Dear Christian Blogger

Today I met a Christian blogger. “Culture of Violence?”  He wrote. Then, he proceeded with verbal assault.

Previously, I referenced his work, but I was respectful. I know how to hold my tongue when it comes to judging others. That’s not my place. I was called to love.

This is my personal response to the writer. 


Dear Christian Blogger,

Actually, the initial thoughts behind our culture of violence go much deeper than that.

Of course, you approached my blog with your glasses of judgement meticulously formulated and focused on your own way of thinking. After all, you’re a Christian. So, anything you do and say MUST be with good intentions, right?

You made sure to let me know it was “nothing personal.” It’s just your religion to point out people’s tragedies, shortcomings and faults, right? I understand.

You’re a Christian.

You have an important message to share with the world. Do you know what story I think of when I think of Christians much like yourself?

Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’ greatest servants. Others fed Him, worshiped Him, followed Him and shouted His praises…

She washed His dirty feet with her hair and she was humbled!

I imagine she felt so honored because she was a whore. (As you’ve attempted and failed to make me to be in your introduction.)

Or maybe she wasn’t holy enough or clean enough, much like the diseased woman who strained and reached out to simply touch the hem of His garment.

I imagine I’m a lot like them.

After all, that was your intention, right? You’ve got to appeal to your readers who are similar to you; their Bibles turned to the page that gives permission for judgement.

It’s okay. I understand.

You’re Christians.

My previous relationship was with a female. The next time you want to attack me, read further! You would have had great ammunition to keep you focused.

I began that relationship the same month that I was violently sexually assaulted in someone’s front yard, while 5 other people watched.

But hey, make light of my pain and use it for your sermon. Amen? Thank God, Jesus never did that!

In all of my articles, at no point do I ever blame police. However, when you’re a writer and you cover stories that are in the media, the facts that you report have to be exact. Your kind of judgement wouldn’t make it to Elite Daily. But hey, you’re welcome to try.

If you had scanned less and read more, your information about my concept would be thorough and well-debated.

But it’s not.

See, this was my first article on our culture of violence. It was published in May 2014. You’d know, if you read it.

My second article covers who is to blame for the culture we’ve created. It very clearly points no fingers to anyone but us.

We the people!

My third article to address our culture of violence was this article. It’s about child abuse and domestic violence. But I’m sure in your eyes, the victim is to blame.

It’s okay. I understand.

You’re Christian, right?

That makes your prejudices acceptable and justifies judgement. At least, that’s the message you’re sending.

Then, I wrote about violence going viral. No, I didn’t blame police, at all! I called the people to action to stop the violence by exclaiming,

These are our children!

If you ask me, the fact that you’ve “read” so much of my work and given it so much thought (clearly), tells me a lot about your love, your thoughts and your heart.

Actions speak louder than words.

After reading a ridiculously loud message of love, you found the hate and judgement. The same way in your article about the death Leelah Alcorn.

You see, with every single article I have written, I’ve used “we, people, us” etc.

I’ve reminded people that we are all human and I’ve plead to the people,

Tell them that you love them and they matter!

God called us to do just that.

Sounds like He has called you to judge. And the message that you’re sending speaks loads.

Doors closed.

If God has called you to be a light in this world, why is it that none of your posts reflect it?

We do have a culture of violence.

Some of the most horrendous acts of violence we see today
flow from the very mouths of people.

Much like yourself.

Keep your religion. I’ll keep my faith and choose love.

Love changes people.

 

Their Hashtags Are Trending Now. Will We Listen?

I am an Oklahoma woman. One small voice in the middle of the Bible Belt, in a city known as the Heart of Oklahoma. I used to believe this was as far as my voice could ever reach. Then, I found out I was pregnant.

Nine days before my daughter’s birth, my partner left and never returned. I could have succumbed to the pain and anger I felt, but I didn’t. I had my first child, moved homes, became a college student for the first time and discovered the meaning of being called “Mom.”

That’s when I realized my voice could reach further than I had imagined — it must.

My daughter is 1-year-old, and every day, I grow more fearful and worried about what her future might hold. If something happened to me today, who would stand up for my daughter tomorrow? Who would protect my child for me?

This week, I realized, no one will stand for my daughter unless she becomes another hashtag that goes viral.

#OKGirls

Yesterday, Stacy Wright and Danielle Brown led a walkout and protest to present the Norman High School administration with an urgent call-to-action and one very real message:

We will stand for our daughters because you didn’t.

While speaking with Stacy, the voice of the mothers, she emphasized their anger and shock at the lack of action taken by the teachers and other members of the administration.

She expressed that the #YesAllDaughters viral campaign is not about the way the Norman Police Department is handling the investigation; it’s about the school allowing the victims to be bullied. Bullied to the point where they no longer felt like they could return to the classroom.

By the end of the protest on Monday, three victims became four victims. Another one of our daughters became a victim of violence.


#Ferguson

On August 9, Lesley McSpadden lost her son, Michael Brown. After the decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed Brown, McSpadden reacted to news that her son will not receive justice with the same intensity and emotion to the ruling.

As she screamed and wept in disbelief and anger, millions of us stood and raised our hands and voices along with her.

When her son hit the ground in a storm of unmerited violence and bullets, the people of Ferguson, MO learned that their voices can reach further than their hometown — they must.


