Sunday, February 26, 2006

Weekly Bible verse(s)

Peace and Blessings,

I pray all is well with everyone. The verse I chose for this week is the following:

"There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
-Galatians 3:28 (NKJ AMP)

Although when Paul initially spoke these words he was primarily referring to the discrimination of Gentiles, this first demonstrates to me the power of Christ as not just a source of salvation, but a source of unification. It's not by chance that the impetus fueling the civil rights movement was justice for and unity among all peoples, and that Christianity provided the foundation and moral core of the movement. Whether the injustice is economic, gender-related, social, racial, or whatever, to be a Christian is to advocate for justice and unity. I pray everyone has a blessed week! Speekonit...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

More than meets the eye?

Peace and blessings,

Ever since I can remember, I have always been a fan of superheroes. It started with Voltron and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons. Around 9 or 10 years old, I also became interested in comic books, more specifically marvel comics. My all time favorite superhero group by far is the X-men, and my favorite solo superhero is Spiderman. It has since been over a decade later, and I still find myself buying comic books and watching classic superhero cartoons. As I get older, one of my goals is to become more purposeful in all I do, business and recreational. Therefore, the question arises: why am I just as, if not more interested in superheroes now than I was back when I would have had the costumes to match? Not surprisingly, the answer to this question led to more questions. I realized that my current fascination with superheroes stems from the fact that I actually learn from them. More specifically, when I watch an episode of X-men or Spiderman, I see more than just action-packed characters. I see individuals who struggle with complex issues of identity, relationships, and moral agency within a socio-political context. The following pics are courtesy of
  • Marvel
  • .

    For example, I argue that the life of Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spiderman) somewhat mirrors the Christian Walk. Once he received his powers, he struggled with whether or not to use his powers for self-ish reasons or to help others. Similarly, as Christians God has entrusted us with wisdom, discenrment, and spiritual authority over Satan, but it's up to us to decide whether we are going to use what God has blessed us with to bless others. It may sound Cliche-ish, but it's on that "to whom much is given, much is required" steez.

    On more of a social level, the X-men are a group of mutants who've dedicated their lives to working towards unity between humans and mutants. I believe that the X-men's decision to protect those who fear and hate them (i.e. humans) and their strivings for unity resemble the civil rights movement and the ills of racisim. This idea of racism and societal outcasts was made more clear to me while learning about the plight of a group of mutants known as the Morlocks in an episode of X-men. Like the X-men, they are feared and hated by humans. Unlike the X-men, however, their mutant characteristics are more visible (i.e. they have more physcial and facial deformities), therefore they cannot "pass" as human. As a result, they live underground, and have to steal food to survive. This dynamic of having one group of mutants who are more marginalized in society than another group relates to past and contemporary divisions bewteen people with darker skin and those with lighter-skin, and how "light-skin" black and brown people appear more acceptible in mainstream American media.

    In terms of superheroes' political relevance, the Black Panther's name should speak for itself. The Black Panther is the first prominent Black superhero. He lives in an African nation that was unaffected by European colonization. He protects his nation from colonization and other countries' attempts to exploit his nation's resources. Sound familiar? He first appeared in issue #52 of the Fantastic Four in 1966, the same year that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was formed in Oakland, Ca by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Coincidence? Hardly. It doesn't take deep analysis to see there's a connection. In a recent Black Panther comic (part of a four-part crossover series with the X-men), the Black Panther addresses the issue of the death penalty in Texas. Such a comment would not have been necessary if he was simply an action-packed character, suggesting that there's more to many superheroes than what meets the eye.

    The above examples have led me to the following theory: Although superheroes are often known for their special powers, they provide insight into moral, political, and societal issues. Moreover, I argue that because children are often fascinated with superheores, adults and educators should atleast consider the potential educational import of superheroes such as Spiderman, X-men, and The Black Panther as tools to promote critical thinking and the awareness of social and political issues among children. I am really interested in this issue, so I'm looking forward to hearing what others think about it. Peace, Blessings, and speekonit...

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Weekly Bible verse(s)

    Peace and Blessings,

    Lord willing, i'm going to try to post a bible scripture or two every week that I think speaks to a Christian perspective towards the issues discussed on this site as well as scriptures that I personally like. Feel free to comment to the post and include your favorite scriptures or those that you feel may apply to the issues discussed on the site. For this week (as well as next week because this post is at the end of the week), i'll start it off with Isaiah 61:1 which reads:
    "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has annointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound."

