While searching for a quote from Malcolm X I was led to a YouTube video of his Militant Labor Forum speech which he delivered on May 29, 1964. In this speech brother Malcolm addressed police brutality in Harlem and as he closed his remarks he offered a critique of the American systems we live under and their inability to liberate oppressed people. Malcolm says, "It's impossible for a chicken to produce a duck egg...a chicken just doesn't have it within its system to produce a duck egg...it can only produce according to what that particular system was constructed to produce. The system of this country cannot produce freedom for an Afro-American. It is impossible for this system, this economic system, this political system, this social system, this system period. It is impossible for it as it stands to produce freedom right now for Black [people] in this country."

As I began to reflect on the words spoken by Malcolm X, I eventually came to the conclusion that the American Church, birthed with Eurocentric theology, suffers from the same character defect as other American systems. The American Church was never constructed to produce freedom for Black people in this country. There is of course a long prophetic tradition within the Black Church that includes entire denominations committed to the work of social justice and Black liberation theology which has helped contextualize the church's role in ending oppression for the Black community in America, but neither of these represent the dominant narrative within the American Church.

I sat in church last Wednesday with my mind and heart still with those in Ferguson, MO. It was hard for me to sit there and receive the message the speaker was delivering after spending a weekend in St. Louis for #FergusonOctober, protesting side by side with my peers, staring down police in riot gear beating their batons against their shin guards. The preacher's sermon did not address what's happening in Missouri. His sermon did not speak to the pain felt throughout the Black community. A pain brought about from the brutalization of young and old Black women and men by people paid to protect and serve them. Rather, he chose to deliver a message tightly wrapped in individualism and private holiness. A message heard far too often from the pulpit these days. A message that is far from the collectivism found in the midst of protesters standing in solidarity every night for the past 80 days. I thought to myself, "For one second can we think collectively and outside of ourselves." The pain of police brutality and racial profiling is not an individual burden, we carry it together.

What happened on August 9th in Ferguson, MO was a microcosm of the reality for the majority of the Black community. With police departments across the nation under a microscope it is becoming even more clear that the data presented by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is unfortunately accurate.
An unarmed Black person is killed every 28 hours in America by a police officer, security guard, or a vigilante.
But the young people in Ferguson said this is enough and now an entire generation's eyes are focused on this suburb of St. Louis, MO.

Leaving Mike Brown's body uncovered for 4 and a half hours while his blood stained the concrete was an act of terror only trumped by the imagery of a body swinging in the Southern breeze. The killing of unarmed citizens of color is modern day lynching. In James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching Tree he writes, "The crucifixion of Jesus by the Romans in Jerusalem and the lynching of blacks by whites in the United States are so amazingly similar that one wonders what blocks the American Christian imagination from seeing the connection."

I too marvel at the inability of the American Christian imagination today. In the face of state-sponsored violence, there continues to be a failure to see the connection between what is representative as the worst in human beings. Many churches have been and continue to be complicit with not a broken system but a system that was corrupted from its beginning. It is imperative that these churches acknowledge this. But they can't because their theology was not constructed to properly deal with the plight of oppressed people, particularly Black Americans. What should one expect when church leaders have been influenced by theologians and past prominent church figures who permitted atrocities such as slavery, segregation, and lynching to take place under their watch?

I went to church last Wednesday broken and exhausted. It has been a long fight and the battle will extend far beyond the announcement of no indictment. I was in search of healing and a word that could help me make sense of all the world was throwing at my generation. Instead, I left feeling as though my faith community had abandoned me. James Baldwin once wrote regarding the nature of life, "It forces you, in any extremity, any extreme, to discover what you really live by, whereas most Americans Christians have been for so long, so safe and so sleepy, that they don't any longer have any real sense of what they live by."

What is your theology of Ferguson?

If you'd like to see how some have answered this question, please check out this site.

1. Social Justice for Single People
Despite the fact that I’m committed to self-care, one of the challenges I’ve faced as an unmarried person is how to deal with the daily hits of justice work without a spouse with whom I can daily process those hits. I wish there were someone who knew the intimate details of my life story, knew my past and present pain, encouraged my eschatological hope, and was present in my daily life as a support partner...continue reading

2. Renouncing 'the Magic Negro' urge
I refuse to be a “the Magic Negro” of any organization. Common, you know what I am talking about. Many Christian organizations in the U.S. have a myriad of ways of tokenizing black people. It is only appropriate to think about what it means to be “a black face in a white space” right now as a constructive conversation around race will hopefully jump off after the debut of the movie Dear White People. Tokenizing black women and men in white Christian spaces is an old practice. And while most people of color tend to hate being tokenized in general, there still are particular lures to being a community or institutions “Magic Negro”...continue reading

3. Pseudo-Pacifism: Why Privileged People Love Quoting MLK
If you’re someone that is outspoken on the issue of race chances are, at one point or another, you’ve had a conversation with a so-called “pacifist” who has cited MLK as a pacifistic example. They then use MLK’s life as a means in which you need to be exactly like. This quickly turns from a back and forth dialogue to a dead-end conversation. To say that the way in which Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Jesus, or Nelson Mandela are the only options in which the marginalized can choose from when fighting against an oppression and for their humanity is ridiculous...continue reading

4. Why Is a Black Monk Seated So Prominently Next to Paul the Apostle?
In a stone sculpture that pays tribute to the preaching saint and his ardent follower, the virgin martyr Thecla, lies a clue to the role of Africans in Christianity...continue reading

5. When white friends don’t believe what blacks go through, they’re not friends
I still remember it perfectly, more than 10 years later. It’s terrifying to be stopped in your car and approached by first one and then two more white police officers with their hands resting on their holstered guns. I kept my hands in plain sight on the wheel while they inspected my license and registration. On second thought, I recall thinking during the 15-minute stop, perhaps the scruffy sweats and baseball cap that were perfect for my spin class weren’t the best choices when you’re African American and you’ve just bought a red car. (Why didn’t I pick the gray Camry?) I was given a written warning about running a stop sign that I’d actually stopped at, but I knew better than to argue...continue reading

Last Wednesday I heard a sermon about the importance of persistence. The preacher used the example of Gideon and his army to show how even when we are exhausted we must be persistent in our pursuit. While I was sitting in the pew trying to glean as much as I possibly could from this mid-day, mid-week sermon I couldn't help but think of Ferguson. It has now been 51 days since officer Darren Wilson executed Michael Brown, yet he is still a free person. Justice has been delayed in Ferguson, but the people have kept the pursuit going. A grand jury now has until January 2015 to decide whether to indict officer Wilson or not. Meanwhile, in the streets of Ferguson, the community continues to march; they continue to put pressure on city council members and other public officials; they continue to organize and strategize; despite the odds they – persist.