#HandsUpDontShoot

On Saturday, the parents of Tamir Rice sat in the hospital with their 12-year-old son. They sat beside him, hoping and praying for God to spare his life, after he was shot two times in the chest by a police officer.

Tamir had responded to police with a childlike response; he put his hands down to his waistband and pulled out his fake gun. Even the officers of the department confirm it was never aimed at police.

On Sunday, those parents mourned the death of a son. Another one of our children becomes a victim to violence.


This is our culture.

Now, news networks are careful to specify “rookie cop” when telling the public how another one of our children lost his life. As if being a rookie makes it alright.

As if we won’t notice the black demographic that’s been targeted over and over, while we pretend the Civil Rights Movement erased bigotry, racism and hate from our nation.

Schools hide behind politics and professional agendas after failing to protect the students, while getting paid from the pockets of the parents of children they are obligated to protect. They blame the victims. They laugh at the students. They ignore the bullies and the rumors they hear in the hall.

Police officers gun down our children and then justify it:

Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions.

You’re damn right, we’re angry!

So, how do we respond?


They’re Our Children!

Violence is trending, and there’s no hashtag to say it, so allow me.

We have a culture of violence and a tolerance of injustice.

We spend a lot of time acknowledging gender roles and fighting for rights: “Stop the violence against women!” But, we forget our children are boys and girls. Children are children.

When one child suffers, as parents who have held the same small hands and loved the same small hearts, we should be front and center when it comes to speaking out against any and all violence.

Black or white, boy or girl, teen or toddler, well-behaved or not, every child depends on our voice. We are the parents.

We’ve been so busy sticking to one cause or side for so long when it comes to the subject of domestic violence, we’ve neglected to see the bigger picture. We have tunnel vision when it comes to the stats.

Domestic violence affects 12.7 million people each year — men, women and children, alike. Violence doesn’t discriminate; it has no lines. The corruption is not in the gender, it is in the people.

It’s time for men and women to drop their battle signs and hold up a new one:

NO MORE CHILDREN. NO MORE VICTIMS. WE ARE PARENTS.

I stopped supporting the fight to end violence against women. It’s time to end violence against all people.

What Every 20-Something Can Take Away From Robin Williams In ‘Dead Poets Society’

“What Every 20-Something Can Take Away From Robin Williams In ‘Dead Poets Society’”
— as published via Elite Daily

He’s not just another dead actor whose drug use finally caught up with him. He’s not just a celebrity whose lifestyle became the cause of his death while living a life of recklessness abandon. Robin Williams is more than just a famous entity whose death is being exploited by the media.

The death of Robin Williams is a profound and tragic loss for the entire entertainment industry and for our generation and the generation before us.

He is an inspiration who will continue to be remembered by many. He is one of the voices that helped carry and inspire a whole generation into action; he gave teenagers all over the world inspiration to become amazing and fulfill their dreams.

With one role, Williams moved us to speak out, question the norm, rise against opposition, seize the day, use our voices, leave a mark, be loyal to our friends and causes and to dare to be different. In that role, we knew him as Mr. Keating.

“The Dead Poets Society”

It is the movie that stirred my generation, and continues to echo the morals and lessons through each person who remembers the meaning behind Oh Captain, my Captain!without Googling the phrase or searching the poem for quick reference.

We know it by heart, and we know it because Robin Williams embraced the role in such a way that it spoke to our souls and moved us. He moved us, and we are a better, stronger generation because if it.

But O heart! Heart! Heart!
O the bleeding drops of red
Where on the deck my Captain lies;
Fallen cold and dead. — Walt Whitman


Oh Me! Oh Life!

We’ve all been there: We’ve questioned the purpose of life and the meaning of existence. We’ve been at the end of our rope, hands bleeding, heart failing, emotions fleeting and we’ve questioned why we should hang on any longer.

We scurry about, working, chipping and molding ourselves in order to become and achieve what our teachers, parents, government and our own personal ambitions require and demand of us. Daily, we fight to establish our purpose while trying to prove our passion.

It never stops just because we grow older; we question our inadequacy while we are young, and we carry it like a blankie into adulthood without question.

Meanwhile, we cling to the rules, limits and the lines that have been sketched out for us from different people and we strive to meet them all. Then we find ourselves flailing in water far over our heads, still trying to meet every requirement.

We kill our own voices while fighting to conform to the voices that have spoken before us. Mr. Keating, with the help of Robin Williams, taught our generation to say no to conformity and status-quo thinking.

He taught us that when we are challenged with the questions, “Why are we here?” “Why Me?” “What is the purpose of life?” to reflect on this answer and to live it, own it and embrace it:

Oh me! Oh life! Of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! So sad, recurring — what good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. — Walt Whitman


The Play Must Go On

In the face of suicide, loss, grief and media, the play must go on and we are the ones who lead it. No matter the hand that claims a life, be it that life’s own hand or another’s, there is no great victory in death; no one wins.

No matter the connection or relation to Williams, many lives are touched, if not changed, by just one loss.

So as we bow our heads to grieve and type our hashtags to show we remember; as we celebrate his life, remember his work and question his death; as we get caught up in life’s hustle and bustle of media jargon and coverage, let us not forget our role in the play.

Let us not neglect our own voices. Let us not fail to remember the voices that have spoken to us over the years and helped change us. Let us not forget to grab our pens, our ink, our paint and write our message as if it were our final performance.

When you have exited the stage, the curtain has fallen and as the audience takes home your message, what will your verse be?