Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Matthew 6:24 – No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve GOD and Mammon

Sometimes, beloved, the attraction of wealth, the lure of financial benefit makes us do irrational things. Yes, we need money. We want to get paid. We want some money. And there are those in the church who are handicapped by the love of money. And as the Word says, the love of money is the root of all evil. (1 Timothy 6:10). The word Mammon in the text is defined by Webster’s as material wealth or possession especially as having a debasing influence. Debasing is to lower the value of or reputation of someone or something or to make someone or something less respected.

I’ve observed and heard the news as 100 Black pastors gathered to meet with Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. The announcement of this meeting ignited a firestorm of controversy in our community as folk assumed and prognosticated that perhaps these pastors were money hungry and preparing to fleece the flock. Some folks, if not most, objected to even entertaining a meeting with Mr. Trump because of the tenor of his rhetoric. He’s a racist, some say. He’s too abrasive and offensive others say. Others saw the meeting as yet another example of how the black church, in their opinion, is selling the black community out, fleecing the flock, ripping us off. After all, they say, why would the pastors meet with a man who spews racially charged venom and espouses overtly racist perspectives except to go behind closed doors and get paid. Mammon.

Others say that “Trump is not who the media portrays him to be” while even others say yes, let’s wait and see what comes out of the meeting. Indeed Black America is not this monolithic segment of society. Black America is not following one and only one train of political thought. There are a variety perspectives and opinions. The Black Pastors are not going to influence the entire population of Black America.

From the start, this story vexed my spirit because the first headlines trumpeted and proclaimed that these 100 were endorsing Trump. This endorsement was a hard pill to swallow for many if not most in the Black community. It felt as if this 100 were bought and paid for. Others would say this was another example of “Pimp Preachers” who would sell out the well being of their congregations and communities for the almighty dollar.

Soon after the endorsement headlines came the correction. The 100 were meeting with Trump and not endorsing him. Ok, now that was better, sort of. Then the headlines came that Trump had cancelled the meeting. Shortly afterwards another headline – the meeting is on again. Then it was off again. It was an absolute mess. The pastors called it a “miscommunication” but the public was getting restless, angry and very critical. Social Media was afire with displeasure. Yes, The influence of the black church, the reputation of the pastors were being reduced and denigrated right before our very eyes and in the community’s court of public opinion. Debased.

In the end, a meeting and press conference was hastily held and I am still trying to assess its purpose. What were the goals and objectives? What was the agenda?

After the meeting I began to see the sound bytes and news inserts that featured pastors who were in attendance. Preachers struggling to wax philosophical about the content of the gathering. But these interviews only underscored and contributed to the debasing of the office of the pastor and the influence of the black church. It is clear that they went into the meeting without a clear agenda. No platform. It was freestyle rooted in ego. And some of the pastors who spoke on national news platforms to defend and explain the meeting were probably excellent preachers, however they obviously had no community development experience or perspective. No urban policy exposure. No social justice experience. The news reports were full of empty rhetoric and shallow cliches.

So I began to contemplate this spectacle and wondered  where Jesus was in the pastors movement. What does the word say about this?

It’s my opinion that the pulpit is not the proper place to advance political endorsements. Indeed the Black Church should present itself available, present and active in the pursuit of social justice. The church can be a catalyst to institute programs which will enhance economic justice and be committed to alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the kingdom of God. For me, the pulpit is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ – the risen savior. But when it comes to politics we should inspire and encourage the people to exercise the hard fought right to vote. However, we should abstain from the telling the people who to vote for. Even if it wasnt true, the appearance of this meeting is that the pastors were seeking a financial consideration in exchange for political support. After all, Trump did say he would “remember them”. Mammon.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, giving of thanks for all men, for kings, and all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of GOD, our savior who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Yes, we are instructed to pray and intercede for everyone even politicians for it is them that we count on to maintain law and order in this society so that we may lead quiet and peaceful lives. This, the scripture says is good and acceptable in the sight of the LORD. And Jesus said in Matthew 22:21 to render, therefore to Ceasar what is Ceasars and to God the things that are God’s.