I have learned a lot in the past month and a half and I hope the rest of my generation has also learned a similar lesson. The fight for justice is not an easy fight. In this day and age where results come almost instantaneously one thing that never comes overnight is justice. What I heard in the sermon is true, "anything worth accomplishing happens over time and anything that comes quick does not last long." Any change that comes will take a sustained movement.

We have had several victories because of sustained movements like that of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, but the war against Black bodies in this nation wages on and is far from over. For 400 years our humanity has been denied, our dignity stripped, our very existence vilified, all while our culture is appropriated, repackaged and sold to the rest of the world. What would justice really even look like for Black people here in America?

Each generation is given a new fight. Another thing the preacher reminded the congregation of is that, "it is one thing for things to change or for things to get better, but it is another thing to be totally free. There is nothing like being totally liberated." Indeed things have changed since the days of chattel slavery. But we cannot afford to be lulled into a state of complacency after each victory, no matter how significant they are. We must persist.

On the outside one might think that an indictment of officer Darren Wilson would bring justice to the people of Ferguson and to the family of Michael Brown. That ship has long sailed. While it would be a major step in the right direction, the past two months have revealed the ugly reality in which the Black community in Ferguson is forced to live in.

"Problems persist because we knock them down but we don't finish the job."

The arrest and indictment of officer Wilson would be a knock down for sure but what would it take to score a knockout? We must get to the source of the problem and uproot it. The youth-led movements in Ferguson are doing exactly that by being persistent in their pursuit for justice and by not allowing themselves to be silenced by an intimidating and increasingly inept police force. They have played an integral role in exposing the over-policing that occurs in every community of color around the nation and the effects of militarizing police forces.

The cries of despair and shouts of distress from Ferguson still resonate across this country. Law enforcement continues to respond violently to peaceful protests. Distrust continues to grow between the Ferguson Police Department and the community. Michael Brown's memorial was even burned to ashes. Yet, while faint and exhausted, the people of Ferguson persist. They have a job to finish. In fact, we all have a job to finish and we all must play a role in the pursuit for justice.

Whenever God puts a message into my spirit and I know that it is from Him, I get so excited to share in hopes that someone else may also be helped. For this reason, I find myself up at an unreasonable hour writing this message in hopes to minister to another brother/sister in Christ.

As a somewhat chronic worrier (unfortunately), I have developed the ill habit of worrying even when “life is good.” I don’t know which is worse, the actual act of worrying in anticipation of some catastrophic event that never happens or my disobedience since God clearly tells us to be anxious for nothing.
Phillipians 4:6-7 ESV
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Thankfully, since God is merciful, I have one less thing to worry about. I mostly just have to work on reassuring myself that God is not angry with me when I fall short. He just wants me to do better. I have to be confident that when I strive to follow Christ that He is my biggest supporter and is always for me. 

Nonetheless, within just these past few days, I have fallen short once again. I’ve been extremely uneasy. I went as far as “diagnosing” all possible causes (It must’ve been something I ate. Did I need more sleep?). As I lied awake frustrated from another restless night, I suddenly felt the Holy Spirit nudge me. It was regarding something that God revealed to me months ago. I began feeling uneasy about a friend and felt that God was leading me away from that person, yet I chose to (slightly) ignore it. How I went from knowing that I should distance myself to assuming that “distance” was up for interpretation, I’m still not sure. I do, however, remember wondering whether it was my thinking or God telling me to go. So, I somewhat listened and stopped hanging around that friend as much, though I didn’t quite let go in an attempt to avoid feelings of loneliness.

I didn’t see much harm coming from a friendship. The thing is that though I hate to admit it, satan is pretty clever and can sneak confusion into a situation if we are not consciously and consistently guarding our hearts. The second mistake I made was failing to believe that I am more than a conqueror through Christ who strengthens me (Romans 5: 35-39) and that it is never too late to make right of a wrong situation.

I am now confident that it was the Holy Spirit nudging me back then. The thing is, God knows all and sees all. He knew that I would be right where I am before I got here. He knows exactly what I can and cannot handle. Now, though to-date nothing tragic has happened as a result of that friendship, I have still had no peace regarding it. That’s a big deal to me.

It all began when I started ignoring the Holy Spirit. When you begin ignoring a spiritual tug from the Holy Spirit, your trouble starts manifesting itself in other ways that may not initially appear to be related. In my case, that manifestation was lack of peace, fear, and stress that seemingly came out of nowhere, but actually cultivated slowly over time. So today, I choose obedience.

Though trials are inevitable, there is a reason why God asks us to be obedient: one, I believe, is for our protection. I’m not sure if it’s human nature or just my nature, but sometimes I feel as though being obedient to God’s will automatically means that I’m sacrificing something/potentially missing out. I realize that oftentimes you do miss out when you obey God. You miss out on stress, heartache, and pain that God sees before you do. God is a shield for His children.
Psalms 3:3-4 ESV
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
While I am far from a spiritual authority, I’d like to share a piece of advice that may help someone: The next time you consider hanging on to something that God told you to let go of or you begin experiencing feelings of regret about letting something go, remember that God never withholds any GOOD thing from those who are obedient and trust in Him.
Psalms 84:11-12 ESV
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!"

Please Note: This is not to say that because you are currently frustrated in a situation that it is time for you to just “drop” it. Letting go because it seems easier to handle versus letting go because God told you to are two different scenarios. Ask God for guidance, read His Word, and stay on watch for your answer. God Bless!

