does God value women? Certainly! Does he want them to be strong contributors to society? Absolutely!

Yet when considering how God supremely values women, we must remember other fundamental truths: that God is love and wants us to walk in love. We must also acknowledge that we were created for community. God said that it was not good for humankind to walk through life alone. He created women and men for a holy partnership that is not limited to marriage. Whenever one gender of God’s partnership is elevated above the other or is ignored, we all lose.

There is much work and community building for all of us to do. I want to see young girls grow up into God-honoring, intelligent, beautiful, and strong leaders. When they show up in the classroom, corporate boardroom, or sanctuary, I want individual lives touched and the environment changed by their very presence. I do not want these women believing, however, that they don’t need men. Not only do we need them, they need us, and both sexes should seek opportunities to value, honor, and lift up each other.

Just as we must take responsibility for the images that we affirm or reject as women, men must do the same. My brothers must stand strong and hold each other accountable so that they do not fall prey to the fantasies and lies presented by the world. We should hold godly men accountable for breaking the cycle of “no fathers in the home” by consistently fulfilling the roles of teachers and mentors in the lives of children being raised by single mothers. In this way, children can observe a healthy partnership between men and women. They can then affirm who real men are and what real men do.

If we do not commit to these changes, we will continue to raise young men who have no consistent male leaders, teachers, or mentors in their lives. Furthermore, these young men will have very little expectations of themselves, since everyone knows that girls run the world. Therefore, they can transfer residence from their mother's homes to their girlfriend’s, and let her take care of him since she’s the college grad making the paper.

Both genders need to stand firm and confident knowing that the other is there to partner, encourage, and help them carry the load. We do not have to bear our burdens alone. We can be present for each other. Together, we can live the example of God’s truth and love in the lives of others.

We stand to partner because God loves us and wants an army of codependent men and women to glory him by lovingly running this world together.

Natasha Robinson is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy (2002). She served six years active duty as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Currently, she is co-director of the women’s mentoring ministry at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, and founder, writer, and speaker for His Glory On Earth Ministries. She is a full-time student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a wife and mother. Check out her blog, A Sista's Journey, where she featured a five-part “Way Up for African-American Boys Series.” Twitter @asistasjourney.

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