Jun 27, 2009

The Go For It, If it Feels Good and Do Your Own Thang Generation Part II!

Subject: What Were Some of the Outcomes, Impacts, Risks and Associated Costs?

It didn't take long, after I relocated to California in 1973 from the Midwest, to find my way to the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. UC Berkeley had been in the news and on the covers of national magazines all during the turbulent 60's, 70's and thereafter.

I made my way to the campus because I wanted to visit the place where it all happened, and I got more than I bargained for during my first visit. I stepped onto the Campus of UC Berkeley, just off of merchant and student hang-out clustered Telegraph Avenue, directly into infamous Sproul Plaza. Sproul has been the center of student activities, demonstrations, marches, marchers and counter-culture activities for decades.

Practically anyone famous has either been there to speak, demonstrate, organize a student protest or to lead a rally at one time or another.

On the day that I arrived, there was a white minister preaching in front of the Administration building which abuts Sproul, as it is affectionately known as by the students. The towering clocktower was lurking just off in the distance, in addition to the gates which appeared to be a gateway to the remainder of the sprawling campus.

What was so odd about the scene that was taking place in front of me, was that 3 or 4students, as I recall, were surrounding the preacher as if they were exuberantly listening and methodically responding to his sermon. However, the closer I got I realized that instead of saying amen to confirm the word or to support the preacher, these youngsters, all males, were heckling him and matching his every utterance with expletives.

Each time that he read, quoted a scripture or made an utterance, his small listening audience would shout back ‘ah f***ck you, or you are just a f***cking liar. Then to my dismay and sudden admiration, the minister who was approximately 35 years of age continued to preach; he was completely undaunted and simply ignored the rantings.

For just as Stephen of the bible did when he was in the process of being stoned to death by his audience(he looked up into Heaven), this young minister continued preaching and maintained his dignity along with a graceful and loving smile on his face.

Now I on the other hand thought, let me get away from here before lightning strikes, for after all surely God was going to strike Sproul at any moment. So I left this unusual scene behind, headed elsewhere on campus and enjoyed the rest of the sites, the topography, the beautiful array of campus buildings, the towering eucalyptus trees and eucalyptus groves..., then afterward I headed back down Telegraph Avenue and hung out among the vendors.

I lived almost next door to Berkeley, in nearby El Cerrito California. Each day when commuting to work in San Francisco, one block away from the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building, I rode the bus down Arlington Street, Scenic Drive, University Avenue and onto the expressway in order to complete my 26 mile commute to San Francisco, which culminated with our crossing the towering Bay Bridge. I repeated the same routine each Monday through Friday, always passing about a block away from the Campus entrance.

The area that we shared atop the mountain, with Berkeley and other nearby cities, provided a continuous breathtaking and picturesque view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. In front of our house was a lavish Country Club and golf course, and our neighbors were NFL players from the World Championship Oakland Raiders football team, business executives and other upper and upper middle class business professionals.

When it wasn’t too foggy in the Bay Area, you could see the city of San Francisco either from the massive first-floor wooden deck, which was surrounded with huge windows, and merged into the 1st floor's living room. The house was designed so that you could enjoy an ongoing picturesque view of the Bay Area from mostly any vantage point. And San Francisco was much closer when looking at it directly across the Bay, instead of traveling around the Bay by car, bus, boat, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) or even helicopter.

The Bay Area, particularly San Francisco, was known for among other things, unrivaled theater. I have seen numerous live productions at the Orpheum Theater, The San Francisco Play House, The War Memorial Theater, The Golden Gate Theater, The Lorraine Hansberry Theater..., including The San Francisco Ballet, The Nutcracker, Shenandoah, The Phantom of the Opera..., not to overlook the greatest theater of them all, the Poetry Slams, which often take place in smaller venues in and around Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley.

Shortly after relocating to the West, some friends from back East came out to visit both southern California, and me, in northern California. Since I was entertaining them, especially Becky, one evening I checked the newspaper in order to determine where I could take Becky after we went out to dinner. Becky and I made a joint decision to attend the theater following dinner.

Oddly enough, nothing much was happening in the theater district that weekend in San Francisco, but there was a performance taking place that evening at the Zellerbach Auditorium on the UC Berkeley Campus; it was entitled Gorf or something like that. So I said Becky, let's go over to Zellerbach and see this performance. Truthfully, I didn't know anything about Gorf, it was just something to do and both of us loved theater of all types.

