Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Emmanuel: God Is With Us!

Yesterday as I was out with Tritty I met my neighbor on the road walking with his son. My neighbors son moved to Boston and had become a pediatric heart doctor. He was always a very fine boy and he had grown into a very fine young man. He had recently become a father and he asked us to stop by to see him. I asked him what he had named his son. He answered Matthew. It gave me reason to pause because my nephew Matthew passed away seven years ago a few days after Christmas. After a third relapse Matthew succumbed to Leukemia at the tender age of sixteen.

Later that evening my family gathered at Matthew’s home for a wonderful Christmastide celebration. The house was packed with the aunts, uncles and children of four families. The food, drink, music and gifting created a festive air of joy but the mirth of the season is always tempered by Matthews absence and the association of his death with Christmas. This time of year is particularly difficult for Matthew’s father. They were exceptionally close and my brother-in-law carries Matthew’s absence in a somber heart that seems to grow a bit larger this time of year. As the evening passed I related my story about meeting my neighbors son on the road that day and the appearance of Matthew. This news uplifted my brother-in-laws spirit. He smiled and said “thats Matthew letting us know he’s around.” Matthew continues to be a real presence in the lives of those who knew him and loved him. In a most real sense he continues to dwell with us.

Emmanuel, means God is with us. God dwells with us. Many believe this to be patented nonsense. They point to the endless string of calamitous events and abhorrent tragedies that plague humanity. If God was loving why does the Benevolent One allow such misfortune to befall his children? If The Omnipotent One is all powerful why does he not come to their aid? If God is the embodiment of love why does the power of evil and the treachery of man seem to multiply and grow laughing in the face of an impotent God? I must admit as a person of faith it can be difficult to answer these questions. Asked in the spirit of truth they are not easily dismissed. A Pollyannish response is not sufficient to halt the eroding power of pessimism, the ambivalence of fatalism and the cynicism it voraciously breeds.

What is our answer?

We have sifted through the rubble strewn streets of Port-Au-Prince.We have extracted our beloved ones from their prisons of concrete and twisted rebar. We worked until utter exhaustion overcame us. We labored in the fervent hope that our exertions would not be in vain to find and liberate one more soul awaiting deliverance. We administered inoculations to ward off the plague of cholera. The awful stalk of the grim reaper has been arrested. The indiscriminate threshing of souls has abated. The construction of new dwellings arise out of the rubble to house those saved from the prisons of concrete and the sickle of disease.

America’s wars rage on. The conflict has mercifully ended for some combatants. Some will experience the joy of a reunion with families, others will find rest in an eternal heavenly peace.   A fragile peace reigns for yet another day on the Korean Peninsula. Dispassionate reason has cooled the temper of belligerence as blessed ones continue to witness for peace to end the abomination of all these unjust wars.

The egregious ecological wound of The Gulf of Mexico is beginning to heal. The good work of vigilant environmental stewards deeply engaged in the work of restoration remain in attentive loving service to our gracious Mother Earth.

The economic distress of the unemployed has been salved with government service and the kindness of family and friends.

The plight of the evicted has been eased. The foreclosures on millions of families has peaked, homes have been opened to those seeking a places to live, shelter workers keep the light of rooms brightly burning so the those in need of a bed may find one.

Sudanese huddling on the windswept desert of the Great Rift Valley, Mexican immigrants crossing hostile borders of the Sonoran desert and the terror stricken LGBT community will come to realize that it will get better. That their situation is not hopeless. The ardor of intolerance will abate and the peace of reconciliation will reign on the throne of understanding and acceptance. All will find sanctuary.

Israeli’s and Arabs with a dogged determination come to the table yet again to talk about the prospects for peace in Palestine.

Missionaries of hope spread the message of peace and reconciliation.

Healers without borders doctor to the distressed.

Carpenters are building hospitable habitats for the homeless.

Teachers are reaching troubled children and adults most needing to hear kind, thoughtful instruction.