Lonna Edwards is currently a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studies Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

A study came out recently saying that millennials (a category that I apparently fit into) consider ourselves the “post-racial” generation. By and large, young adults think they are the ones who have moved past racism...continue reading

War is always ugly. The loss of innocent lives is never easy to swallow. And yet, as tanks open fire on the humble homes of the Gazan poor and rockets rain down on a terrified Israeli populace we are compelled to ask, “How do we keep coming back to this profane and violent place called war?” Why do we consistently and continually fail to understand the simple principles of our own faith and the faiths of those who profess a belief in God?...continue reading
3. Theological Bankruptcy
In his groundbreaking work, God of the Oppressed, theologian James Cone describes moving to Detroit in the midst of a series of insurrections. He noted the silence and indifference of white Christians to what was happening in urban centers across America in the late 1960's. He writes that their lack of response to what was happening in their own nation "was not only humiliating but wrong. It revealed an insensitivity to black pain and suffering but also, and more importantly for my vocation as a theologian, a theological bankruptcy." Cone's words have never been more prophetic than they are today when faced with the deafening silence of American Christianity in the face of racialized violence...continue reading
4. Anthony Bradley and Theologies of Respectability
Back in 2008, at the height of his extraordinary tirade against Barrack Obama, television personality Glenn Beck delved into discussions about black liberation theology. Looking for an expert to corroborate his views, Beck invited theologian Anthony Bradley onto his show. Drawing upon a series of essays that he had written for Beck’s newsletter, Bradley goes on in the segment to dismiss black liberation theology for its apparent “victimhood” and Marxist ties. Beyond theologically buttressing an extreme right-wing attack of Obama’s political and religious legitimacy, Bradley has continuously displayed a fascinating track-record that encapsulates what I like to call theologies of respectability...continue reading
 5. The Bible says ‘Mourn’ for Iraq and Gaza before you tweet for it!
Like it or not, the world is at war. However most of the time, we don’t give it a second thought. We don’t have to, that is, until a crisis like that in Iraq or a protracted high-profile conflict like that which is currently taking place between Gaza and Israel (and is still happening in Syria and dozens of other nations throughout the world, especially throughout Africa, lest we forget!)...continue reading
The Bible says ‘Mourn’ for Iraq and Gaza before you tweet for it! - See more at: http://www.redletterchristians.org/mourn-gaza-israel-tweet/#sthash.3CUQES4P.dpuf
UPDATE: I sent out an open invitation on twitter to anyone that wanted to share their experience with police. This post will continue to be updated with those stories.

Over the past three weeks there have been three separate incidents of police brutality that have led to the deaths of three unarmed Black men. For many Black people, myself included, the moments following these tragic events are filled with despair, sorrow, anger, and frustration. Each incident serves as a reminder that as a Black man in America my life holds little to no value in the eyes of the general public. To be young and Black in the United States means to live under constant pressure, something most non-Black American citizens know nothing about.

For the majority of Black people the police do not represent protection or safety, rather they are a menacing force that terrorize those they are supposed to serve. I have never felt safe in the presence of law enforcement. In fact, whenever police are in close proximity to me I feel in danger. Whenever a cop drives behind me or beside me I feel anxious, not protected.

Is my paranoia justified?

I have no criminal record, however I have had numerous run-ins with the police, none of which my actions provoked. The most common of course is being followed around a store. I have never committed a traffic violation but I have been pulled over several times. A few of those times I was asked to step out of my vehicle to be frisked and forced to sit on the curb in humiliation while being verbally intimidated and having my car searched. The reasons I was given as to why this type of action was necessary or to why I was even pulled over to begin with were always made up out of thin air.

Several years ago I lived in the suburbs of Louisville, KY where my parents had purchased a home in a newly developed subdivision. We lived there for a couple of years when one day while driving out of the subdivision I was signaled to pull over by two police cruisers. I was accused of burglarizing the home of a White neighbor. Being the only Black kid in the entire subdivision, it came as no surprise that I was singled out. A few years after that, in the same subdivision, my brother and my best friend had their cars broken into outside of our house. When the police arrived I was obtained and questioned as if I was a suspect.

Constant harassment is dehumanizing, but I'm thankful to God that those are the worst of my experiences as many Black Americans have had similar ones that resulted in arrest, injury, and/or even death. I'm well aware of the experiences of others and they add to the trauma. Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or John Crawford could have easily been me...or my brother...or my father.

Cornel West once said, "9/11 was the first time that many Americans of various colors felt unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated." Since then, through the "war on terror" and the influence of xenophobia in the mainstream media the face of terrorism has been Muslim extremists. But as Dr. West also mentioned, "To be Black in America for 400 years is to be unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated." The terror that I experience as a Black person in 21st century America is nothing new. Black people have been exposed to domestic terrorism for centuries. Slavery was a form of terrorism. Jim Crow was a form of terrorism. Lynching was a form of terrorism. The prison industrial complex/mass incarceration is a form of terrorism. Police brutality is a form of terrorism.

More Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police since 9/11 than in acts officially classified as terrorism. A 2012 study done by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, an antiracist grassroots activist organization, showed that 1 Black man is killed every 28 hours by police, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes. The militarization of police departments nationwide and the over-policing of urban neighborhoods have had terrorizing effects on the Black population. There are also programs like stop-and-frisk that make racial profiling and over-policing legal. At its peak in 2011, 685,724 people were stopped. Of those stopped 53 percent were Black, 34 percent were Latino, and 9 percent were White. 88 percent of all people stopped were innocent. Gang injunctions are another method of enforcement that lead to racial profiling and the over-criminalization of youth.

What am I to do? What are we to do? Often I'm reminded by others of respectability politics. I should dress nicer and talk more proper. But, I grew up with images of upstanding citizens in suits and ties being dragged by police dogs and hosed down during peaceful protests. The same people that think that my appearance will keep me safe also tell me that I should focus my outrage at Blacks killing other Blacks (as if I'm not already) because that's what's really harming the Black community. But that only serves to derail the conversation at hand. Black on Black violence is a myth. As Jamelle Bouie notes, "Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true for white victims of violent crime—86 percent were killed by white offenders. Indeed, for the large majority of crimes, you’ll find that victims and offenders share a racial identity, or have some prior relationship to each other. What [others] miss about crime, in general, is that it’s driven by opportunism and proximity."