So off we went to dinner at Hs Lordships on the Berkeley Marina, and afterward to Zellerbach in my friend’s borrowed olive green Mustang.

Now Becky was a nice woman and from a well cultured and coiffured family, she was tall, beautiful and did I say acculturated and beautiful? We made it to the theater on the Berkeley Campus just before the theater house lights went down. Fortunately or unfortunately, as you will see, Becky and I had been able to garner excellent seats in the Orchestra Section at the last moment.
The evening performance began with a nude cast walking out on to the stage and standing it would seem directly in front of us.
As the cast stood before us in full frontal nudity, I thought, uh oh, and trusted that Becky would remember that this was an unplanned event given all of the nudity that was staring us in the face: in other words what was taking place before us and the rest of the audience was not planned on my part.

Then I looked over at Becky and whispered, do you want to leave? And she immediately replied, yes! Wow, first the F' the preacher responses from the groupies, as the youthful preacher preached, and now this! And unbeknown to me at the time, this would not be the last time that I would witness nudity in the City of Berkeley.

I have had some great times at the historic college and in the college town, in fact since that time, U.C. Berkeley has become a favorite hang out of mine. I seriously considered attending UC Berkeley in the past, particularly, the Graduate Theological Union, however, God had other plans for me at UC Berkeley's Bay Area arch rival school, Stanford.

The last time that I visited the UC Berkeley campus, I participated in a 3-day workshop with world-renown authors and scholars from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, The Caribbean, Cuba, The United Kingdom and the United States.

I was immediately accepted by almost all of my peers at the Conference, and I informed them that I was currently working on a paper myself entitled:
The Historical Successes and Failures of Black Male Leadership in the Americas, The Land Down Under and on the Continent of Africa.
The comments that I made about my paper created quite a stir, and afterward resulted in a prolonged discussion. However, my unfinished paper earned me an invitation to join this international group of scholars and writers at this year’s conference which is to be held in Lisbon Portugal later this year.

Now, as I previously stated, I have had great experiences (some unusual) in the city of Berkeley and on the UC campus, from Shattuck Avenue to the Clock tower; out on the Berkeley Marina where the upscale 5 star Dock of the Bay Restaurant and Club (owned by my pastor's brother Eddie, father of Diane from the group Sly and the Family Stone - both of them would often show up at the house) was once located; and there were restaurants and night clubs like the incomparable 2-story Hs Lordships, Solomon's Girunda's (now Skates Restaurant)on the Marina…

Both of the latter, a restaurant and the other a restaurant night club, sit right out on the Bay in part, or mostly atop the water. Both establishments are silhouetted by the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, and separated by the 2 mile long Berkeley Pier. A sweetie of mine from Pasadena and I once strolled romantically (about a mile out on the pier) one evening as if we were going to walk across the Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge. And of course being a younger man then, I got my ‘smoocheroo’ on, right out in the center of the bridge.

From the U.C. Berkeley Lab down to Alcatraz Avenue or Dwight Way (home of the famous People's Park), U.C. Berkeley was and still remains the perfect setting to understand what happened and
what were some of the outcomes that resulted from the ‘go for it, if it feels good and do your own thang generation’!
Shortly after the scholarly conference ended that Sunday afternoon, I said my goodbyes to my new friends who were mostly headed to the airport, and headed down Telegraph Avenue to visit with some of the homeless people that I had been ministering to in the world renowned People’s Park. After leaving the park that day, I walked a block down Dwight Way and turned back onto Telegraph Avenue in order to catch a bus that would take me back down on the Peninsula.

But as I stood waiting at the bus stop for the bus to arrive, just around the corner from the house where San Francisco Examiner newspaper magnate's daughter Patti Hearst was once held after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army years ago, something appeared to be out of whack.

For out of the corner of my eye I could see the image of a man approaching from the left, my guess is that like the preacher, he was also approximately 35 years of age.

And, what appeared to be wrong before, soon after came into fruition when I slowly began to turn my head in the direction of the approaching intruder.
A practically nude man, who was carrying a box of Chinese food in one hand and a cigarette in the other, was walking towards me. He was shirtless and his underwear and pants had fallen to around mid-thigh. And you guessed it, his white limp dangling penis was fully exposed for the entire world to observe. Everyone who was in back of him got to see his uncovered rear end.
A crowd gathered around him before I could respond to his simultaneous request for a light for his cigarette, as surrounding restaurant and coffee shop patrons watched this surreal scene in amazement from their seats and tables in establishments near the corner of Telegraph and Dwight Way.