Even as we are citizens of God’s Kingdom, we are still encourage to abide by the laws of this society and as such we can participate and have a voice in society. In this area, the Black Church is central. It is the beacon of hope, the voice of reason, the lightning rod of liberation in our struggle against social and political oppression. Or at least that was our reputation. We follow the teachings of Jesus to establish a peaceful march towards equality in this nation. A peaceful march in spite of unmitigated violence and hatred against our people. Our struggle has been like Jesus’ walk on earth. They hated Jesus. They sought to kill him. Silence Him. Yet Jesus kept preaching, walking in love. These days headlines are full with those who would hate us even unto death, yet we walk in love.

They tried to trick and discredit Jesus. In Matthew 22:15-40, Jesus had become so popular and influential that the Pharisees threw some trickeration in the game seeking to find a way to discredit Jesus. They sought to trick him into doing crimes so egregious it would require a death sentence. Likewise there are those who would seek to kill us, discredit us and annihilate us yet we still excel, build, achieve and create in love. Still we rise!!! Our community is being deceived into thinking that we are less than unwanted. We are tricked into promoting violence, misogyny and wanton sexual immorality that discredits our place at the table of equality in America.

The church today is tricked by the lure of TV, and materialism,the trappings and titles that lead men towards the love of money, which is the root of all evil.

The people look to religious leaders for peace, order and insight to their spiritual lives. In Church economics, this is the point of currency exchange. Crassly spoken, the people will pay to know and learn what GOD thinks. They will pay to be inspired by the word of GOD. This “payment” is the support of the church. The support of the work of the LORD. This is just. And there are biblical guidelines as to how the church goer should pay and how the church leader should steward the money. Yes, the people must support the work of the church. But sometimes money becomes the main thing that the church leader focuses on. He or she becomes a lover of money. Likewise some leaders become so consumed with power that they appoint themselves as the voice of a population of people. A voice that can influence votes, be a catalyst of action for the candidates. Be subject to the candidates behest, thus serving the candidates or political leader and not the true head of the Christian State – GOD. This is religious oppression.

Oppression because the church leaders are called to a meeting with a political candidate who thinks that the flock carries political opinions like the church leader or they believe the church leaders can influence the flock to embrace the ideology of said candidate. And the benefit of promoting the candidates ideology is money. After all I’ve observed, I believe the attraction of wealth and the lure of financial benefit draws the pastors to Donald Trump. Mammon.

We have to use religion to inspire love, grace and mercy. The prophet proclaimed  “Is not this fast I choose to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free. And that you break every yoke.. ” We are here to facilitate spiritual freedom.

When Jesus boldly claimed to be the messiah in the synagogue in Luke 4:18 as he shares that he is come to proclaim liberty to the captives and set at liberty those who are oppressed.  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…  Freedom!

As Ministers of the gospel there is more at stake than politics. When Jesus speaks of liberation is liberation of the soul – of the core essence of his people. To present ourselves as the one voice of the people, a person who can influence and cause the Body of Christ to vote a certain way is to inflict religious oppression on the people and this is not what Jesus wants us for us. We are God’s people so we live by the spirit not the law.

In the end, we have to pursue social justice. We have to promote love and peace in our communities. We have to let our light so shine so that the community will know that Jesus is love. That we are a beacon of hope. A beacon of hope. A catalyst for Freedom. To move forward in a private meeting with one who on the outside appears to be against the very essence of your struggle for equality in this country, one who would return to the breaking of your spirit without an agenda, without preparation is to present yourselves as lovers of money. We  cannot serve God and Mammon.

Trump and the Pastors? A debased influence.

Advertisements
_MG_6081-1

General Jeff Skid Row Activist

I’ve just come in from the funeral of Charly Lendeu Keunang aka Africa. It is the culmination of a very long and sometimes stressful journey. You may remember Charly. He was gunned down on the mean streets of skid row by the Los Angeles Police Department. It was a shooting that took place amid the national epidemic of police involved shootings that finds black men dead in cases where other methods could have seemingly been utilized. The shooting was deemed justified so once again, officers get away with what appears to be murder.