Emmanuel! God is with us. Yahweh is forever faithful. The Beneficent One moves across the trouble waters of time to unite Gods Children in a single river of humanity, where justice flows and the Good Shepard finds all lost sheep. Allah softens the hearts of the zealous. God informs a sober reason to the obstinate. The Holy Spirit swaddles all in a blanket of divine love. The Prince of Peace is with us.

As I walked through the doors for Christmastide services I was asked by a church brother if I would sit in with choir. Like the Prophet Samuel I heard the call and answered “here I am.” It was a special unanticipated grace to process into the church on Christmas Eve. The Lord asked me to make a joyful noise and walk with him on this Holy Night. It is a blessing to walk with the Lord as a real presence.

After the nights services as I was leaving the church I witnessed two brethren sitting side by side in the now empty pews. They were father and son. About the time that Matthew died, the boys mother, the mans wife passed away after a heroic fight against cancer. As they sat in the presence of their God, father and son were present for each other. I imagined them also to be in a rapturous communion and loving embrace of their very present mother and beautiful wife.

Emmanuel!

God is with us.

Our expectant hope is realized.

The Word has been made Flesh.

God has broken through.

God remains ever faithful.
God dwells with us.

A good and present helper

guide our hands

open our hearts.

Selah

Christmas 2010

You Tube Music Video:

Soul Stirrers, Were You There

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December 28, 2010 Posted by | faith, family, holiday, seasons | , , , | Leave a comment

Joyeux Noel

Best wishes to  all for a very Happy Holiday.

Our hope remains that the blessing of abundance finds you and that you are led to generously share it with others.

We pray that the grace of peace surrounds you and you joyously carry it to others.

May the love of family and friends embrace you as you reach out to offer a welcome to those that are alone.

We thank you for the blessing of your friendship. You have enriched us beyond all measure.

We wish you a challenging and rewarding 2011.

Peace and Prayers for All the Beloved,

jbm

You Tube Music Video: Nora Jones, Peace

Risk: happiness, peace, serenity

December 24, 2010 Posted by | holiday, peace | , | Leave a comment

Season of Light: Hanukkah

Hanukkah reminds us to bear faithful witness to the miracle of hope. The lamp burned for eight days on oil sufficient for one. Yahweh is the author of all hope.  Its light will never be extinguished as long as we remain mindful to tend the candles and trim the wicks by vigilantly guarding against cynicism, pessimism and  hopelessness.  Hanukkah commands us to stand firm in resolute faith.  Celebrate Hanukkah, meditate and rejoice in the light of hope. Darkness is banished. Yahweh is forever faithful.

Thanks be to God.

Selah

You Tube Video: Lich’vod Hachanukkah -Chaim Nachman Bialik – Chanukah song

Risk: pessimism, cynicism, hopelessness

December 1, 2010 Posted by | culture, faith, holiday, seasons | , , , | Leave a comment

Best Buy Tent City

Its official. The battle has been joined and America’s values are alive and well in the War Against Christmas.  A lead news story on CNN this morning is of a family setting up a tent at the doorway of a Best Buy in Orlando. These intrepid people, steeped in wholesome pursuit of real family values have staked a claim to be first in line for the annual Black Friday deathcage match. These gladiators of consumer capitalism are toughing it out. They choose to courageously suffer the discomforts of the bleak concrete jungle. Their bivouac is a full week in advance of the day after Thanksgiving orgy of shopping that has become an annual rite of American’s unabashed prostration to consumer excess.

This family are truly free market heroes. They will be joined with armies of fellow patriots. Together they will tramp to the Malls of America armed with nothing more then a wallet full of limit challenged credit cards in their battle to stimulate demand for Chinese manufacturers and to thoroughly route the enemies warring against Christmas.

This family is unselfishly sacrificing quality family time. Each member will take turns standing post in this righteous encampment. This will allow other family members rest at home or go about the daily activities of civilian life. For these product purchasing patriots even Thanksgiving will need to be sacrificed at mammon’s alter so they can stand as vigilant sentinels guarding their place at the head of the Best Buy line. The thought of missing bargains or failing to secure the purchase of this years newest hot product due to an expired inventory is a fate just to terrible to contemplate.