Now as I said before, it is not uncommon to experience or witness peculiar events taking place around the UC Berkeley Campus, however, this was a rare occurrence even by Berkeley’s, a self-proclaimed sanctuary city’s standards. Berkeley has always been considered a liberal city. In fact, Berkeley is commonly referred to in this area as the People’s Republic of Berkeley given the liberal positions that the city government and its citizens often take.

Berkeley is also a city that welcomes political refuges to come there for sanctuary, and on occasion these political refugees are foreigners, foreign nationals and sworn enemies of the United States of America. Berkeley is considered to be so liberal that someone once quipped that when the mayor of the city was sworn in some years back, that the magistrate instructed him to ‘raise his left instead of his right hand’ at the swearing in ceremony!

But getting back to the practically naked man who was apparently ‘as high as high could be’ from drug or alcohol usage (as he tip-toed shoeless, shirtless and nearly pantless down Telegraph avenue while hearing music that no one else could apparently hear), this event topped an incident that occurred on a previous occasion when I visited the 'outdoor citizens' at the People’s Park.

One day while visiting, I sat at a massive wooden picnic table with about 8 or 9 of the Peoples Park's permanent homeless residents, they were black, white, Latino, male and female. That day I brought my keyboard over and practically everyone that was seated at the table, mostly former musicians; each of them took turns playing the mini keyboard as it was passed around the table. I will always remember the female vocalist who also played my keyboard; she said:"we are homeless but not helpless"!

Then just as suddenly someone pulled out a pipe, lit it, took a puff and began to pass it around the table so that everyone that was seated there could take a hit off of the pipe. And, not out of disrespect to me as a minister, they also passed the pipe to me the Reverend. You could have called this a combination 21st century 'pass the peace and pass the pipe U.C. Berkeley style Eucharist service'.

However, instead of wine and bread at this service, each person, black, white, Latino, male and female took a hit off of the sage filled pipe. We were having communion true enough, however, this was neither an Indian powwow (peyote)nor a Eucharist service. Thank God that I can honestly say that I have never imbibed any chemical substances in my life, and I had no intention of starting that day, fellowship or not.

The other thing that made the pass the pipe experience so surreal was that it was taking place in broad daylight, in deference to the possibility of the Berkeley Police Department showing up on the scene.

After the ‘pass the peace-pipe ceremony’ was over, Rosie, an accomplished black homeless artist and regular at the park showed up and encouraged me to come with him to the other side of the park; I had been counseling Rosie on a one-to-one basis.

Rosie wanted me to meet his friend, who was affectionately known in the Park as the Hoola Hoop Lady. And when we walked up to her she was doing just that, hoolah hooping to the music that was coming from her boom box that was sitting opposite her on the ground.

She was, I would estimate, about 30 years of age, Caucasian and very striking, in that she not only hoola hooped, but her complete attire was a striped-colored bikini. Just to the side of her were two old-fashioned brown bushel baskets which she used to transport and to dry her laundry. Around the rim of each basket, hung pieces of laundry which consisted of colorful women’s lingerie and bikinis drying in the sunshine filled air.

Well, Rosie was very happy to see both she and her laundry (er herm) I noticed, and he invited me to join him on the ground in order to watch her hoolah hoop. So we sat on the ground as she continued her performance (in her bikini). Shortly after she stopped hoolah hooping to the music. Then Rosie introduced us as she took a seat on the ground (still in her bikini) and began playing on my keyboard (in her bikini). I tried to be polite and nonchalant, as this practically naked woman sat in front of us.

While she played, Rosie and another male, who turned out to be a retired professional keyboardist from the area began to take hits off of his sage-filled pipe.

Well, hrm hrm, I wonder if John the Baptist or Elijah, out in the wilderness of Judea, or Jesus and the Apostles ever experienced a scenario like that back in their time?
The bearded musician, who was apparently well known in the Fillmore, the Haight and up on the Divisadero was draped in black; he looked like a hold-out from the 60’s or 70’s, and wasted no time telling me about the glory days when his group took songs that were recorded by famous musicians like Jimmy Hendrix …, and 420’ed them. I asked, 420’ed the songs, what does that mean?

