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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Dangerously living in a fool’s paradise.

coolio 1

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you are going outside to take a walk and enjoy the brush of the heat on your skin. You change your mind, head back inside. Suddenly, you remember that you forgot to take your cell phone with you. But, you want to spend quality time with yourself un-interrupted, like meditate as you stroll around the neighborhood. You don’t want to be reminded of that heart ache you’ve been trying to bury, or that disturbing message you’d received that got you twisted and confused.  The back lash from the grapevine!

Instead, you go back inside, grab a bottle of water and sacrificially bury your cell phone inside the kitchen closet and walk out of the door; chin up, chest out, feeling proud of your little courage. You are certainly on a roll! Phew!

Wait-a-minute! ’Congratulations! Awesome bravery…but, for how long?

I remember in 1995 when the song “Gangsta Paradise by Coolio was just coolio 3released. Every house party in Port Harcourt then played it like they dined and wined with Coolio himself! I didn’t understand the content of the lyrics much, but we all just hummed to the chorus and showed off our hot steps.

Apparently, until much later when I sat down to watch the movie it featured in: “Dangerous Minds” Starring Michelle Pfeiffer as retired U.S. Marine Lou Anne Johnson, who took up a teaching position at Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, in 1989, where most of her students were African-American and Latino teenagers from East Palo Alto, a poverty-stricken, racially segregated, economically deprived city at the opposite end of the school district., the film was released to a mixture of mostly negative critical reception, but became a surprise box office success in the summer of 1995, leading to the creation of a short-lived television series.

At the end of the year, the teacher announces to the class that she will not continue teaching at the school, which prompts an unbridled display of emotion from the students who refuse to let her leave. Overwhelmed, she decides to stay. Hmm!  Yeah…’stay back with the same students who had wickedly crawled up her skin into misery! Who does that?

So, our life is filled with twisters – indecisions, contemplating over lifelong struggles, overcrowded schedules, impossiblecoolio 2 demands from friends and families, unrealistic expectations, emotional bankruptcy, and physical exhaustion. During those turbulent times, how did you handle it?

Growing up, I would run and hide under my blanket or just bury myself in a good book and block the world out until the storm passes over! But now, my blanket is consciously pulled off by my 3 wonderful children reminding me that  (1) Homework needs to be reviewed (2) Dinner needs to be served! (3) Mom! life goes onjust step out of that blanket and get-it-together!

So, I have come to two realizations; first, there will always be another storm and second, what I must do is learn how to prepare for storms before they hit or deal with the storm and move forward!

As we approach the end of the year, let’s think back to the past months and review the reasons why we have been stagnant, stuck or suppressed? any reasons why we just need to bury some hatchets and start afresh?  Have we embraced solitude after a storm?

‘Are we sincerely seeking God’s face for direction? how about how brave Michelle Pfeiffer was in the movie as she dealt with challenges that made her stronger and daring even at the face of death? Or Coolio’s heart rendering concerns on how we live our lives in false declaration?  ‘are we still in tune with personal goals to do better? Are we addicted to social praise? Craving for recognition or acceptance by a confused world itself?

Why do we still always end up hurting each other, with our bashful words and resentful attitude? Even as we portray such magnitude of holiness, while our personal mirror sees us as Pharisees? ‘Aren’t we still living in that hooded paradise? Hopefully, by the time we begin the countdown, our hearts will take us to places our emotions dare to thread; so that our mind, body and soul will be renewed for 2016.

Yours in HOPE as I share one of my favorite Coolio’s music/Dangerous Minds soundtrack: “Gangsta Paradise”

Yinka.

 

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The Battlefield: by Wadza Mhute

battlefield

In the past few weeks’ protests ignited on college campuses across the country.

The impetus for the University of Missouri protest was the Black Lives Movement that started from the death of Michael Brown last year at the hand of a policeman.

Students at the university under the banner of Concerned Student 1950 (referring to the year the first black students were admitted into the school) wanted the removal of the university president. After incidents of racism and antisemitism were not taken seriously by the president, protests culminated in his resignation. Subsequently protests at Yale and Ithaca College started because of similar incidents on their campuses.

It seems the country has been re-ignited with the fires of revolution that swept through the country in the 1950s and 1960s. This thing we call “skin color melanin” really has caused division and will continue to divide.

What are we to do in these times? It is important to know that there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1: 9-10 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

The only thing constant is God. We have to understand and believe that, If we protested every slight issue whether based on racism, on class divisions, on xenophobia – where does it end? As long as there is evil in this world, those issues will exist. I am not saying we need to remain silent when provoked but we should not put all our hope, all our faith in an unjust earthly system. Change came in the 1960s and again in 2008 with the inauguration of the first black President.

The revolution indeed caused change.

Perspective is needed. If you look at the revolutions against slavery which led to the Emancipation Proclamation in the 1863 and the civil rights movement lead by Martin Luther King, there was a common thread – Christianity. Let us even go back to the slavery of the Israelites in Egypt. God heard their cries just as he will hear the cries of the protesters in 2015 but the key is to cry to God above and not man below. While boots are crisscrossing campuses, let knees also stain the ground as prayers simultaneously go up to the one who can bring freedom to all.

Isaiah 49: 24-25  ‘Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce? But this is what the Lord says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, And plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, And your children I will save.

We need to see ourselves as God sees us, we need to love as God loves and we need to put our faith in God.

God sees all.

Written by Wadza Mhute for #Moving forward with Yinka.

 

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