The reality is that we (Black men and women) have multiple sources of forced coercion coming at us. The psychological and emotional toll this has on Black folk can no longer be downplayed or ignored. My paranoia is justified. Our paranoia is justified. It doesn't matter how we dress, how we talk, what our socio-economic status is, if we are unarmed, or even if we are injured and seeking help, we are still seen as threats. We must protect ourselves. We must protect our communities. We must stand up in the face of brutality and fight to change the unjust conditions we are forced to live in.

My First Police Encounter

September of 2009 was my first run in with police. At the time I was working at a Club out in the suburbs, as an in-house promoter. I handled most of the marketing and Social Media promotion for the Club and on this particular day our Manager called for an emergency meeting to make sure everything was planned and prepared for the weekend. I picked up my friend Mark from his Grandmother's house and headed to the meeting around 7pm. On the way we shared a joint which we tossed before we arrived at the club. The meeting only lasted about 2 hrs, but we ended up staying and partying a bit, fore another promoter was running the club that night. Around 11:30 we headed back toward Mark's Grandmother's crib, vowing to make it an early night because we had a lot to do the next day.

I pulled up to his grandmother's apartment complex around midnight. We sat in the car for about 10 mins discussing our plans for tomorrow, and right as we ended our conversation; there was a knock on my driver side window. Startled as fuck because I was looking towards the passenger's side, I turn around to see not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 officers at my driver's door. He shined the light in my car and knocked again, asking me what I was doing, motioning to roll down the window, and trying my door handle all at the same time. Still a little shocked I cracked the window. "I smell it, get out." The Officer ordered. There weren't any drugs in the car so we happily complied. The officer doing all the talking was a sergeant, lieutenant, or somebody in charge because he was telling the other three officers what to do. By his orders, tone and how much direction he was giving the other officers seemed to be new hires and unfortunately we were their practice mission.

I was literally giving Mark the "goodbye handshake" when the cop knocked and I just keep thinking, "Why the fuck didn’t I just pull off." I also thought of how many times we have chilled in front of his grandmother's house till 5 and 6 in the morning having those late night conversations, and how this has never happened. There were no cop cars in sight, they had walked from the other side of the complex literally just looking for someone outside.

We got out and they escorted us to the back of the car while two officers searched inside. The lead officer was giving the trainee directions on how to question us. He had us empty our pockets and asked for our licenses. Mark didn’t have his, because he doesn’t drive. We were in South Louisville. When the lead officer saw my West Louisville address he said "you're awful far from home, what are you doing way out here at this time of night." This was the first of many times an officer has said that when looking at my license. I lived about an 8 minute expressway drive from Mark's Grandmother and I’ve always resented the fact that cops act as if I shouldn’t be anywhere but the West. Like, I've heard that "awful far from home" line at least 4 times. I told the officer that I was dropping my friend off at his grandmother's house. That’s when he separated us, having me go sit on the apartment steps while they questioned Mark. The two cops inside the car had come up empty and the lead officer did another thorough search, again coming up empty handed. Now visibly frustrated the officer asked what apartment Mark lived in, he pointed towards his grandmother's door and then the cop asked how he could be sure if he didn’t have his license. He was just going to give us citations, but because of this, he was going to take Mark to jail for trespassing, and loitering until he could find out who he was. That’s when I stepped in and said "I was dropping him off at his Grandmother's but he lives with me, just use my address." One of the training officers nodded in agreement, we had no drugs, guns or bombs and the other officers were kind of pacing, disappointed and ready to keep moving. The lead officer insisted on giving us trespassing citations and had the officer who showed the most compassion write them out for us. Once handing us our citations, they left continuing their stroll through the apartment complex.

The next day Mark's grandmother was evicted from her apartment. The lead officer had showed back up and went to the rental office to see if Mark was on the lease. He wasnt and that was a violation of the terms of the leasing agreement. Mark's granny, who was really his great granny was 70+ at the time and recently restricted to an oxygen tank. This eviction left Mark homeless and his granny placed in an asisted living facility where she passed less than 6 months later. The cop literally changed the course of our lives. Mark bounced from home to home all summer before finally finding somewhere to live. He was unceremoniously separated from the woman who raised him because a cop was pissed he couldn’t find the non-existent weed; a woman that needed her grandson. I don’t even think words can express how much the cop fucked up everyone's lives. I went to court over my charges where they were dismissed before I even stood infront of the judge. I also received a letter from the apartment complex informing me of a life time ban. Fuck Watterson Lakeview Apartments by the way.

This was my first encounter with the cops and this is what I learned. 1) If Police cant find anything wrong, they'll make something up. 2) Sitting in the car talking after midnight is suspicious behavior. 3) I can be arrested and charged by simply visiting a friend, and I should only hang out in my neighborhood. 4) Police often throw racial and sexist jokes and say things to provoke a reaction. 5) They didn’t believe a word I said. So I don’t know why they even questioned us. 6) The only time police go above and beyond the call of duty is to be particularly nasty. I mean dude, eviction? Really? Life time ban? Really? 7) They're not here to protect us, but to hurt us however possible.

I'm from an upper middle class home and was raised to believe that if you stay out of the police's way you won't have a problem. But what if they're in your way? We were sitting about 20ft from Mark's doorstep when the police confronted us. We were literally at home. And after telling the truth, and the police finding no evidence of otherwise they still decided to treat us as criminals. Why? Because we're Black? Because police are power drunk and just have to be right? Because it was imperative for the officers to learn how to write tickets that night? I dont know, but I used to dream into running into that officer and telling him how he had ruined my friend's life. But I also feared that he'd get pleasure out of the hardships instead of remorse, and since then i've loathed the police. This isn’t an irrational fear. This isn’t movie based or sensationalized. This really happened. If I’m hanging further than 5 minutes from home, and smell like weed I could be arrested. Thats what I learned, and fuck them for that. I understand why kids run, innocent or guilty you never know what could happen when you run into a police officer. And RIP to Mark's Grandmother. I'll be forever sorry that we're the reason you lost your home.