To be continued…Peace & Grace

Now in the event that anyone is wondering how I feel about the Bay Area, I absolutely love this place - I fell in love with it the first day that I stepped off of the airplane in South San Francisco, and my feelings about the place have only heightened since becoming a permanent resident.

Jun 23, 2009

America’s Burgeoning Homeless Demographic & The Ongoing Economic Crisis

Subject: The growing effects of the American social economic crisis on the American populace.

In light of what has transpired with the American economy over the past year (bank failures and all), many United States citizens are waiting for government to make everything better, and in the meantime to help them to stay on their feet. This is what happens when American citizens and corporations are overly-dependent upon the American Idol, a god that has failed to take care of the needs of all of its citizenry.
And out of this manmade crises emerges America's latest class of citizens, the homeless class. Many are still employed, some are underemployed, and still some have recently become unemployed. There are families as well as individuals (male and female), that are homeless.
According to a recent report by the General Accounting Office in Washington DC, there are also 50 million Americans (at least) without healthcare insurance using last year's figures. One has to wonder about the number of Americans that have been added to the roles of the uninsured given the number of American citizens that have recently been laid off, down-sized or furloughed.

The senior population depends on the government to continue sending checks and to provide them with health care services regardless of the current economic downturn.

And, eleven and a half percent of the working population in the largest state in the union, California, are unemployed; and an even larger percentage of Californian's have been forced to take time off from work without pay. They have been given an ultimatum to either take time off or to be laid off from work.
It is even more dramatic when you keep in mind that 1 out of every 7 Americans is a California, so what happens in California, the most populace state in the Union, does not stay in California, it effects the entire nation
The President’s new stimulus package, that was expected to jumpstart the economy, hasn’t had the desired effect that everyone, except Republicans, would have hoped that it would have had by now. And day after day even more bad news keeps coming down the pike from different parts of the nation, especially from state and local governments, corporations, banks and in addition to everything else that has gone wrong price of gasoline is rising again.

So what is going to happen to America and the American people, for at times it seems as if America is shutting down? The number of homeless individuals and families continues to rise daily, as Americans continue to be dispossessed from their homes.

Many working people and formerly working people simply cannot afford to pay their monthly mortgages or rent. Some are watching their life savings, retirement and investment programs diminish or disappear altogether.

My question is what will happen to the homeless population of America, and what can be done about this displaced and growing demographic? Will shrinking federal and state aid coupled with help from churches and other 501C3 organizations be enough to help meet the needs of homeless Americans and until conditions improve, if conditions improve?

I have listed a few proposals that could help to solve America's current economic woes, the American people could do the following:
• Close its borders - no more immigrants (Pat Buchanan's idea)
• Ban Imports (The New Project for the American Century's (NPAC) idea)
• Export all aliens (From the white conservative’s wish list)
• Send black people back to Africa (again?) (Well, a lot of people would like ...)
• With the next stimulus package, send 5-figured checks directly to American citizens
• Put the Republicans in charge again (hee hee hee)
• Redistribute income (take from the wealthy and give to everybody else)
• Pray (The religious idea)
• Start a new war let's say with the DPRK
• Deport conservative Republicans (An idea that I have often flirted with - but like America's enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, what country in their right mind would take in American Republican conservatives)?
• And finally, America could get into the real 21st Century world, adapt to the new world order and learn to function within the newly emerging global world-wide economy.

America and Americans also need to make the internal structural changes that should have been made when the colonists arrived roughly 400 years ago: America needs to come to grips with its historical ‘we are the world and the buck stops here’ mentality.

My last statement does actually have a double meaning. Americans have been spoiled for so long and they really do believe that the bucks, from all over the world, should stop here and inure to the benefit of Americans. However, things have changed given that the emerging global economy has something to say about when and where the bucks will be stopping from hereon.

Now back to America's religious population that is comprised primarily of professing Christians, and I do mean professing Christians, for their actions often say otherwise. The lack of sincerity from the 'say one thing and do another American Christian majority' is one of the major causes for America's current economic woes, its racial and political polarization, as well as the economic disparity that has persisted between America's different social groups and classes.

Many religious groups and religious individuals have been arguing that prayer is the answer to the problem, and that the only thing that the American people need to do is to pray to God, then the problem would be solved. This combination of religious individuals and religious groups would likely be surprised to hear a Reverend ask, what good would prayer do?