This family clearly has their priorities strait. They are determined to satisfy the Christmas wishes of family and friends. These radical entitle-istes will not be denied their 10% discount on X Boxes and Ipods. This family will not rest until the mission to buy a Medal of Honor Black Ops or Mafia 2 “The City of Lost Heaven” video game for the special children in their lives is secured, wrapped and placed under the family’s silver coated Tannenbaum.

Like all thoughtful people this family will pause on Thanksgiving Day or sometime during their 168 hour vigil to express deep gratitude that their tent is much nicer then the typical residences recently springing up on the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince.

Soldier on you bold armies of the night.  Solider on.

You Tube Video: Tenting Tonight

Risk: values, culture, priorities

November 20, 2010 Posted by | business, commercial, culture, ethics, holiday, religion, seasons, values | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome Diwali

Today marks the arrival of Diwali. Diwali is widely celebrated by the Hindu, Jain and Sikh religions.  Diwali, known as the Festival of Light, is commemorated over five-day period around the mid point of the autumn season.

Diwali speaks to the timeless human desire for victory to triumph over evil.  Diwali celebrants light lamps in the hope that goodness continues to illuminate our hearts and homes to assure that the light of goodness remains ascendant over the darkness of evil.  Diwali asks everyone to be stewards of goodwill by mindfully tending lamps to eradicate the darkness of evil and light the way for the spirit of truth revealed and made manifest in the good light of divine love.

We welcome the season of Diwali and wish all celebrants a most meaningful and spiritually fulfilling experience.

Selah

You Tube Video: Origin of Diwali

Risk: darkness, light, good, evil

November 5, 2010 Posted by | holiday, religion, seasons | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Today is The Feast of St. Francis.  St. Francis is known to many and venerated by some because of his ministry that sought to balance a profound personal spirituality with a universal connectedness to the natural world.  At its heart, St. Francis faith honored the divinity of all life.  He  sought a human experience that embraced a practice of stewardship as an expression of gratitude to protect and honor our sacred connection to nature.  St. Francis is know for an honest humility and a deep respect for all of God’s creatures as his way of practicing a sacramental life.  St. Francis’ prayer, Brother Sun, Sister Moon is a wonderful example of  his humility and deep gratitude for the vast and interdependent universe of which humans are but a small part.  We honor St. Francis on his feast day and give thanks for his life and blessed example.

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,

All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong,

and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.

Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin!

Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.

No second death can do them harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.

You Tube Music Video:

Dionne Warwick: What the World Needs Now

Marvin Gaye:  Mercy Mercy Me

Pete Seeger: Where Have the Flowers Gone?

Risk: nature, stewardship, sustainability, respect

October 3, 2010 Posted by | culture, ecological, environment, faith, holiday, life, love, prayer, religion, Spirituality | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rosh Hashanah 2010

Today the High Holy Days begin with the observance of the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah.   Rosh Hashanah 2010, marks the 5771 year on the Jewish Calendar.  Rosh Hashanah , The Day of Awe, is a day of awakening.  The Shofar is sounded to rouse those from a sleep of spiritual and moral ambivalence calling all to a season of personal introspection and examination.  The new year provides an opportunity to identify character flaws, meditate on the impact of our actions, make amends and take corrective steps that honors affirmative relationships and breeds transformative growth.

The High Holy Days will conclude in ten days with the observance of Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement. The culmination of a period of deep examination and action, Yom Kippur offers all a clean slate to begin again.  Opportunities to start anew are truly a divine grace that should be eagerly embraced with intentional gratitude.  An opportunity to make amends with those we have injured, forge news bonds of trust, restore integrity and stand upright and unstained in the presence of God is a miraculous grace.

Year 5772 will not arrive for some currently present to mark this years Rosh Hashanah.  Indeed some of us will not see tomorrows sunrise.  The day of transfiguration has come.  We must examine ourselves to discover what must heal.  We must engage our neighbors to understand what rifts must be repaired.  We must open our eyes to banish the darkness of self serving pursuits.  Doing so will allow us to stand in the restorative light of God’s unconditional love.  It is up to each of us to take the needed action to reinvigorate, restore and set things right.  Lift up your ears and hear the piercing peal of the Shofar.  This Day of Awe calls to us.