Submitted by @Chalee2Times

1. We have to see justice as part of discipleship and ultimately…our worship of God.
Over the years, I’ve been given by some the mini-reputation as a leader in the field of justice. At first, I took it as a compliment and  of course, I still do because I care a lot about justice. I know that people mean well. But I care about justice not  just for the sake of justice. I care about justice…because I care much about the Gospel...continue reading
2. Beyond Black & White
Everyone wants to move beyond the black/white conversation. I've heard it more times than I can count. Church leaders, congregation members, training attenders, school administrators all want to know when can we finally stop talking about the history between white and black people in America...continue reading
3. Farewell, StrongBlackWoman
I’ve been a StrongBlackWoman for as long as I can remember.  The day I graduated from what many consider to be the most rigorous high school in America, my dad congratulated me on the various honors I received by saying, “You didn’t graduate from Exeter. You conquered Exeter.” Refusing to be intimidated or bewildered, the little black girl from California had infiltrated the ranks of the New England elite, endured their crushing privilege, navigated their culture, and beat them at their own game..continue reading
4.  On Forgiveness and Abuse 
For Christians whose abuse occurs at the hands of a pastor or in the context of a religious environment, getting out and getting help can be complicated by appeals from the abuser (and his or her supporters) to Christian values like unity, grace, and forgiveness. These values are indeed at the very center of what it means to be Christian, and so it is especially tragic when they are invoked to maintain a culture of abuse or to shame those who speak out about it...continue reading
It is possible to walk down one block in many urban communities and pass multiple churches. With so many urban churches, why are there still so many challenges in our inner cities? Checkout this video-http://youtu.be/oDLzL4Q2zwg



1. U.S. Religious Leaders Embrace Cause of Immigrant Children
After protesters shouting “Go home” turned back busloads of immigrant mothers and children in Murrieta, Calif., a furious Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, sat down at his notepad and drafted a blog post detailing his shame at the episode, writing, “It was un-American; it was unbiblical; it was inhumane.” ...continue reading
2. White Guilt Will Not Save Us From Police Brutality #JusticeForEricGarner
This weekend, I was on Twitter, and there it was again. Another hashtag, #EricGarner, #JusticeForEricGarner. Much like in the past #Justice4Trayvon, #JusticeForRenisha, #RememberRenisha. I saw the horrorifying, gory headlines, and I was afraid to click the linkbait. What happened this time?...continue reading
3. Double Bind and Cheap Grace (Part 2) 
PART 1  (read first)
“Grace” is a concept that, though founded in all of Christian Theology, I’ve seen adopted in Christian jargon that is especially prevalent in the evangelical church under Western, White cultural captivity (to adopt the phrase by Soong-Chan Rah).* In Christian Theology, “special grace” (what people usually think of when the term is evoked) refers to Christ who was crucified for the sins of those who did not deserve a sacrifice. This powerful, theologically loaded, expression has been adopted especially in the evangelical church as a way of dismissing oppression...continue reading 
4. Not Another Charity Case
Vast amounts of ink have been spilled pointing out how our attempts at charity go about it wrong. TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie came under fire for his model, which donated a pair of shoes to someone in a developing country for each pair sold, arguably leaving foreign markets flooded with an overabundance of shoes and putting locals out of business. (Mycoskie may be improving his business model these days.) Other criticized aid ideas include cartons of unwanted T-shirts sent to African nations; short-term missions trips, if not planned well; and, generally, any idea that involves a relatively wealthy and privileged person thinking she can use physical resources to stem the tide of a disaster by buying, building, or visiting...continue reading
5. From Behind the Walls, Pt. 1: Jesus Under Lockdown
That Friday, I saw Jesus in the infirmary.

Encountering Christ in prison was one of the primary purposes for my first visit behind the walls nearly 4 ½ years ago. I have often struggled in my life to understand how and where God “works” in the world. Everything changed for me when, at 19, I stood next to my father before the death-filled ovens of Auschwitz in Poland on a cold, wet winter day, and he said, “Whatever you believe about God has to make sense right here or it can’t make sense anywhere.” From then on, little has made sense. But I have held tightly to Jesus’s claim in Matthew 25 that he is encountered when we encounter the “least of these”: the hungry, the naked, the alone, the sick, the imprisoned. German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote of learning to the see the world “from below…from the perspective of those who suffer.” When we see the world “from below,” we see where Jesus is hanging out. This particular day, he was in the infirmary, and his name was Charlie Vick...continue reading
That Friday, I saw Jesus in the infirmary.
Encountering Christ in prison was one of the primary purposes for my first visit behind the walls nearly 4 ½ years ago. I have often struggled in my life to understand how and where God “works” in the world. Everything changed for me when, at 19, I stood next to my father before the death-filled ovens of Auschwitz in Poland on a cold, wet winter day, and he said, “Whatever you believe about God has to make sense right here or it can’t make sense anywhere.” From then on, little has made sense. But I have held tightly to Jesus’s claim in Matthew 25 that he is encountered when we encounter the “least of these”: the hungry, the naked, the alone, the sick, the imprisoned. German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote of learning to the see the world “from below…from the perspective of those who suffer.” When we see the world “from below,” we see where Jesus is hanging out. This particular day, he was in the infirmary, and his name was Charlie Vick.
- See more at: http://www.redletterchristians.org/behind-walls-pt-1-jesus-lockdown/#sthash.0ckoaSCf.dpuf

From Behind the Walls, Pt. 1: Jesus Under Lockdown

- See more at: http://www.redletterchristians.org/behind-walls-pt-1-jesus-lockdown/#sthash.0ckoaSCf.dpuf

White Guilt Will Not Save Us From Police Brutality #JusticeForEricGarner - See more at: http://politicaljesus.com/#sthash.2nwpXNL2.c3B5aa80.dpuf