For after all weren't these the same folks that concluded, after praying 9 years ago, that George H.W. Bush should have been elected president of the United States?
Ironically, when the crises heightened, following the invasion of Iraq, wasn’t it the same born again, I pray each day President George H.W. Bush who encouraged the citizens of the American consumer driven economy to spend instead of praying?
Who was Bush praying too? Isn’t it written in the Canon, that obedience is actually better than sacrifice (or prayer perhaps)?

The Americans who want everyone to pray for a solution have been some of the most egregious violators of the most inviolate principles of their own sacred texts. There is no need to pray for a new solution folks because the answer was provided thousands of years ago, many Americans have simply ignored it. In fact not even religious folks adhered to the message.

If religious Americans would have simply adhered to what is recorded in their most holy writ, America would not have become a greedy consumer driven nation, permitted Corporate America to have gotten out of hand or allowed an impoverished permanent underclass to have been born or thrived within America’s borders.

If religious people pray, they will receive the same message that they were given before and did not care to hear, if ‘my people’ who are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways... For after all isn’t that what is written in the Canon? And clearly Christian Americans from the inception of this nation have been unwilling to turn from their wicked ways, but all the time they kept right on praying!

Greedy macro-economic religious Americans, including Christians and other religious groups have been willing participants in America's uneven, greed and consumer driven economy; they are also the one’s who most of all should be doing the right thing and setting an example for other Americans; and thank you Spike Lee for that borrowed phraseology!

So again, if the greedy American religious community would simply do what they are supposed to be doing, just do it baby, I believe that the problems that Americans are currently experiencing would disappear along with a lot of other social problems that have plagued this nation since its inception and even before. In America, what has always mattered the most it would seem, is garnering wealth!

There has been and still is sufficient wealth being generated in this nation to provide an opportunity for all Americans to earn a reasonable standard of living without the all too frequent downturns that have plagued our economy. The manner in which America’s wealth has been garnered, concentrated in the hands of the few and unevenly distributed is a major source of America's problem.

You know, God is apparently not dumb, crazy, stupid or intellectually lazy. God knows that the average greedy American is only concerned about the current crises given the impact that it is having on their individual lives. God knows that as soon as the crisis is over, that the average praying religious American will return to spending, consuming and business profiteering as usual.

The majority of Americans are not ready to make the real systemic and structural changes that need to be made within the country, or within them.
Factually, this country does not have to be in the self-made financial crises that it finds itself in, for this crises was values driven (the wrong values) and needlessly self-inflicted.

Think back to when the crises began, who did some government officials and American citizens blame the crisis on, especially Republicans? Answer, first off they blamed black American home-buyers (who they tried to exploit) for causing the problem. Afterwards, it was those pesky Democrats, democratic policies and finally former Democratic President Bill Clinton who had been out of office for a decade that they placed the blame upon.

And if past behavior is a predictor of future behavior, this is nothing new for after all who have Republicans historically blamed in the past for everything else that was not to their liking? Answer, historically, they have blamed everything on liberal Democrats and minorities. I am so glad that I am not a Democrat, because Democrats must get tired of being called liberal and blamed for everything that goes wrong in this nation, especially when the problems can often be traced back to the Republicans.

But it was not lost on the American voter that Republicans refused to accept responsibility for all of the screw ups that occurred during 'the 8-year George H.W. Bush reign of domestic and world-wide terror'. Along with his partners-in-crime, the six year Republican controlled Bush rubber-stamp Congress and the Supreme Court, all worked together in order to wreak havoc on the American people and the world.

You know, there is something far worse than being called a liberal Democrat anyway, just think what it would be like to be called a Republicat or a Republican Neo-fascist? It was the Republicans who had been practicing fascism over the eight year period that George Bush was in the White House.

Bush, Cheney, Condi, Browny (of you are doing a good job Hurricane Katrina fame), Rumsfool and the other Republican Party cabinet members took approximately 8 years to bring this country nearly to its collective economic knees. And if John McCain had been elected to office in 2008, he would have finished this country off by continuing mostly with what former President Bush and company had already started. He would have repeated the same behavior while expecting a different result as the old saying goes!

And what is this group of would-be cellmates, I mean former officials doing now? This same group of disgraced individuals that remain atop the American economic food chain after screwing up this nation and isolating America in the court of world-wide opinion, are living it up!

