Are you stupid or dumb? Yes, you… watching this video. I mean according to the definitions. I’m obviously kidding. You see, I’m pretty sure that you’re neither stupid, nor dumb. However, there are definitely people in this country that are counting on you being lazy, and calling you stupid and dumb for being lazy. They’re called politicians and I’m talking to every citizen of the United States of America. We are some of the most intelligent and hardest working people in the world, yet we fall for the one of the oldest tricks in the book every single day. The latest example… The spectacle that is the impeachment of President Trump.
I just don’t get it. Let me clarify. I understand what impeachment is. It’s a charge, not a conviction, but a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office. In the case of the President, the House has to charge him. The Senate has to convict him. If the Senate doesn’t convict him, then he will finish his term as POTUS. However, if he is convicted, He’ll be removed from office and we’ll have to deal with Mike Pence until, at least, 2020. If you couldn’t stomach the POTUS, what makes you think that you’d be able to tolerate his pick to be his successor? But, that’s neither here nor there. What I don’t understand is why you care. Why even think about it if all you’re going to do is continue to fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book. “Divide et Impera.” That’s my ill fated attempt at speaking Latin and it means “Divide and Rule” or “Divide and Conquer.”
It’s a concept that’s been around since…forever. Take the book of Joshua in the Bible for example. It takes place over 2,620 years ago! Joshua and the Israelites first conquered central Canaan, then the south, and finally the north…just as God had promised. That was a strategic move, because had they conquered the south first, as they progressed, the central and northern forces would have become more and more concentrated, making them more difficult to defeat.
In politics and economics, it’s a little different. It’s all about power. Romans 16: 17-18 (NIV) says
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.”
In America, we practice Capitalism, which basically means “money over everything.” Money is power in this country. Well, in a capitalistic society, despite what anyone tries to tell you, there are only two classes. The Capitalists (the people who provide jobs) and the Working Class (the people who exchange time and expertise for wages). That’s it. There is no middle class or lower class or anything else. The problem for capitalists is this. How can they maintain power over the working class when they are outnumbered by a factor of about 28:1 according to 2016 and 2018 US Census Bureau numbers? Enter democracy and the democratic process. On one had it’s fantastic because, in theory, it gives us all a say in what happens in this country. On the other hand, it’s terrible because, it serves as a platform for capitalists to systematically divide the working class into manageable facets and distract us from what is constitutionally ours… the power to run the country. In other words, they call us middle class, upper middle class, lower class, democrats, republicans, and independents. They divide us by age, race, religion, sex, sexual preference and orientation, nationality, etc., etc. They make us fight over the same things every election cycle. The things that we’re most passionate about and they have no intention on permanently fixing. Things like immigration, abortion, gun control, and government spending masked as a conversation about the economy… because, if we were really talking about the economy, we’d be talking about gross domestic product… Real GDP… using the consumption method… which takes into account government spending… but I digress.
By no means am I saying that all capitalists are evil and power hungry. A lot of them may very well be decent people. However the truth is the truth. And the truth is… the overwhelming majority of the ultra-wealthy people in this country only care about themselves and their profits. They run this country and, as a result, the world. They make us fight as a means to divide us up and distract us to the point that we hate one another. Rob, steal from, and kill one another despite the fact that we have far more in common than there are things that divide us. What baffles me is this. If 73% of the people in this country identify as Christians, according to a 2017 Gallup Poll, how can we fall for this over and over again?
You see, as Christians, according to Jesus himself, in Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV), the two greatest commandments are to
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I read no caveats or qualifiers in there. I didn’t see love your neighbor as yourself if they look like you, walk like you, talk like you, act like you, think like you, believe the same things you believe, have as much as you do, share the same religion as you… none whatsoever. What I read were commandments to love God first, and then treat people how you would want to be treated by yourself if you were them and shared their circumstance. Period…t! I don’t just try to do what I think is right. Really imagine myself in someone else’s shoes and think intelligently about what would help me out the most. Then, I give it a shot! That’s really how I love anyone God places in my path... even if only in passing. I can’t help everyone and not everyone will receive my attempt to help them. However, it pleases God, apparently, so I do it. So, here’s the thing. In my mind, if we’re really Christians, we’re commanded to love one another despite our differences… maybe even because of our differences! Watch my last post about Christianity and you’ll see what I mean.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, at least, want to be treated with dignity and respect. We all want to be heard and are willing to compromise for the greater good. That’s whether we like the fact that we had to compromise or not. We do it every time the government passes a law that you don’t agree with. Case in point, who likes speed cameras? How many times have you written a letter to your government when you got the notice in the mail? Okay, now how often do you slow down when you pass one? Exactly. Yet again, I digress. The point is, if the 73% of Americans who claim to be Christians are being true to our faith, no one should be able to convince us to hate one another for any reason since love is the foundation of who we are at our core, right? So, are you Christian or not?