The Church is filled with divisions. For the most part people have simply accepted this as a given and an inevitable reality. Hardly do people find themselves with enough Christian instincts to be deeply troubled with what’s going on. Even more rare than that, it is almost impossible to find followers of Jesus committed to doing the hard work of having honest and hard conversations in hopes of discerning a more truthful way...continue reading
While I do plan on doing a series on me being historic creed-affirming and what that means as an outlier, very much Free Church Baptist, I want to focus on the last three lines today. I think it’s of most urgency to talk especially about “the forgiveness of sins” part in a violent, unforgiving world with a 24-hour news cycle. Unfortunately, many mainline and evangelical churches discuss “forgiveness” without talking about repentance...continue reading
I think I’m going to stop taking communion for a while. I’ve always been a little bit suspicious of the way we do communion in many churches. Even as a kid, it seemed rather inorganic and random to, on the first Sunday of the month, eat one lonely goldfish cracker and drink one miniature cup of grape juice. More than anything else, it seemed like a cruel teaser before the real feast: the monthly post-service potlucks...continue reading
I am not saying that the translation committee that produced your Bible set out to deceive or that there is a conspiracy afloat. But I am saying that before you even start reading it, your Bible already is formatted in a way that universalizes and Christianizes Paul. In fact, even a Greek New Testament does this and even a Bible that does not have paragraph or section headings...continue reading
This quotation comes from Elizabeth Stuart’s Just Good Friends: Towards a Lesbian and Gay Theology of Relationships (1995). It is perhaps the best summary I have ever read which adequately expresses my feelings about heterosexual Christian men writing about queer issues. I am sick and tired of people like John Shore, Timothy Kurek, Tony Jones et al, pontificating on my identity...continue reading

I have two daughters.
They are little spark plugs of utter joy and complete chaos. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They remind me to view the world through childlike wonder. They remind me that I am not what I do, but who I am. They teach me what selfless love actually looks like … every day … day after day … early morning after early morning … nasty crap diaper after nasty crap diaper. They make me realize how much I have to learn about parenting and our place in the world...continue reading
2.  How Can a Fallible Bible Be Inspired?
Over the past several months we’ve been doing a lot of deconstruction work with the Bible on my blog, discussing how an unquestioning reading of Scripture leads to a lot of hurt. It’s an important conversation to have, one motivated by compassion. Because we care about people, and because we love the Bible we need to confront a way of reading that justifies harm as wrong. Still, even so, it’s hard. It takes a toll because, even though we believe we are doing something good, it cuts away at our old beliefs in the process, and that means it cuts us.  After doing that kind of hard deconstructive work it can feel like there’s nothing left to stand on...continue reading
3. 4 Reasons I'm Not Going to Heaven
A few days ago somebody gave me a scrap of yellow paper with blue letters on it. Across the top it read: "Am I Going to Heaven? QUIZ!"
Not too long ago, I was the one carrying those papers, handing them to strangers in hopes of altering their eternal destination. So I recognized all the Bible verses, the step-by-step, point-by-point sales pitch. But now, I have no interest in buying what they're selling.
If this is the way to Heaven, I'm not going. Here's why:..continue reading
4. Five reasons to love Sojourners’ 'Summit for Change'
Last week I was in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural Summit for Change, created by Sojourners, to which, incidentally, you really ought to subscribe if you are a person of faith (or even if you’re not) who cares about social justice. - See more at: http://rachelmariestone.religionnews.com/2014/06/24/five-reasons-love-sojourners-summit-change/#sthash.UPGpiGmA.dpuf
Five reasons to love Sojourners’ ‘Summit for Change’ - See more at: http://rachelmariestone.religionnews.com/2014/06/24/five-reasons-love-sojourners-summit-change/#sthash.UPGpiGmA.dpuf

 Last week I was in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural Summit for Change, created by Sojourners, to which, incidentally, you really ought to subscribe if you are a person of faith (or even if you’re not) who cares about social justice...continue reading
5. The Forgotten Story of the Freedom Schools
Young people named it the Freedom Summer Project. It was the largest campaign to register voters—in 1964, an election year—and it was the most significant demonstration of African Americans’ political strength in the Civil Rights Movement. Congressman John Lewis, then chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), wrote that the objective of Freedom Summer was to “force a showdown between the local and federal government.” One significant yet overlooked part of this history is the way activists moved beyond the ballot box to politicize the right to an education...continue reading

Over the past several months we’ve been doing a lot of deconstruction work with the Bible on my blog, discussing how an unquestioning reading of Scripture leads to a lot of hurt. It’s an important conversation to have, one motivated by compassion. Because we care about people, and because we love the Bible we need to confront a way of reading that justifies harm as wrong. Still, even so, it’s hard. It takes a toll because, even though we believe we are doing something good, it cuts away at our old beliefs in the process, and that means it cuts us.  After doing that kind of hard deconstructive work it can feel like there’s nothing left to stand on. - See more at: http://www.redletterchristians.org/can-fallible-bible-inspired/#sthash.D1z8iyk8.dpuf
Planning is always one of the most important steps in anything we do. Whether it be work related, school related, or in our ministries it is essential. I can't function right unless there's a plan ready for me to follow. Sometimes that's becomes a hindrance when I'm trying to do certain things or start certain projects. 

It's always been a problem of mine moving past the plan when working by myself. Often I deter or deviate from the original idea by letting things from within stop me. I let road blocks from the past stand in the way. For instance, it's known to my peers that it takes a lot for me to focus. Some may call it attention deficit disorder. But, I think I allow myself to give in to pressure too easily. Sometimes it causes me anxiety not knowing the outcome of things. Even if I know I can somehow make whatever plan, idea, or method work I still shut myself down by believing the finished product won't be as good as I had hoped. 

It took me a week to get started on this post, mainly because I have been wrestling with the fact that I may not post as well as some other bloggers or even my fellow Ghetto Monk contributors. Bumps in the road of life seem to resurface and cause me to shut down and believe that I can't get something done. 