    Source: New King James Amplified

    This is one of my favorite scriptures because it speaks to the revolutionary aspect of Christianity, where Christians are agents of social change and advocates of human rights. In an article I read this week for a class i'm taking on the New Testament, the author argues that to understand the plight of people of African descent in America( perceptions, resistance, understanding, etc...), we must understand the different ways in the Bible has functioned within Africans and people of African descent throughout history (especially during slavery). In addition, he argues that people of African descent manipulated the Bible to fit their social experiences during different periods in history. In other words, their meaning of the Bible during the early years of slavery is different from that of later years of slavery, from once they were free, etc...Now while I agree with his first argument that how he view America is related to our understanding of the Bible, I have an issue with the use of the word "manipulation." In my opinion, it was the Europeans (and anyone else) who used the Bible and Christianity to justify slavery who manipulated the Bible, not Africans. Africans and people of African descents' interpretation of the Bible during different periods in history are not examples of manipulations but a succession of scriptural truth. God does not like individuals manipulating His word for the exploitation of others in the name of greed. Moreover, Jesus' ministry was about healing and empowering the oppressed and marginalized. He emphasized the importance of and commanded us to love one another and to put others before ourselves. Neither of these commands could be achieved by using the Bible to justify slavery. Until next time...speekonit

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    On Katrina aid...

    A few months ago I was reading an editorial on a hip hop website, and I gained a better understanding of the phrase "put your money where your mouth is." Now, this particular phrase doesn't even fully apply to the individual I am referring to because as long as I've followed his NBA career, he's never came off to me as someone who is "on a pedastal" because of his fame and fortune. The individual I am referring to is Kevin Garnett. I found out that to aid the Katrina victims, he has vowed to build one house per month for two years! It's amazing how God uses people to bless others. Although alot of major corporations "gave" money to help people after Katrina, I feel like to what extent are you "giving" if it's only to indciate the amount you give as a tax write-off later. Also, I felt like with the major contracting that went out to certain big name construction companies, while grass roots organizations and communities who traveled to New Orleans to offer their services were turned away, it begs the question of what does "help" entail in these type of situations? How can certain companies have a monoploy on the type of aid that can be applied towards the rebuilding of the New Orelans community? In my opinion, Kevin Garnett's vow is not out of financial (tax-break incentives) or political reasons (I think Tommy Hilfiger's appearance on BET's "save oursleves" telethon was very political, but that's another issue), but it was from the heart. For one, he's using his resources to building homes for people at a time when Katrina victims are now being evicted from the hotels they've been staying. Where are these people going to go? I know much more needs to be done, and I pray that God puts it on all of hearts to be more compassionate towards those in need. Even if we can't physically or financially contribute at the moment, we can definately pray. There's indeed power in prayer, and moreso when many people are praying about the same issue. I've literally prayed for something in the morning and received it later than afternoon. Lastly, let's not forget that no one gets to where they are at by themselves! We're either products of people looking out for us (whether we realize it or not), people praying for us, or both (which is probably the case). Peace, blessings, and let's remember to pray for ur brothers and sisters here and abroad who lack the very things we take for granted...speekonit

    Sunday, February 12, 2006

    Holy Hip-Hop resources section added!!!

    Peace and Blessings,

    I pray everyone had a blessed and relaxing weekend. I've added a new section to the left that includes reviews, sample tracks, interviews, and more info on some of the hottest Christian emcess and hip-hop groups this side of heaven. I tried to only include reviews of Artists whose music I've heard before. As my collection increases, so will this list of resources. In the upcoming weeks, I'll also be adding my own reviews on some of these albums. Feel free to post comments about these mcees, or mcees that are not on the list. Until next time, God bless and speekonit...

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    On that Biblical steez!!!

    Peace and Blessings to all,

    I just read that article about the 37-pound woman who gave birth to a 3-pound baby boy (see link to the left). All I can say is God is good! Although she had two prior miscarriages, her and her husband stayed prayed up and determined, and now they've given birth a child destined to fulfill God's purposes for his life. This story reminds me of the many accounts in the Bible where God came through for women who didn't think it was physically or biologically possible for them to get pregnant (Sarah-Abraham's wife, Elizabeth-John the Baptists' wife, etc...). I pray for all the best with their new family, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. Speekonit...

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Back like I left something!

    Wassup everyone,

    I pray everyone had a blessed and safe holiday season and new years. I was doing alot of traveling and taking care of finals in January, therefore I aplogize for not having any updates last month. The page has recently been updated, and some new articles have been added. I urge everyone to take a moment of silence and reflect on the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (as we just celebrated his holiday), and his wife Coretta (who was called to glory last week). Let's never forget the sacrafice they, and many others who went unrecognized, made so that the generations that followed would have a better life. The people who made it possible for us to get here are passing away, so now it's our turn see to it that the generations after us will have better lives and opportunites. Always remember, that what we do (or don't do) today affects future generations! On another note, soon (in about a week or two) I am going to be adding two extra sections to the site. One section will be dedicated to Christian hip-hop, which will include album reviews, artists interviews, and possibly hip hop quotables. The other seciton will deal with research that I find particularly interesting. So make sure to check back for the updates. Peace, blessings, and let's do it big in 06!