St. John of the Cross called it “the dark night of the soul.” The Benedictine friar Augustine Baker referred to it as “the great desolation.” The ancient Christian mystics depicted it in a prayer labyrinth, representing the Christian life, which at times would draw near to God and at other times would seem impossibly distant. It is the experience of spiritual dryness, and it is a common experience for many of us at some point in our Christian life...continue reading
Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones have been at this whole church leadership thing for a while now. As two of the voices at the forefront of the emerging Christianity movement, they are visionaries, strategists, and hands-on practitioners who, as much or more than anyone, have wrestled with the complex and persistent question of what tomorrow’s Christian faith looks like...continue reading
When an international magazine editor sits down on a chair called “the black woman chair,” for an editorial magazine…
…heads are scratched. Pearls are actually clutched. Swear words are articulated. Anger is not just in the head or heart, it is felt in the body. From anger to sadness to despair. Then you remember this IS our reality. You forgot…since yesterday...continue reading
I've been reading an interview with outspoken atheist comedian Bill Maher in The Atlantic. The interviewer asked him a question about God, and his answer was intriguing to me. The question was along the lines of Pascal's Wager: "What if you're wrong and you're dooming yourself to hell? Do you ever worry about that...continue reading
I often wonder, given sufficient whisky and irony and time: Has there ever been a more delightfully inept, wince-inducing oxymoron in the tortured American lexicon than “conservative Christian...continue reading
This time last year I was married & pregnant with my whole life on the horizon. I would often brag about how happy I (thought I) was and give others advice. I felt good and I felt blessed. I remember writing a blog post with my ex-husband about how to be in a healthy relationship.

The only thing I was missing was the most important part: a strong connection between my creator, my husband and myself.

I am not about to complain about the drama that unfolded following our separation. My son is a divine blessing. Besides, God has a plan. Instead of focusing on the negative, I want to discuss something the children's choir sang about at Reid Temple AME today: WALKING IN AUTHORITY.

Walking in authority is deeper than I have understood in the past. It involves a real overstanding of your spiritual bond with God. It provides the ammunition you need to fight for your soul when evil forces seek to overcome your very being.

This is something I continue to struggle with, but one thing that keeps me afloat is knowing that my God has saved me from abusive and demeaning relationships. My God has provided for me even when my faith was wear. The creator continues to protect me from harm. And my job is to try my hardest each day to WALK IN AUTHORITY.

This is something I will continue to meditate on, but I just felt something on my heart that I thought may help others. Most of all, though, I am striving to be a better me and take it one day at a time.

Much love & tranquility

-Shauntrice (JuneBug's Momma)

Follow Shauntrice's blog Nappy Queen

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others? - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I saw this quote and this picture floating around on Twitter and Instagram last Monday, which was the day of formal recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Every year when people are led to commemorate a special figure in history I am filled with frustration and dismay. MLK's national holiday is no different. I am reminded of how his legacy and his mission have been romanticized and co-opted by mainstream American culture and thought. Quotes from his most prominent and celebrated speeches are posted on Twitter, in Facebook statuses, and turned into memes. These quotes usually contain themes of love, peace, and equality. A commonality within these quotes is the ability to produce a warm feeling inside the millions of people who will read them. While they are a good representation of themes that were present within his movement, there always seems to be a lack of the essential criticisms King made against American society.

It is no secret that King is loved now more than he ever was while alive. Why is this true? Is it the result of a competing ideology admitting fault after an honest reflection of past events? Or, is it the result of a revisionist history that remembers King as a beloved figure that stood on the principles of non-violence in such a way that was never a threat to core American values?

Dr. King was quoted as saying, "A man of conscious can never be a consensus leader." This has been true throughout history. The prophets in the Bible and Jesus Christ himself are great examples of this. At the time of his death, MLK had an approval rating of 30%. How much of his ideology and theology would we actually adhere to today?

In a sea of misappropriation, the picture from above stood out to me. First, because of the amount of times I came across it on various social networks. Second, because no one attempted to offer an explanation of why they agreed that the question asked was persistent and urgent. It must be true if it resonated with so many people.