Shalom

You tube music video:  The Klezmatics Araber Tants

Risk: opportunity, restoration

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Bible, faith, heal, holiday, life, psychology, religion, seasons | , , | Leave a comment

Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a component of Chaos Theory.  A butterfly flaps its wings in a far away place creating tiny ripples that begin a flow of cause and effect energy that eventually creates a hurricane force wind.  These tiny ripples, seemingly irrelevant can precipitate and contribute to a major event. The right set of factors comes together and a major event takes place.  Can the humble service of an single person create a butterfly effect?

Last year President Obama designated Martin Luther King Day as a day of service.  It seems a fitting designation for a day dedicated to a man who lived a life in service to others and willingly gave that life to realize his ideals.  MLK, Jr. offered his life to the struggle for civil rights to protect the human dignity of all people.  There is no higher calling for citizens of a democratic republic.  Civil rights and the protection of human dignity is the foundation of a democratic society.  Equal protection under the law for all citizens and unfettered access to all its rights and privileges are the surest safeguard of a peoples security and liberty.  MLK, Jr. perished in the struggle to enlarge and protect that liberty for all people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, creed or color.  It is the responsibility of all citizens to place themselves in service to protect and enlarge the dream of liberty and freedom.  A failure to assume this responsibility risks failure of our democratic culture and the relinquishment of personal liberty.

As individuals,  we are overwhelmed by the massive problems that confront us.  We freeze in place as we witness an avalanche of cataclysmic world events.  The endless duration of incomprehensible wars, the vicious repression employed by intractable power elites, the posturing and threats of great nations intent on projecting their power, global economic calamity and disenfranchisement brought on by institutional excess and governance failure, cultural intolerance spawning sectarian violence and the massive natural disaster calamities intent on assaulting  our humanity by delivering devastation to the most vulnerable among us; conspire to immobilize us.   As a people we are left to stand mute unable to comprehend and unwilling to act out of fear of wasting good efforts to no effect.  Ambivalence of conviction, vacillation of intent, cynicism in thought are subversive elements that are more powerful then 1,000 Al-Qeada cells because the subversion of terror nests securely in the minds of seemingly free people.  These subversives incessantly whisper “distrust liberty for all and learn to loathe the responsibility that freedom requires of free people.”

This weeks Haitian earthquake is an event that startles, humbles and hopefully shakes us from our torpor and ignites a desire to serve.  The massive destruction and sweeping misery of its aftermath is a clarion call for a humane response to address this assault on our shared humanity.   Yet in its wake, leading televangelist Pat Robertson opines that the earthquake was God’s way of delivering retribution on the people of Haiti.  Mr. Robertson believes the old Haitian superstitious folklore that Haiti made a pact with the devil to free themselves from the colonial domination of France.  Mr. Robertson’s theology proves Thomas Paine’s wise maxim that “a belief in a cruel God makes for a cruel man.”    Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of President Obama’s immediate call to marshal aid to the stricken country prompted the Ditto-head and Chief to state that the President’s call to aid Haiti was a political ploy designed to gain favor with the light and darker shades of people of color.

We recoil in horror at Pat Robertson’s vision of a God that keeps score.  A God whose patience spans generations,  eagerly waiting to notch another victim into the wooden handle of his deadly cosmic six shooter.  Such spiritual poverty and moral bankruptcy is a self evident truth.  We are equally appalled though hardly surprised at Mr. Limbaugh’s deep cynicism and his gleeful celebration of racism and partisan vindictiveness.  What both pronouncements share is an offer of absolution for moral ambivalence to their constituents and a warning to remain politically suspicious of institutional  response to this massive human tragedy.