Allow me to briefly share and describe the Journey that’s got us here today.  On Sunday night March 1, I saw the news.. you saw the news… millions saw the news… I saw the youtube video.. you saw the youtube video… millions saw the youtube video. There was a struggle…. LAPD shoots and kills a homeless man on Skid Row….

The narrative quickly emerged that this man attempted to take an officers gun – a feat that seems nearly impossible in my eyes especially as one is getting wrestled, tazed PLUS 6 rough and tumble LAPD officers are there to take the man into custody. Besides the officer’s armaments are designed to prevent such an easy snatch…..

The narrative quickly emerged that Brother Africa was a mentally ill homeless man living on Skid Row…. They said he did time in the penitentiary… They say he used a stolen identity… The positioning of the entire narrative was designed to discredit and say to society that this man was someone who we could just throw away and forget about. It gave the general market a chance to say ok. well.. it’s ok that they killed him. No one knows him anyway.

Charles Keunang, the homeless man who was fatally shot by police on Skid Row, was laid to rest at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Concerned citizens gathered in the sanctuary of Holman United Methodist Church to honor the life of Charly L. Keunang (left), killed by LAPD on Skid Row

It is here that the LORD moved in my heart. Skid Row is a troubling place to be.. It is rock bottom for many.It’s the proverbial no-brainer to note that something happened in the man’s life that got him to Skid Row in the first place. So why focus so much on his past? Why so assertive to advance such a denigrating description of Africa? Why assassinate his character? Does this give way to society’s approval of the hard hand of deadly force used in this case by the LAPD? Because the man made certain choices in life does this give you cause to shoot to kill? Africa is a child of God.. even in his condition… Even in his struggle of life on earth, God loves him…. Jesus loves him… and so I was led to personally go out on Skid Row to seek the answer to the question who is Africa? How did his neighbors and loved ones in context of the Skid Row community know him? Where is his family?

_MG_6125-1

Charly’s grieving mother….

For 8 evenings I went out on Skid Row talking to residents of the street… I called my activist friends… I called General Jeff – I know he is active on Skid Row.. I called Najee Ali – I know he’s going to be on the case… I even called Reverend Andy Bale of the Union Rescue Mission…. What are we going to do? What do you know? I believe there is a different narrative than what we are hearing on the news… This is a human being we are talking about.. In spite of his choices, in spite of his condition this man needs to be funeralized…. He needs to be memorialized…. If we don’t act he will be thrown away… another anonymous homeless person discarded by the system…….

_MG_6112-1

Rev. Kelvin Sauls, Pastor Holman United Methodist Church

Jeff and Najee urged me to go to a meeting held by the Community Action Network where they introduced me to Pete White. And so we went to work…. Seeking to have a memorial service. Reverend Andy Bale used his
influence to put me in contact with the highest level of the County Medical Examiner’s office…. I wanted to find out what they would do with the Body… It was through this contact that I learned Africa’s true name. It was through this contact that I learned that Charly has a family. It was through this contact that I learned that Charly was Cameroonian. And that the family had enlisted the support of David Singui to handle their affairs in this tragic time.

_MG_6107-1

Minister Gregory L. Johnson             West Angeles Church of God in Christ     KJLH Radio

I had to searched the internet to make contact with David, and in that search I met Cameroonians from Arkansas who told me that they could find him. The next day, they introduced me to Emanuel Nahslai one of the family’s legal representatives. David reached out to me and we connected and began this journey together. I was led by the Lord to reach out to Rev. Kelvin Sauls who up until this point I had not formally met but I knew that his church broadcasts on 102.3 Radio Free KJLH where I serve as the Marketing Director. I also knew that he is from South Africa and could be a powerful catalyst for the mobilization of Africans and African-Americans in this case.