As Christians we are called to service and we are called to community. In 1 Peter 4:10 the author writes, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." Galatians 5:13-14 states, "For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

The quote by Dr. King speaks to what it means to be a Christian and also what it means to share in this experience we call life. It is a question I think about a lot in my attempt to be less indulged in my own personal ambitions and to be more concerned with how I can help my family, my community, and ultimately every human being alive.

So, what are you doing to help others? This is not an indictment of anyone's character, rather a genuine curiosity to learn about some of the wonderful work that people are doing in the world. Please share below in the comment section.

1. What Kind of World Is This?
What kind of world is it where our elected leaders are always trying to take food away from the hungry? Only two months after a boost in SNAP benefits from the Recovery ACT expired, meaning that $5 billion less is available to help vulnerable people, SNAP is again on the chopping block as Congress negotiates a new Farm Bill...continue reading

The nation will mark the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday with speeches, prayers, and volunteer service.But for decades, retired United Methodist Bishop Woodie W. White has marked the holiday in a more personal way: He writes a “birthday letter” to the civil rights leader who was killed in 1968...continue reading

Go to see an action film this weekend, and in addition to the spectacle of epic visual effects, you will likely encounter a very familiar story line where in the end the good guys win and the bad guy "gets what he deserves." That's the way life is supposed to work, isn't it? Perhaps that's why, when tragedy strikes, we so often find people of faith asking, "Why do bad things happen to good people...continue reading

(RNS) A California pastor made headlines this month when he announced that he will live like an atheist for a year to see what it’s like on the other side of belief. But Ryan Bell is actually just the latest “stunt pastor” to use unorthodox means to draw attention to his message...continue reading

It literally pains me when I hear people take cheap shots at poor black people. Recently, I had a conversation in which someone did just that. The most troubling part is that 9 out 10 times when I have such encounters, the person offering such a diatribe is a white, middle class, person that lives, moves, and breathes purely in dominant culture. They have never lived in poor black neighborhoods and they certainly do not have significant relationships with poor black people...continue reading
I had the idea for this blog post a couple weeks ago, but I thought it best to wait until around this time to release it. Usually, this is the stage, just two weeks into the new year, in which people are slowly becoming less committed to their resolutions.

I know there is much disdain for the phrase "new year, new me." We all have family and friends who commit themselves to something on January 1st, whether it be to exercise more, eat healthier, become a better Christian, etc., and just days into the new year they have already failed to live out those commitments. The phrase probably should be "new year, same old me." This post is not intended to stroke the ego of our skeptics, rather, Lord willing, it will serve as encouragement to those who strive to better themselves.

Although we struggle to stay faithful to our new found endeavors, thankfully we serve a God who is both patient and forgiving. Psalm 86:15 states, "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." As Christians we should seek to emulate these characteristics. We should want to be as patient and forgiving as God is. In that way we can encourage our brothers and sisters and hopefully help them to continue in their journey of changing their lives for the better. Why do we look for our neighbor to fall, just so we can shake our heads in disappointment and say, "I told you so." Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica telling them to encourage one another and to build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). And Proverbs 24:17 advises us as Christians, "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles."

We are called into a role of support. We should be delighted by the fact that people want to change and become better human beings. We should do all we can to help them along the way for two reasons. The first is the biblical call to love our neighbors. The second is that helping others helps us. In our outreach we learn more about ourselves, create positive energy, and also feel better about ourselves and our community.

The turn of a calendar year is a great chance to usher in a new direction in your life. But it is not the only time. Each day you wake up, you should feel like you have a clean slate. If you have failed to live up to your commitment yesterday, then today is the perfect day to recommit yourself. What others say or think about you should not matter. The reality is that most people want to see you fail to become a new person because they are still stuck in their own ways. Misery loves company.

Whether you proclaim the phrase to be "new year, new me"; "new month, new me"; "new week, new me"; "new day, new me"; or "new breath, new me," the same concept should be understood. In this life we are given many chances to get it right and we should always take advantage of those opportunities. Proverbs 24:16a states, "for the righteous falls seven times and rises again." Falling or coming up short does not make us a failure - staying down and not trying again does. No matter how many times in our lives we fail to have our actions match our intentions we should never allow this to discourage us from trying again and again because God is faithful in His promise to keep us. 
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home