Cheney, who I affectionately refer to as Curly (after the former 3 Stooges character Curly) has moved into his newly built ultra-modern suburban Maryland home while the soldiers that he and Bush ordered overseas are still overseas mostly. Condi returned to Stanford only to be grilled by Stanford students for her stake in Bush's venal hegemonic foreign policy in the Middle-East and the world. She got so upset with one student that she even pointed her finger in her face, when she was being challenged about the Bush policies.

Condi is cute (hmm baby), but she ain’t that smart, and it would appear. One could only wonder what would happen to baseball if she became Baseball Commissioner, steroid users can you say rendition or GITMO?
And the rest of the Bushtanistas who left Washington, the nation and the rest of the world in recession after enriching themselves and their own economic demographic, continue to do what they did when they were in office; they continue to 'spend and spin' and propagate their lies and misdirection! We should rename the Republican Party 'the spend and spin party'!

Most of these people are still in denial and refuse to accept any responsibility for America’s current economic crisis. Instead, they persist in pointing fingers in every other direction but their own.

Besides, they have to have time and cover, in order to spend all of the extra cash that Bush helped them to acquire during his 8-years in office. And, while they are busy partying, the rest of the nation continues to struggle to make ends meet (and to undo the mess that was left behind by Republicans).
You know, that Republican deportation idea that I mentioned before, is sounding better and better all the time!
Let’s face it Americans, particularly those Americans who were seduced by American Republican greed and lies are just as responsible for America's current economic debacle as there Republicans pied-piper leaders were responsible.

Sadly, even foreigners who migrate to this nation typically did so in order to make money; and some of them are just as greedy as some other Americans. Once upon a time the people who immigrated to this country, claimed to have done so in order to garner freedom. But what many of them actually meant was that they came here to obtain the freedom to make a whole lot of money.
And much like rank and file Republicans, when the Bushtanistas came to power, many Americans joined along with them and sang their theme song: We’re In The Money!
And some of them continue to sing, many of America’s homeless (including the nouveau poor who recently joined the ranks of the homeless) are waiting for the government to come up with a solution to their problem while they continue to depend on government, church and other (501C3) subsidized and supported program handouts to keep them going.

Just how long can the current trend continue, given that the system is about to implode? Most Federal, State, Local governments and 501C3 organizations are smarting? Factually, the current scenario cannot go on for too much longer, and I have a few suggestions for America's growing homeless population. I will go into detail and explain what I believe that America’s growing population needs to do for itself in order to solve ‘their problem’, next!

And let me add one other caveat before closing for now. I do not believe that the solution for America's uninsured is to provide everyone who does not have insurance with health insurance. America needs to address the systemic causes that have led to America’s health care problem. Treating the symptoms will only last for so long

And before I close, you can add one more person to the list of homeless Americans, add the Values Party Republican Governor of South Carolina, Governor Mike Sanford to the list, man that woman's hips must have been something else!

Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon

To be continued…

Addenda: I learned from a San Jose California city official recently, that there are at least 7,000 known homeless citizens in the area. It is believed that the number is much larger, and the number of homeless citizens continues to increase daily.

Jun 21, 2009

The Go For It, If it Feels Good and Do Your Own Thang Generation Part I!

Subject: What are some of the outcomes (pro and con) of the Go For It, If it Feels Good, Do Your Own Thang Generation, where are they now?

I can still recall when I first heard the expression, ‘go for it’, being expressed. It seemed like all of the sudden everyone that I knew was saying to each other, “well then go for it”, and "if it feels good do it”.

And what these phrases meant was to throw caution, prohibitions and any other protocol to the wind and to go with your feelings.
Now in the event that you were not around towards the end of the 20th century, when the phrase became a part of post-modern America's parlance, during and after the turbulent and free-love 60’s, here is a definition of the phrase. According to the Free Online Dictionary, the phrase ‘go for it’ means, to expend all one's strength and resources toward achievement of an end or purpose.

The way the term was being applied when I first heard it was with a strictly sexual connotation attached to it. To be sure the term had to do with engaging in oral sex, and if one wished to engage in oral sex, the only thing that mattered was what one felt, in other words if you had an urge to do it then do it.

And about that time Americans stopped worrying about what their parents taught or thought about them, what the Bible, the preacher or God had to say about it – people went with their feelings and their impulses.