_MG_6122-1

David Gedeon Singui President, Cameroonian Community-LA

And so two months later, we are gathered together… Africans, African-Americans and those who are concerned about black life… Those who would say no to unbridled Police violence.. Those who agree that Charly Lendeu Keunang deserves the dignity of a funeral… the dignity of memorialization and the unity of community to bring peace and offer condolence to his family…. We have found Charly… and we honor his life

I am still outraged that George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin. I am suspect of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws. I am convinced that mandatory sentencing guidelines are overly harsh in most cases and affect black folk and other minorities disproportionately. And while I reeled from the news of Zimmerman’s acquittal, I was hit in the gut again by the news that Marissa Alexander faced decades in jail as she defended herself from an abusive mate. Her defense rested on the controversial Stand Your Ground Law after she fired a warning shot near or at her abusive husband. Marissa claims she was protecting herself from another attack at the hands of her man. She “stood her ground”. Instead of Justice, Marissa was sentenced to 20 years in prison, igniting a firestorm of objection and protest across the country, particularly from black Americans still reeling from the Zimmerman verdict.

The anger I felt as this woman’s picture was showing up time and again in my social media timelines, usually accompanied by the headline or status update that all she was doing was defending herself against an abusive male. I saw images of an innocent mother. That’s somebody’s sister…. another innocent sista trapped in an abusive relationship… There are so many stories like this in our community, I was thinking…. I was like dag.. yet another brotha beating down his woman…. I had sympathy for Marissa…. Compassion. I joined in the voices that said “INJUSTICE!! DISCRIMINATION!!! UNFAIR!!! Yes. On the surface, it appears that Marissa would be yet another black person unjustly consumed by the court system in America. A fact made worse because the case is in Florida.

Then I began to seek the facts. Facts that reveal why Marissa’s Stand Your Ground defense was turned away at pre-trial hearings. Facts that also demonstrate why Marissa was convicted on multiple charges and sentenced to a mandatory 20 years. After only 12 minutes of deliberation, the jury convicted Marissa of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. (Click here to read the actual court documents) So then what happened?? How did we get to this point???

(Note: As of June 10, a retrial was postponed to December, while the state learns if the New Warning Shot bill will be passed or not)

On July 31, 2010, Marissa left her newborn child in the hospital days after giving birth to visit the home of Rico Gray, her husband. The couple had gotten married in May, but Marissa had not lived with Rico for two months prior to the shooting incident. When she got there, Rico wasn’t home so she parked her car in the garage and waited. She spent the night but Rico did not come home until the morning along with his two sons. Sounds like everything is cool, because they all sat down and had breakfast. Everything is great. But then Marissa gave her phone to Rico so he could see pics of their newborn who was still in the hospital. She gave him the phone and then got up to go to the restroom. Rico found text message conversations between Marissa and her Ex. Rico got mad and confronted her as to whether the baby was even his. You know that set it off, right? And so it was on…. Rico prevented Marissa from leaving the bathroom at first, but she managed to get around him and exited. According to experts, this is where the Stand Your Ground laws went awry.

Marissa’s actions at this point made the difference. Marissa exited the restroom and went to the master bedroom. Rico left the bedroom and headed to the living room. His sons were there. Marissa then leaves the bedroom, walks past Rico and the kids, straight to her car where she got a gun from her glovebox. She came back into the kitchen and pointed it at all three(Rico and his two sons). Rico put his hands in the air but Marissa fired anyway narrowly missing Rico’s head and sending a bullet through the kitchen and into the ceiling of the living room….. dayum!!!! Rico got the heck outta there with his sons and called 911. Marissa stayed at the house but never did call 911. It should be noted here that Rico did have a history of abuse against Marissa and other chicks. One such incident sent Marissa to the hospital with head injuries after he shoved her into a bathtub.    Court Record of Gray's 2009 Domestic Battery ArrestIn the following legal actions, they decide to depose Rico. And wouldn’t you know it.. the couple is now conspiring to keep the laws out of their business. Rico said he had all but threatened to kill Marissa. He said she couldn’t leave the house through the garage because it was broken and that she never pointed a gun at him or his kids. But that was a completely different account than what he gave to the cops. Then, after swearing in court that she would have no contact with Rico, she continued to see him. In fact, when the court dismissed Marissa’s Stand Your Ground defense, the judge noted that not only did Marissa continue to see Rico even after swearing not to, Rico and her discussed what Rico should say during the deposition!!!! Shady…