Now, the last time a checked, according to congressional voting definitions, any vote with over 67% of the members in agreement is a super-majority. So, I have an idea. If you claim to be a Christian and you claim to care about the impeachment of our current president… or politics and your lifestyle in general, then exercise your constitutional right to do something about it. Go beyond voting for the best available candidate in the party that is giving you the illusion of representing your interests. Literally change the way we practice democracy in our country by doing these three things:
First, exercise your faith by loving God first and loving your neighbor as yourself, because, according to Jesus Christ, God said so… It’s not that complicated.
Then, let’s figure out a way to scrap the current two party system where Democrats and Republicans fight obnoxiously and to no end about whose direction for the country is better. Let’s transform them into Research & Development and Accounting & Finance parties. Anyone can be a Democrat. The party will be full of idea people…You know, big thinkers… like social and civil engineers, etc. We’ll have them look to Republicans, who will be elected officials with specialized training, for determining the best way to execute those plans in a fiscally responsible manner. Both parties have representation on all of the different committees and, together, they present a bi-partisan bill that has passed both the House and the Senate to the President, whom has been elected, based on the will of the people and his/her demonstrated ability to understand the big picture and think as both a New Democrat and a New Republican. Is a little bit of role clarity too much to ask for? I mean, really?
Finally, let’s drop all of the stupid divisions and classifications placed on us and focus on what’s really important. We’re all God’s children, right? As a people, we should be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable members of our society. We’re only as good as our weakest link. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (ESV) says
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.”
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be poor people for one reason or another. However, what’s important to us, as Christians, is how we treat them. That includes US territories and our neighbors whose economies largely depend on dollars from American tourists. I’m just saying.
So those are my thoughts guys. If you care about politics and want to affect the way this country operates, no matter what party you claim, don’t settle for the status quo. The current two party system is broken, to say the least. Be true to yourself and the faith you claim, Come up with some ideas on how to change how we practice democracy in America, and take care of one another. You’ve heard my ideas. What are yours? Comment below and let’s start a discussion.
Anyways, I gotta go! Its been real. I’m Kelvin Terrell. Thanks for watching.
Until next time, God gave me peace. Therefore, I walk with poise and parity… and so should you.
Look, I believe in God, but church just isn’t for me…or so I thought. Let me explain. But first, who am I? I’m just like you; a person with goals and ambitions who’s trying to make the best out of the limited time that I have on this planet. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m always willing to help whomever I can whenever I can. I just want to be a decent human being and enjoy a comfortable life. That, about, sums it up.
As a kid, my mother always said that I was very inquisitive. Things just had to make sense to me. I spent a lot of time asking the question “Why?” taking toys apart just to see how they worked, and watching informational and educational television. Don’t get it twisted. I knew when to ask “why?” and when to shut up thanks to my two older sisters and my older brother. My parents weren’t having that. That was one of the many benefits of being the youngest child. But, I digress.
The thing is…I’m just as inquisitive now as I was then. Only now, it’s much deeper. You see, then, I wanted to understand the world. Now, I want to understand me. I know who I am and what I want to do. What I’m trying to figure out is why I’m here?
Have you ever planned to go to the mall on a Saturday morning? I mean really. You had it all planned out. You woke up, brushed your teeth, got dressed, ate breakfast, worked out, showered, got gas for the week, planned to walk around a few stores, grab a few things, meet up with a few friends for a late lunch/early dinner because you’re trying the whole intermitted fasting thing since trying to go vegan turned you into the healthiest werewolf in the history of lies that you tried to tell yourself. You know damn well Thanksgiving was right around the corner. You should have waited for the New Year. Again, I digress. But, you arrive at the mall, get out of the car, and take a few steps. Then, BAM! Out of nowhere you get a whiff of some “oh my Lord Jesus, the flesh is weak. Get in my belly, right now! What is that smell? Where is it coming from? This wasn’t in my plans, but I gotta have it.”
Well, that’s where I am. I have the rest of my life planned out, my game face is on, the tunnel vision is tuned in, and I’m determined to execute. Just as things are starting to move along, I got my whiff. Only my whiff came in the form of a question. Why am I here? However, before I can answer that question, I had to acknowledge how I’m still here…because I shouldn’t be.