Soon, go for it and if it feels good do it, went beyond the bedroom. The baby boom generation began to carry the go for it message to college, in the corporate board room and everywhere else that they went. And soon afterward, people in my generation were doing everything. Oral sex became passé, Americans were trying out new drugs, going on drinking binges engaging in high-wire acts such as bungee jumping, tandem jumping from airplanes, and jet setting all over the globe.

So what were the outcomes of Americans throwing caution to the wind, along with other outdated Victorian, religious, parental, legal and other codes that had become passe?

Another phrase was soon added and incorporated into the American lexicon, it was ‘to do your own thing’. And today I am going to examine some of the outcomes that followed, after these three trends, to go for it, if it feels good do it and to do your own thing were practiced!

I will be discussing the breakdown of the American family, socially transmitted diseases (STDs), the abortion rate, addictions, substance abuse, chemical depends, out of wedlock births, the economy, corporate America…, and the impact that going for it had, legally, morally and ethically upon individuals, raising the X Generation and our societiy in general.

Peace & grace
Rev. C. Solomon

to be continued... I can still remember a young black man lying on a bench just outside of Sproul Plaza near Zellerbach Auditorium on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. He was completely out of his head, given his apparent extended ussage of psychedelic drugs. He went for it, and I thought then, as his peers simply walked by him, look where he is now!

Jun 15, 2009

Bad Uncle SAMericans: A Five Bedroom House With A Five Car Garage but No Room For A Homeless Person

Moral: Put the car and the dog outside, and bring a person inside.

A few weeks ago I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that 'Uncle Samerican homeowners', in many instances, own 4 to 5,000 square feet homes with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 car garages, not to forget that some Americans own multiple dwellings and vacation homes too boot.

Their garages alone, are about the size of what used to be the average size of an American home. And oftentimes the garages are finished, heated and also include insulation and drywall.

I have been on the inside of garages that are more attractive than the interiors of houses where many of American’s permanent underclass are forced to reside. So what is wrong with owning a home with 5 bedrooms and a 5 car garage?

The problem is that while many Americans place their expensive automobiles, leaf blowers, jet skis, the family dog, motorcycles… inside of their frequently heated wall to wall carpeted garages, there are as many women, children, crippled, dispossessed, elderly and blind citizens living outside in the streets.

I was walking down Market Street in South San Jose last week when I noticed a fence surrounding an area that contained discarded trash. On the outside of the fence sat an empty wheelchair. And lying down on the ground to the side of his wheelchair was a homeless man who had apparently slept there on the ground and in the trash throughout the night.

I began to wonder to myself, what is wrong with our society and why is it that we place more value on our personal possessions than on human life? How can we permit other human beings to live under such squalid conditions?

Many American families have separate outside houses built for their dogs, and still many times their pets remain indoors with the rest of the family. What is wrong with a society that will permit an animal (cat, dog, python, monkey or hamster to sleep inside of a warm house), and let another human being live outside in the elements?

I also observed an elderly black woman sitting at the bus stop last week at the intersection of First and Santa Clara Streets with a suitcase that may have contained all of her worldly possessions. She was waiting for the bus to arrive so that she could get in out of a chilly Bay Area night.

Just over a month ago, I noticed from the bus that I was riding on a man who had been sitting (day after day) at the same bus stop (in Cupertino California). On the days when it rained he simply opened up his umbrella and continued to sit as the buses and cars continued to pass him by. Even at night he slept in the same spot. He appeared to be wearing 3 or 4 pairs of pants in order to keep his lower body warm.

Whenever a bus arrived, the drivers would simply stop the buses on the opposite side of the bus bench, rather than open the door in front of the disheveled homeless man with matted hair. I got off of the bus one day and walked up and spoke with the man. He was very cordial, even though he did not have very much to say.

So again I ask, what is wrong with a society where believers and non-believers alike will return to their 4 and 5,000 square foot suburban and inner-city homes with 4 and 5 car heated garages, having passed by their sisters and brothers living in the streets so that they can park themselves and their automobiles and pets inside of a warm house or a garage? The same individuals could provide aid and comfort to a homeless person throughout the night. Do you get it, for in one night, Americans could eliminate homelessness forever from our land?

Let me repeat what I said before, there are automobiles sitting up in warm garages throughout the night while at the same time there are people, many elderly, living outdoors in America’s streets and alleyways.
Let this be a wake up call to all who claim to believe in the social dimension of Christ’s ministry, many of the same individuals who often repeat the story of the Good Samaritan. The question I ask is this, are you a good or a bad [Samerican]?