Rico says he lied in his deposition to protect Marissa. Further, after Marissa was convicted and sentenced to 20 years, she requested a retrial. At that hearing, Rico said he never threatened to kill her and said he begged and pleaded for his life when she had the gun. To make things worse, while she was out on bail and awaiting trial from the shooting charges, Marissa was arrested for domestic battery against Rico. Apparently she came to drop off their child at the house and they started arguing because he would not allow her to stay overnight. Police were called but Marissa had fled the scene. But not before she left Rico with a swollen eye and bloodied.  Po- Po caught up with Marissa about an hour later and of course Marissa claimed to not know what “this was all about” – she had an alibi. But as he police kept questioning her, the story changed with Marissa claiming that in fact she had gone to Rico’s house but he attacked her with his fists because she wouldn’t stay overnight. But Marissa had no visible injuries….Marissa Alexander's December 2010 Arrest Report Marissa was arrested and her bail revoked.

Needless to say, Marissa’s case has a lot of issues. She had choices when she felt she was in “life threatening danger” – leave through the front door, back door or garage. She stayed in the house and although she and Rico said the garage was broken, police were not able to confirm.

Marissa says it was only a warning shot, but she shot at Rico, narrowly missing him. The fact that she shot at him and did not hit him in the body presents the argument that she wasn’t trying to kill him so why fire at all. She was never in life threatening danger. She never called the police. If she was in fear for her life, she should have dialed 911.

She kept returning to the house even after the court ordered her not to. She did not fear Rico as she had previously claimed.

The last arrest for Domestic violence while she was out on bail coupled with the fact that she lied to police about even being there demonstrates that she was not in fear of her life…..

In the end, this case is sad. It is the story of a tragic and, in my opinion trifling couple with severe anger issues. Marissa clearly has issues within this relationship. Rico clearly has violence issues. But they keep seeing each other… They keep trying to protect one another… Thier relationship is a messy mess and now Marissa will have to do major time for her actions. The pictures we see with the status sentences and twitter updates present an entirely different picture of this woman. We are led to say poor Marissa…. but in fact, this relationship was a mess. Clearly Marissa is not some helpless victim of domestic violence. They maintained a messy, violent relationship. Abusers of one another. They clearly need anger management and mental health counseling.

Now I am not saying the sentence isn’t too harsh. I am all for seeking justice where injustice has been applied. I am saying that I need to sit this one out and see how it shakes out. I am saying that besides whatever the courts are going to do with Marissa, this couple needs mental health and anger management treatment. This dysfunctional relationship has caused a world of pain.

Marissa Alexander. A symbol of American injustice? not so fast is what I say…. I wish her luck…. It’s all unfortunate. But this one? Not so fast…..

I am, like some, if not most of you, perplexed, profoundly disappointed, positively angered, and even peeved at the verdict in the George Zimmerman Trial. Yes. I understand that the prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, Zimmerman’s intention to kill Trayvon in cold blood. Based on the circumstances as I have come to understand them, Zimmerman saw a young black teen dressed in the urban fashion of the day – the hoodie – walking through hs neighborhood. He assumed Trayvon Martin was up to no good, even calling 911 to report this “suspicious” person. Zimmerman follows him even after the authorities admonish him to cease. He confronts the young man, a struggle ensues and in the end, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead. Shot point-blank by George Zimmerman. Now, this sounds like a murder to me. But yet, the jury did not, or could not see it this way. Not Guilty. A justifiable homicide perpetrated in self-defense.