Since the start of the new year I've been reading Tony Dungy's 365 devotional The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Devotional. It's a pretty good read and I recommend it for anyone. Each day has a theme to go along with it. There are seven themes, one for each day of the week (Core, Family, Friends, Potential, Mission, Influence & Faith). They reoccur in the same order every week. This book has become what drives some of my days. One particular day, May 31st to be exact, Tony had a passage called Getting in The Race. It focused on being able to jump into something despite trials and hardships we may face along the way. The scripture he used for the day was Romans 5:3-5.
 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)
This scripture really hit home with me that day. I was trying to figure out what it is I want to be in life (at 24 I feel like you should have some idea). Its always been hard for me to think ahead. Once I get so far into the planning stage I begin to think of all the ways I could fail. That brings my wheels to a screeching halt every time. Like Ryan quoted in his post The Fear of Failure, we miss 100% of the shots we don't take. We never come close to finishing or enduring, persevering through any of the races, hardships, plans, ministries or dreams that we don't first jump into. Following the thinking/planning phase is so crucial. If we don't take that first step of faith and start the process knowing that God has our path blazed out ahead of us we will never find out who we want to be or what God has called us to be. 

God is with us the whole way. Throughout the Bible He reminds us of His plans to keep us and grow us. Our hope comes from trusting in those promises and enduring those hardships that ultimately build our character. Planning is step one, but it's crucial to move on and make the second step of action toward our goal. 

Within the family of God, members of oppressed groups shouldn’t have to mount a social justice campaign in order to make their voices heard...continue reading
2. The Cross, Predestination, and Emmett Till
The Cross, Predestination, and Emmett Till
One of the interesting things about the academy is in the way Black Theologians strive to engage Hip Hop culture. While I personally don’t do so, I think this move is necessary for a few reasons. Priests and prophets in the Hebrew Bible as part of their vocation were to help God’s people remember God’s story correctly, and live it out faithfully. Unfortunately in the 21st century, “secular” corporate-driven hip hop is used as a tool to colonize children from all backgrounds. One instance was the case of a rap “artist” who made a rhyme sexualizing the lynching of Emmet Till. I believe this is where Black Liberation theology needs to intervene. - See more at: http://politicaljesus.com/2014/06/18/the-cross-predestination-and-emmett-till/#sthash.RuL4umfi.dpuf
 One of the interesting things about the academy is in the way Black Theologians strive to engage Hip Hop culture. While I personally don’t do so, I think this move is necessary for a few reasons. Priests and prophets in the Hebrew Bible as part of their vocation were to help God’s people remember God’s story correctly, and live it out faithfully. Unfortunately in the 21st century, “secular” corporate-driven hip hop is used as a tool to colonize children from all backgrounds. One instance was the case of a rap “artist” who made a rhyme sexualizing the lynching of Emmet Till. I believe this is where Black Liberation theology needs to intervene...continue reading
3. A Field Guide for Suffering Well
Many of us don't know what to do when we find ourselves in the spiritual desert. Because our hyper-connected culture provides everything on demand, when we don't get what we want, when we want it, we feel disoriented and cranky...continue reading
 4. Fearing Tragedy
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4...continue reading 
 5. A fresh start at New Life Christian Centre
This month we’re proud to highlight New Life Christian Centre as our “feature partner”. It seems like every time someone from the Forgotten Voices team visits New Life Christian Centre, we get new updates on children and families experiencing life in a new and strengthened way as a result of their contact with the church. Africa Director Remmy Hamapande visited our partnership at New Life last month. Here are a few stories he shared…continue reading

In the wake of Father's Day I have been reflecting on some advice my dad gave me many years ago when I was a young child. Like my dad, I love the game of basketball and growing up I would play every chance I got. My dad would take my brother and I to different parks in Baltimore looking to get a good run in. This often meant that I would have to play with bigger and older kids if I wanted a chance to play at all. I was always a late bloomer, so I was usually one of the shortest kids in my age group. It would feel like I was playing with giants, but no one wants to go to the court to just sit and watch.

I looked up to my brother and I always wanted to play with him and his friends. I was also very competitive so I didn't mind playing with the bigger and older kids as long as they passed me the ball. I remember a time where I was playing timid and was scared to drive inside the paint because of the towering figures that guarded the rim. My dad noticed my apprehension and pulled me to the side and told me, "Ryan, you can't be scared of getting your shot blocked."

As a kid who was younger and smaller than my competition, I constantly had to prove myself. Getting my shot blocked was very embarrassing and it amplified the insecurities I already felt by being at a disadvantage because of my size. I was afraid of humiliation, I was afraid rejection, and I was afraid of failure. But I heeded my father's advice and the result was I became a craftier player, a stronger finisher at the rim, and most importantly I became fearless.

Those words have resonated with me throughout the years. My dad was teaching me to have confidence in myself and to see that failing didn't make me a failure. Just because I got my shot blocked didn't mean that I wasn't a good player or that I didn't belong out there. Not being afraid of having my shot blocked meant that there were no shackles on my game and that I was willing to take chances even if the odds weren't always in my favor.

I've lived with that mentality ever since then, not just on the court but off it as well. You cannot let your fear of failure paralyze you from taking chances in life or from challenging yourself. Most of us have heard the famous quote by Michael Jordan, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Our fear of failure sets us up for a life of mediocrity.

As Christians, this fear of failure is often the result of a lack of faith and obedience. Throughout the Bible God is constantly reminding His people that He is on their side and that He is faithful to His promises. One of my favorite verses that illustrates this message is Isaiah 41:10 which reads, "do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." In the New Testament Jesus removes our anxiety about the future by reminding us that God is concerned about the least of His creation (in our eyes) so of course He will provide for us (Matthew 6:25-34).

We must learn to trust in God and to overcome our fears if we are to enjoy the fullness of life. It is okay to fail as long as you keep an attitude of an overcomer. Failure brings wisdom and is the stepping stone to success. Don't let your fear of failure hold you back.

