I Think I'm Excited About Writing Again..! :-)

I haven't written it a really long time. 

Okay, yes, I've doodled and taken copious notes in my Bible, but I haven't actually written fiction in a long time. 

Writer's block? Maybe, but I don't really believe in that. More like distracted, unfulfilled, uninspired, irritated, frustrated, disappointed, unfocused, indecisive. Fearful. Dare I admit it--a lack of faith. 

None of those things yield a productive life, and they surely don't yield a productive writing career. Sure, I've been busy creating websites and teaching a few classes, but nothing brings me pure joy like writing stories, and I hadn't been able to as of late. 

I had to figure out why. Writing is more than just a paycheck to me. It's my calling. I know it. Several other people know it. I can't play around with it. This is what I was born to do! Days spent writing nothing at all feel like a complete waste of grace!

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Kim Burrell, Homosexuality, & The Black Church

I won’t assume you’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the controversy concerning beloved gospel singer Kim Burrell and the comments she made about homosexuality. Maybe you’ve been living your life, taking care of your responsibilities, and minding your own business. (Good for you!) 

If that’s the case, let me fill you in. 

During a New Year’s Eve sermon that was broadcasted live via Periscope, Burrell, who is also a pastor, made comments concerning homosexuals that many considered to be offensive and homophobic. You can watch the segment here.

Since then it seems that everyone and their mama has come out in full force against her. Literally. A guest appearance on Ellen was cancelled, and her radio show at Texas Southern University was taken off the air. 

Dang. Our sis is really going through it. 

Even those who tried to defend her, namely Tamar Braxton and Shirley Caesar, have received the wrath of social media. (Somehow presidents got involved, but this past election has taken enough out of me. You can venture down that political road on your own.)

To be clear, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a Kim Burrell fan, but I think she’s an exceptionally gifted singer and have always thought she was underrated. (Her album Kim Burrell Live In Concert is one that every gospel lover should have. It’s one of my favorites, and can be played from beginning to end without skipping any tracks. When was the last time you did that with a gospel album?) As great as I think she is, I haven’t followed her career. I didn’t know she was a host on Sunday’s Best, or that she was even a pastor. I also didn’t know that she was a featured artist on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie ‘Hidden Figures.’ 

Hhhhhhmmmm… Maybe I’m the one who’s been living under a rock. Okay, I’ll do better in 2017. :-) 

Things seemed to be going really well for Pastor Burrell. It saddens me to see that four minutes of a sermon not even heard in its entirety have taken away the shine she seemed to finally be receiving. It’s nearly heartbreaking. 

Here’s my opinion: I don’t think she was entirely wrong, and I don’t think those offended by her words are entirely wrong, either. 

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What To Do When Someone You Love Is Suffering From Church Hurt

Am I talking about this again? Yes. Why? Because it’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, those with the power to help heal church hurt actually don’t want to talk about it, and the majority of those who do talk about it do so in a way that is unhealthy. Usually a fight follows, and no good comes out of that. 

Let’s skip the arguments. Our brothers and sisters are hurting. It’s not time to focus on who did what to whom, in what way, at what time, and point fingers at each other. It’s time to heal. 

Before we proceed, let’s get an understanding. When I use the phrase “church hurt” I’m not talking about petty unforgiveness over superficial disagreements. It’s not about being upset over a parking space or who sung the lead solo during the Christmas program. If that keeps you out of church you have growing to do. A lot

I’m talking about the pain that runs deep. Trauma. The kind that leaves believers walking away with spiritual PTSD. Overcoming abuse is hard, especially when it comes from the people who you trusted to speak on behalf of God. That’s especially hard, and a lot of people walk away from their faith because they feel it’s impossible to overcome. That’s the kind of church hurt I’m talking about. Below I have listed five things you can do to help a loved one who is suffering from church hurt. 

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3 Tips For Dealing With Friends Once You Become A Newlywed

Those of us who are married can tell you that it isn’t easy, but if you have a loving spouse it’s worth it. Saying “I do” comes with a lot of changes, and those around you may have a hard time adjusting to your new role—especially friends you are very close with. This can cause problems between you and your spouse, so setting boundaries is a must. Becoming a spouse is difficult enough. Here are a few tips to help you make your transition from full-time bestie to full-time wifey (or hubby) a little smoother. 

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Greenleaf & My Issue With Churchgoers Who Have An Issue With It

I really don’t watch much television. In fact, the little bit of television that I do watch are reruns from my childhood. A Different World, Living Single, Martin—you know, the 90s greats that showed Black people in a positive light. Smart. Educated. Family oriented. Genuine friendships. That type of thing. 

Not much of that is on TV anymore. Usually when someone suggests a show to me I end up disappointed and opt to read instead. I hadn’t even heard of Greenleaf until the show had already premiered. My social media news feeds were all the buzz, and a few “friends” who noticed I hadn’t commented insisted that I watch. I decided to see what all the fuss was about and immediately became hooked. 

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So Much Grace... But No Repentance?

I really don’t like when people bash the church. That may seem odd to some. I did, after all, just write a book about an abusive ministry, and a few of my characters haven’t shown the church in its best light. (Anyone remember CJ?) I myself have said more than one unkind thing out of frustration with what I deemed hypocritical behavior from my brothers and sisters in faith. 

I don’t know. Maybe I’m evolving. Maybe I’m slipping. Maybe I’m letting go of some things and picking up others. But now I get offended when I hear people—Christians—speak harshly of the church, especially in the presence of unbelievers. I have to wonder whose side you’re on. But maybe that’s judgmental. 

Let me explain.

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DON'T MAKE THIS MISTAKE!

In my opinion, one of the most tragic things you can do as a believer is to not consult God before making a decision. As a child, one of the scriptures our drill team recited was Proverbs 3:5-6.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (NKJV)

I can hear the obligated “Ma’am!” we had to belt out after we finished. If only I knew then what I know now! (*Insert your own praise break*) I can’t count how many hardships I could have avoided.

I will be honest. Even though I consider myself to be somewhat of a mature Christian, this is something I still struggle with. It seems to be a mountain that hubby and I are continuing to go around. As of late we’re repeatedly telling each other, “You are going to learn to listen to God one day.” We know that His grace is keeping us. But how much better could things be if we humbled ourselves and accepted that we aren’t wise enough to make decisions on our own? After all, the bible does say there’s a way that seems right to a man, but in the end there’s death. (Proverbs 14:12)

This is true for every decision that a believer makes, especially when it comes to marriage. 

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