Brothers and Sisters, it seems that everywhere we go, we have to prove our right to be there. We still have to possess a “pass” to be in a place and time. Even President Barack Obama has been challenged as to his “place” in American history. Remember the “birther movement”? Trayvon was killed because he was apparently “not in his place” as interpreted by George Zimmerman. There is great disagreement on this point, mostly along racial lines. Most blacks say that Trayvon was profiled. Most whites will say that George had a right to question confront and even kill Trayvon because of his erred assessment that Trayvon did not belong in that area. They will say that George had a right to “stand his ground” based on his assumption of danger. A fatal assumption. A tragic error in judgement.

And so, we’ve seen the masses of the people take to the streets…. angry. protesting. civilly disobedient. To borrow an old civil rights adage, we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Yet the Word lets us know that George Zimmerman is not getting off…

“Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back” Proverbs 28:17

‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

And so, as Christians, we need to stand down.

Now I am not at all suggesting that we abandon the fight against social injustice. After all, the struggle continues but always to God be the Glory…. and Black folk know all too well about assumptions and how it can lead to egregious circumstances, hurt feelings and irreparable social damage. I am saying that while we stand down, the consciousness of the nation has demanded dialogue and introspect among the citizens thus you may consider this a situational analysis from a Christian perspective.

How many times, brothers, have you walked onto the elevator and the white women clutch even the more tightly, her purse? How many times have you, while on your way to a meeting or presentation, have you been mistaken for the bellboy, maitre’ D’, security, waiter, attendant et. al…. How many times have you been followed – with a pocket full of money- in the mall….. How many.. O how many times have you been pulled over by Johnny Law because they assumed you were in the wrong area or up to no good? Or at work, where your so-called white friends make those jokes about black people and then look you dead in the eye and explain to you that you’re different and they are not talking about you.  Assumptions.

Profiling is a reality to black men…. The responsible black father of sons would be remiss if he did not have the talk about how to conduct themselves with the police… It is as important as the inevitable “sex talk”…. Because as my mother would say at each victory of the civil rights movement, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”…. I am not saying we hold hate in our hearts. As followers of Jesus we are mandated to “Love ye one to another”. I am saying that as we move about this world, we must be aware that even in this day and age, even as there is a black man and his family in the White House,  folk still make assumptions based on race. Yes, beloved, you can adjudicate and make or change laws, but you cannot change the hearts of people.

And then again, beloved isn’t it amazing that even as we protest, jump up and down and scream against profiling, that we are the biggest profilers on the earth?? Oh you know how we get… My brothers see one another in the street and we give the side eye, looking each other up and down, making sure we are “right”…. Sisters cutting their eyes at one another saying “who do she think she is” all because sisters dress is cut a certain way or her hair is done or the eye shadow color is different than hers….. Reality shows are now taking our profiling tendencies and broadcasting them across the world for all to see that black folk are the champions of profiling and assumption….

We profile one another based on skin color. Light skin, dark skin…. how is it that the darker brethren are made to feel inferior to those black folk who have lighter skin…. Some of y’all don’t want your daughter to marry Tyrone…. it doesnt matter that he is top of the class… has a job… is drug free… is not a hoodlum or a thug… no not at all, he may have it going on except for one thing… he’s too dark. Yes, we profile based on skin color, geography, what kind of car we drive or not…. frat or no… soror or no… we profile even unto the hair texture and style we choose to wear…. Black people are the consummate profilers of black people and our assumptions derived from that profile are in alot of cases even more hurtful and more deadly than that of the police and our white brethren. Fatal assumptions.

Black folk are killing each other in droves based on profiles… assumptions…. you wear red so I gotta kill you because I wear blue. I have to shoot you because you live on the south side and I live on the north side. Our profiles of one another are making the funeral man very busy and very rich… The hood is full of mothers who, like Sabryna Fulton, have lost a son to gun violence. The only difference is that an assumption by black folk lead to the tragic loss of life. Mothers are seeking justice. Mother’s are asking where is the march for the killing of my own son at the hands of his own????  Why is the outrage so strong when the “other man” profiles and life is lost. Our sons were also profiled… assumptions were made and the result is fatal. The only difference is that the perpetrator was another black man….. Where is Justice?

“Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness” – Ecclesiastes 10:13

In the church,  where you would think folk are more sensitive to the hurtful nature of false assumptions, we are prolific profilers. We make hurtful assumptions based on appearance and even worse, gossip innuendos. We hoop, holler and dance every week. We walk around all deep but cannot even lend a helping hand in the name of Christian charity because we are too busy profiling and assuming the worse in people.  I heard a story about a pastor who was assigned a new church…. thousands of members…. On the Sunday when he was to be introduced to the congregation, he decided to dress like a homeless man. He came to church early and sat around watching the congregants arrive. He got up, walked around to shake hands… no one would shake his hands… He asked for some change for food… no one would reach in their pocket to help…. Some congregants whispered behind his back…. others looked on his clothing in severe disdain.. others just straight laughed…… Church got started and the choir sang songs….. then the assistant pastor takes the mic. He announces that they have a new pastor and asked the congregation to stand and welcome their new man of God….. As the congregation stood, they opened with thunderous applause – applause that began to fade when they saw the “homeless” man walking toward the podium. By the time he reached the mic, the entire church was stone cold silent. The pastor stood at the podium, surveyed his new congregation and began his message with Matthew 24: 42 -51

42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

He also shared Hebrews 13:2 -Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Would you profile Jesus? “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32. Would you look upon his face and make assumptions based on your assessment of how you think he should look? His hair? his clothes, the way he walked??? The color of his skin???

That assumption could be fatal for your soul……

I read with great interest an article on radiofacts.com that detailed radio station 93.5 KDAY’s convergence efforts with regard to twitter and it’s on-air presentation. KDAY had used twitter to generate listener song requests themed around the surprise knockout of Manny Pacquiao. It was a very interesting article and spotlighted a very innovative programming strategy that embraced the water cooler talk of the day. The article further stated that this innovation is one of the reasons why the station is ranked number 12 in the nation’s 2nd largest radio market. I have a perspective that I wanted to share with Radio Facts and I wrote a comment/response on their website, but it did not appear. Now, I don’t know if this was because my comment did not pass moderation, or if the editor just did not see it, or maybe some technological glitch occurred and my comment just did not appear. At any cause, I thought I would re-publish my response on my blogs. You can read the article here . And here is the text of my response:

Dear RadioFacts,

First let me say that I thoroughly enjoy radiofacts.com. There is not a day that goes by that I do not check for Radiofacts to learn of the latest urban radio news and views. That said, I read with great interest the article entitled “Why 93.5 KDAY is knocking out radio competition.” The article does a great job of describing how the station converges it’s social media platforms with it’s on-air presentation. Agreed. It was a good promotion to engage the audience around the water cooler talk of the day – the surprise KO of Manny Pacquiao. However, I take issue with a couple of points the article either states or implies.

  1. “KDAY remains ranked #12 in the market” – Not so fast, RadioFacts!! As I peruse the Nov. 2012 PPM book, I just cannot find where they are ranked that high in the market. A ranker pulled6+, Mon-Sun 6a-12m  and sorted by average share will show KDAY ranked at 28, KJLH is ranked 27… if you view the ranker by average rating you will find them at #22, tied with KJLH and 2 other stations – however, KJLH is listed ahead in this tie because the audience composition is more pure. .. By average persons KDAY is ranked 28th in the market, while KJLH is ranked 27th. With all due respect, can you please clarify where KDAY is ranked 12th in the nation’s second largest radio market?
  2. Sales: It would be interesting to see KDAY’s strategies relative to sales. It’s curious that the station has a decent cume, but still maintains a modest rating point. How does the station’s innovations on the social media universe translate into digital sales?? Does the cume vs. rating point ratio translate into results for advertisers? I don’t know the answers to these questions, I’m just sayn….
  3. Digital Strategies – the article presents KDAY as a leading edge, innovator when it comes to the utilization of social media strategies and implies that others can learn from them. I submit to you, sir that the digital team at KJLH is and has been at the leading edge of social media convergence. I would put them up against any social media team in the city including those at the major corporations.