When you truly experience the love of God, there is nothing you won’t do for God. When you are truly thankful for salvation, no place is off limits to share the gospel. When you read Matthew 25, you are willing to dwell in any environment to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Our compassion compels us to love without conditions and work beyond the hours of Sunday morning... continue reading
2. Top 10: Conversation Deflections
Recently, my friend Grace Sandra wrote a risky article for CT on the vulnerabilities faced by black women. In it she discusses the links between her personal experiences, current events and statistics. Grace explains how this trifecta weighs on her personally, and by extension other black women as well. She ends by requesting that the Church not shy away from but instead engages the hearts of black women who feel as weighed down as she...continue reading
3. Go and Make Disciples — Not Converts
 I have never really understood personal evangelism. Maybe it’s because I have never really been good at sharing my faith — at least not with complete strangers. I have never stood on the street corner preaching to all within earshot. I’m not the guy with numerous stories about how I shared my life story with the person sitting next to me on the plane, inducing a tearful admission that he needs Jesus. (I am not condemning these types of encounters, nor am I condemning these practices altogether.) To be completely honest, I don’t think I have even one story like that...continue reading
4. To be gay, Christian and black in Harlem
NEW YORK — As a gay man in Togo, where homosexuality is punishable by up to three years in prison, Rodrigue (who asked that his last name be withheld because of concerns for his family’s safety) felt in danger. Though the law is rarely enforced, violence against gay men is perceived as a viable and available option among the general public. Rodrigue speaks of young men he has known who have been attacked by acquaintances on the street after school. He says that he was never physically threatened in Togo, then he reluctantly adds, “except by my family.”...continue reading
 5. Reasons for Seminary
Today’s (re)post offers ten reasons for going to seminary, and I know full well that many today both find seminary irrelevant and contend they are “successful” ministers without seminary. I’ve heard not a few of said contenders say that they think seminary would have hurt them. I disagree mostly… and, yes, the MDiv or a seminary degree is the union card or accreditation level for many churches … so here then are ten reasons to attend seminary:...continue reading

womanist theological perspectives: biblical inerrancy - See more at: http://politicaljesus.com/#sthash.2nwpXNL2.sLf1WuGQ.dpuf
womanist theological perspectives: biblical inerrancy - See more at: http://politicaljesus.com/#sthash.2nwpXNL2.sLf1WuGQ.dpuf


1. Reparations and the Church?
Ta-Nehisi Coates's recent article, 'The Case for Reparations' opens with scripture:
"And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him."
If you haven't yet, read Coates's treatise--much of what appears here builds on the groundwork he lays there. Coates argues for the importance of reparations in the United States, not just for the enslavement of millions of individuals, but for the legacy of profit from disparity that has been with us ever since...continue reading
2. Something's Wrong for Our Sisters
Rahiel Tesfamariam writes that black women act as if there is a war being waged against us. Yes, yes and more yes.
Tesfamariam recognizes that the U.S. still doesn't know how to deal with the "angry black woman," whether she's Solange in an elevator or a woman lamenting the life of her dead son. She goes on to say, "We wouldn't have to fight so hard if our minds, bodies and spirits weren't constantly in danger of harm or threat of misuse."...continue reading
3. Jesus Wasn’t A Slut-Shamer or How Conservative Theology Harms Black Women
I’m a feminist who believes in God. Raised Christian, I still attend church.  But what I am not is a person who will willingly check her brain, political convictions, or academic training at the door in order to enter the house of God or to participate in a community of faith. Express homophobic views, tell me that God requires me to let a man rule my house because I have a vagina, or spout a prosperity theology premised on the idea that poor folks are poor because they lack faith, and you are likely to see me get up and walk out...continue reading
 4.  Publishin'
So there has been a recent rise in discussions regarding authors of color and the world of publishing, particularly of Christian publishing. I have been extraordinarily hesitant in giving voice to my thoughts and concerns on this topic because-- you know--- ramifications. One day I want to be a published author, preferably with a Christian publishing house. So lending my voice to anything that would critique said body, just doesn't seem very wise. And yet, this is my voice, these are my thoughts, and I "attack" no specific house, group, or person. I only want to explore some of the ideas fueling the conversation. So basically, I'm doing this scared. Here we go. Well, here I go...continue reading
5. [Re] Defining Evangelicalism:
I, am an evangelical.
There, I said it.
Though, when I call myself evangelical, I do not mean it in the sense that I am this anti-science, homophobic, “God-fearing,” authoritarianistic conservative. I think we all know that this is not Christianity, nor is it representative of the Jesus who is the central figure of Christianity. When something is said to be “good news for all,” but the only people who preach it and believe in it are the only one’s who benefit from it, it’s safe to assume, it’s bullshit...continue reading

1. For Maya
I was a vorascous reader. I loved anything written by Judy Blume. The Babysitters Club, the Boxcar Children, and the silly Amelia Bedelia had my loyalty. I was always on my best behavior when we went to library (yes, it was an event, not a class). I wanted to be the first chosen so I could grab any new books our librarian bought. I was so in love with books, my father knew never to send me to my room for punishment. I would happily read for hours longer than my punishment required...continue reading
 2. The Real Origins of the Religious Right
One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it...continue reading
3. 15 Things You Need To Stop Doing… Right Now!
We live in a world of to-do lists, goals and New Years Resolutions. Everyone is looking forward to starting something, going to the gym, starting the conversation, starting the journey… Instead of focusing so much energy and attention on what you need to start, you should try a different approach. How about focusing on the things you need to stop and awesome life results will be the natural by-product...continue reading
4. 3 Avenues To A Richer, More Vibrant Worship
My brother is an athlete.
I don’t use that term lightly, either. When he is not competing on a sports team, he is watching it. When he is not watching it, he is working on his fantasy league. When he is not working on his fantasy league, he is hitting the gym. The guy is nearly six feet tall and looks like he has been cut from granite. Needless to say, this is all a far cry from his bookworm brother, the writer/theologian currently sitting behind the keyboard punching these words out...continue reading
5. More Guns, More Shootings?
Recently, Richard Martinez, father of a student who was killed in Elliot Rodgers's rampage in Santa Barbara, California, lashed out at politicians, "I don't care about your sympathy. I don't give a s--- that you feel sorry for me…. Get to work and do something. I'll tell the president the same thing if he calls me. Getting a call from a politician doesn't impress me." ...continue reading

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