God weeps at the peril of his children and the Beneficent One is moving nations and people to serve and respond to the pressing need of the Haitian people.  Individuals from all over the world are giving time, treasure and prayers in response to this tragedy.  People of good will everywhere are placing themselves in service to the people of Haiti out of compassion to relieve suffering and a compulsion to protect the sacredness of our shared humanity.  The world goes up in a collective cheer each time a search and rescue team extract another small soul from the hell of a mountain of rubble.  Refusing to walk away from the plight, refusing to avert our eyes from the pressing need of a people in need is a desperate rescue mission of a most fragile respect for our shared humanity.

Small people everywhere are flapping tiny butterfly wings, creating a gale force wind to knock down the walls that divide us.  It is the only way to solve the massively complex  global problems that work to undermine us.  The collective desire to change overcomes the sense of our powerlessness to change.  Just like a Baptist Minister from Montgomery, or a tiny woman who refused to go to the back of the bus, big things emanate from the smallest places.  All one must do is begin to spread the wings and flap.  Today is a very good day to flap our wings and offer prayers that our small individual actions taken together will blow down the barriers that divide and address the problems that vex humanity.

You Tube Music Video: Mavis Staples, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Risk: ambivalence, paralysis, cynicism,

 

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Civil Rights, community, culture, democracy, faith, government, holiday, LGBT, MLK, politics, seasons, social justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Resolution 2010: Gotta/Gonna

gonna commence a journey
gotta get on the way
provision and direction
will appear along the way

gotta open brand new doors
become a bit unhinged
gonna loosen the damn tethers
that forge the chains within

gotta sail uncharted waters
lose sight of familiar land
gonna become a fearless sailor
track footprints on exotic sand

some jagged mountains beckon
sheer cliffs gotta be scaled
the ascent gonna bring blessed growth
not to try is to miserably fail

gonna explore hidden valleys
with courage, grit and resolve
all risks are opportunities
problems that gotta be solved

gotta leave my tiny comfort zone
with great dispatch and haste
a new life is mine to have
gonna banish fear with grace

*************
*************
*************

Happy New Year
I predict that 2010 is gonna be the most important year of our lives.
It’s gotta be, because its the only one we got.

Peace and Prayers Beloved
jbm

You Tube Music Video:  Auld Lang Syne Red Hot Chilli Peppers

You Tube Music Video: Beach Boys,  Sail On Sailor

December 31, 2009 Posted by | holiday, poetry, seasons | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wecome Kwanzaa

Tonight marks the arrival of Kwanzaa. People of good will everywhere welcome this opportunity to bring more light into a world enshroud in darkness.  Kwanzaa celebrates community as a vessel to receive and dispense the flow of hope and service required to minister and serve others. It is a wonderful reminder on the importance of community and excellent opportunity to strengthen the bonds of the individual within communities.

The Ancestors Prayer

Our great African parents who are among us we humbly offer our thanks
for the many blessings you have given.

We extend our love to its ultimate state of being –
For the suffering that you have endured so that we may not suffer so.

Mothers of our great African nation Fathers of our African selves –
We invoke you to furthur lead and guide us to a higher understanding

Of our true greatness –
And a more encompassing dedication of love for our African people.

Parents of all African children;
Guide us toward a greater unity –
Guide us in a stronger African Value System and lead us into the zenith of respect and love for our people, through education and the
“Family Communal Structure”

We swear upon the heritage and legacy that you have left us to uphold and sustain our rightful status on this earth, and to continue the struggle for the total mental and physical liberation of all African People.

The following is a Christian prayer offering for Kwanzaa

O come all you faithful, rejoicing and victorious! Come, let us adore the Lord of life and goodness, as we celebrate Kwanzaa and the African American heritage. Come and give thanks and praise for the journey. Jesus, by your mercy, grant us the grace to cherish this life. Guide us to uphold the dignity and respect of life from the moment of conception to its natural end at death. Lead us to be to true to our nature as you created us. We ask these things because we have our roots in the divine origin of Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier, Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Peace to all this Kwanzaa Season.

You Tube Music Video:  Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

December 26, 2009 Posted by | community, faith, holiday, seasons | , | Leave a comment