The article says KDAY is knocking out the competition. It describes that even with a weak signal and niche format, the station is finding listeners and ratings success – this due to it’s innovations in the social media universe.  I surmise that KJLH is among that competition. But We are not woozy. We are not weak in the knees. We are not on the ropes… In fact, we are vibrant, relevant, bobbing and weaving, sticking and moving… I am not hating – don’t have too. It’s good that KDAY’s innovations receive notoriety and kudos for their broadcast efforts. But, in this market, we are a part of the conversation because as an independently owned, small-signal, niche broadcaster, we are not knocked out. In fact it could be said that we are floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee!!!

#stillstanding

Gregory L. Johnson, CDMC                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        KJLH Radio Marketing                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           @hannibalradio                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 @gospelshocase                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     @RadioFreeKJLH                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  facebook/radiofreekjlh                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                youtube/radiofreetv                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            instagram                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             foursquare

ImageI am glad that President Barack Obama has been re-elected. I mean I am elated!!! I did my part throughout the campaign. We registered more than 1800 voters through the activities of the radio station. When CNN projected that President Obama would keep the Oval Office for another four years, I was very happy. I was a street reporter for the station broadcasting live from the Savoy. It was our official Election Watch Party. The club exploded into celebratory pandemonium at the news. I too was enormously pleased.

This feeling was a little different than the euphoria and emotional feeling that overwhelmed me in 2008. Back then, the notion of a black President, to this child of the civil rights movement, was a dream come true. A black President was the ultimate pillar of “We shall Overcome” and the other torch songs and messages we would hear over my lifetime. I was moved to tears at the news of the Election of Barack Obama.

This time, I was elated, but focused on the issues that Mr. Obama has to face. I know that our nation is at a philosophical crossroads. The country is different. Our nation has to adopt philosophies that match the essence of the people. President Obama understands this. Mitt Romney represented the return to a philosophy that has no place in America these days. The consciousness of America has changed.

I have never been a fan of Mitt’s, however, both of his runs for the office have caused me to question the theology of Mormonism. I have an understanding that the faith has racist theological precepts. But now, they way, are no longer a part of the faith as the received a “revelation” in 1978 that abolished most of their racist policies. But for me I wonder if Mitt at his core still holds dear to those precepts as they are faith based opinions drilled into him from childhood.

Be that as it may, I felt that Mr. Romney was ill-informed on most issues particularly about foreign policy. It is impossible to have a clue about the face of the world today. The nature of being the Commander in Chief in such a time as this has many pitfalls and situations. Even President Obama got a wake up call immediately after his election in 2008. He had distinct and clear ideas on how to handle Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the book “Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward, President Obama had to have frank and honest talk with the military and intelligence communities in order to adapt and re-focus his vision for those conflicts based on the realities of the situation. Mitt has a lot to learn in this area.

Economically, Mr. Romney blames President Obama for an economy which is severely damaged from Bush policies. In the economic hallways, there is a philosophical war going. on… The Middle Class is the battlefield. Whether Mr. Romney understands the Middle Class is questionable at best.

In the end, we got in those polls. We moved to our conscience. And now Mr. Obama has four more years. This is the best decision for the nation.

Thus far, the BET Awards have been given out thus far:

Best Actor – Kevin Hart

Best Collaboration – Wale & Miguel

Best Female HipHop Artist – Nicki Minaj

Best Gospel – Yolanda Adams

Best Group – The Throne

Best Male R&B Artist – Chris Brown

Best New Artist – Big Sean

And that’s the latest….. live backstage at the BET Awards…….

Oh yeah.. I finally got a chance to eat something…. they acting kinda foul to the media…… at least in that regard….