Let’s see. There was the time I was literally 30 feet away from the courtyard I was playing in 10 minutes before a neighborhood O.G. was shot and killed. There was the time I was playing football in my back alley. As I’m sprinting down the alley to catch a pass from my homie, a…person runs across my path. As I look to see who the person was running from, I hear two shots. There were two police officers in pursuit. As I hit a matrix-like turn to sprint in the opposite direction, as God as my witness, I see what looks like a bullet, as clear as day, curving around my head. Then, there was the time I was being young and unnecessarily impatient in a car that was stuck in 3rd gear trying to pass a semi-truck on a country back road in Hanover County, Virginia where I was either inches away from being pit maneuvered by one 18 wheeler or smacking head first into another. Not to mention the countless times in my early twenties where I can’t even remember how me or my car made it home safely after far too many drinks. Or the countless times that I’ve worked so long and hard that I can’t stay awake while driving home and it took a jersey barrier or rumble strip to wake me up. There are even moments where I avoided the living death; jail and/or prison. I’ve had to talk myself out of reckless driving tickets and DUI’s. I’ve even, this disappoints me still, sold illegal substances, only a few times, but to some risky characters, just so that I can say that I did it. Yeah, being inquisitive isn’t always a good thing.
Simply put, I shouldn’t be here right now. However, I am smart enough to know, thanks to my grandmother, for whom I am eternally grateful to for making me go to church as a kid, that it’s only by the grace of God and his plans for my life that I’m still breathing and free right now. Therefore, I have to find out why and what those plans are.
Proverbs 18:15 (NRSV) says
“An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
I’ve learned, throughout the years, that the best way to find out why something exists is to go directly to the source. So…I started reading the Bible. However, there’s a problem with reading the Bible on my own with the way that my mind works. My perception is dictated by my own life experiences. The things I’ve learned. The things I’ve been taught. The things I’ve come to understand. Inherently, my perception is biased. That’s not, in and of itself, a bad thing. That’s how the Holy Spirit speaks to me and my situation. However, my perception isn’t the only one that matters and my currently situation isn’t the only situation that I’ll ever go through. Therefore, it’s imperative that I gain perspective.
I imagine myself sitting on a sofa with two other people. The person on my left may call the sofa a chair, while the person on my right calls it a couch. A homeless person walks in and asks “Would you three be so kind as to let me sleep there for the rest of the night?” Is it now a bed? Aren’t we all talking about the same thing? Is anyone wrong for their perspective? I don’t think so. Do you?
Which, this leads me to the second problem that I have with reading the Bible on my own. The New Testament was written by Christians over the course of almost a century after Jesus’ death. There are four gospels that tell the same story, yet reflect very different ideas and concerns. The first wasn’t even written until 40 years after Jesus died. Not to mention all of the different versions and translations that exists. Yet they all had enough credibility to remain in the Bible/to be called a Bible. How do I know what to follow? Which Bible to pick? What interpretations to adhere to? All of them? None of them? Some of them?
Have you ever played that game of telephone or grapevine? The one where you and 30 or 40 people sit in a big circle? You start on one end with a sentence and each person whispers what they’ve just heard into their neighbor’s ear. It never fails. By the time the sentence is read aloud, it’s a far cry from what it was when it was first created. Yeah…that part!
So the question becomes, how can I figure out how to interpret what I’m reading when there are different perspectives in the Bible itself? Then, I came across 1 Corinthians chapter 12. The whole chapter is lit, but verses 7-11 (CEV) says
“The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.”
Trust me, read the whole chapter. It explains why we all need one another. And while you’re at it, read chapter 13 as well and find out how we can all work together and why trying to possess every gift isn’t really such a good idea.
Nevertheless, now, it all makes sense. If I want to know why I’m here, I have to do 3 things. Solidify my personal relationship with God, gain as many perspectives as I can by communing with other Christians, then rely on the Holy Spirit to help me interpret all of the information and obey God’s will.
Now, I understand why Church has become so important to me. I can feel what’s happening to me, but I couldn’t explain why, until now. No longer am I going to church to learn about Christ. I’m going to gain perspective. I’m going to be around people who, despite whatever trials they’re facing, they are joyful and thankful to be alive. Going to church overfills my cup with gratitude so that no matter how negative or draining my week is, it’s never enough to deplete my joy, because whatever or whomever the problem is…God’s got it for me. It’s a special kind of peace and it feels really good. When I think about it, God gave me peace. Therefore, I walk with poise and parity. God gave me peace. Therefore, I WALK with poise and parity. I’ll unpack THAT in a later video.
The icing on the cake is that, thanks to my phenomenal Pastor, I am thoroughly entertained, educated, and informed every time he preaches; providing even more perspective for the Holy Spirit and I to discern.
Finally, my desire to listen and gain wisdom in my quest to understand why I’m here is also what drove me to create this series. As I read and seek to understand the Bible, I want to share my thoughts as well as listen to yours. So please, don’t be shy. Leave a comment and let’s discuss the different topics. Let’s seek to benefit from one another’s perspectives so that we may all gain the wisdom and spiritual tools needed to navigate this often convoluted ordeal we call life. Don’t worry, I know it can get crazy in the comments sometimes, but the Holy Spirit will help you keep your mind on what is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. That’s scripture as well by the way.
I’m Kelvin Terrell. Thanks for listening and until next time…God gave me peace. Therefore, I walk with poise and parity. So should you. Bye now.