Neither 'Jesus nor the Good Samaritan (dog)' would have countenanced this kind of behavior or ignored this kind of human suffering. Either one of them would have done something to help a homeless person.

And even though they did not have automobiles or garages during their lifetimes, if they were here today I can assure you that the car and the pet would be in the driveway, and the homeless person would either be living in the house or sleeping in one of the 5-car insulated, heated and well decorated or ventilated garages or garage ports. Where are the 'Good Uncle Samericans'?

What other story does this remind me of? It reminds me of the story of a baby that was born 2000 years ago. There wasn't any room in the Inn for him either, so he ended up being born in a manger (let's call it a garage for animals). This same child later grew up only to be homeless. As an adult he said: the foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.

Why did Jesus speak these words? He did so because he was allowed by his fellow men and women to be homeless too!
I am also reminded that he left the earth by way of a cross! This is the storied life of an individual who gave so much to so many others right down until today (people that he fed, clothed, healed, ministered to...and is still ministering vicariously to today)!

Many Americans are living their entire lifetimes in the manner that Jesus did, without a place to be born, homeless as an adult, and leaving the earth crucified.

American Christians may not believe in post-modern theology, but clearly something is wrong with their current theology, a theology that permits them to turn their backs on their fellow human beings as they over-indulge in excesses. Why do Christian Samericans who pretend to lament the sufferings of Jesus Christ and identify with the Good Samaritan, ignore the suffering of their fellow human beings? For truly, what they did or did not do for the least of his little ones, Jesus said, they also did or neglected to do unto me!

In this writer's opinion, the American people have lost their collective minds. It would appear that the more that God blessed Americans, that many of the American people have become less responsive to the needs of their fellow human beings.

In conclusion, to those of you who have houses with garages (attached or unattached), how about placing the vehicles, jet skis, campers and even the family pet outside, and find a way to bring some homeless person inside. A homeless person would at least appreciate sleeping on a simple cot on the floor of your pristine garage (the manger) from 9:00pm to 7:00am the next day. And by the way, most homeless people are not dangerous - many of them are people just like you!

Rev. C. Solomon
Peace & Grace

To be continued…

Addenda: I have discovered that homelessness, when permitted to fester is symptomatic of a much deeper societal problem!

A 21st Century Existential Theology

In The 21st Century: What we need is an Existential Theology Born out of a Post-Modern Ethos

“our society is in the throes of a monumental transition, moving from modernity to post modernity.

“The transition from the modern era to the postmodern era poses a grave challenge to the church in its mission to its own next generation.

“Imbued with the vision of God’s program for the world, we must claim the new postmodern context for Christ by embodying the Christian faith in ways that the new generation can understand”

[All quotations by author ]

Many of my recent writings have focused on God and Religion in a 21st century context. I was pleased when a friend, Dr. Byrd, a long-time tenured faculty member at San Jose State University recently presented me with a book entitled: A Primer On Postmodernism. The author’s name is Stanley J. Grenz.

I scanned the book from end to end while in her presence, and I am currently in the process of reading it through in detail. I was stunned to learn that there was a whole group of us post-moderners out there, individuals that are viewing religion and God in a post-modern context (or simply put in the here and now). Dr. Grenz’s book was written in 1996, and he clearly did his homework.

I believe that we must have a unquestionable Twenty-first Century direct experience with what we call God, just as I pointed out in my prior writings (instead of there being an over reliance on the 2000 year old experiences and writings of our predecessors).

Is it that I don’t believe that what our ancestors reported is completely accurate? Or is the problem that all of the scholarship up to now that purports to explain what took place in the common era is faulty? My answer is that is none of the above.

I believe as I do because we are in the here and now, and I believe that God is in the here and now, therefore what is wrong with finding and dealing with God in the here and now as opposed to trying to understand God based on ancient texts and recantations.

In other words, why shouldn't we simply cut to the chase and go and talk to the source ourselves? Our predecessors claimed to have had several meetings with God, why wouldn't God want to meet with and converse with us in the present?

We need to rid ourselves of all of the mystery and mysticism surrounding God I believe. In other words we should demystify our understanding of God, then once all of the barriers between man and God have been eliminated, we should be able to converse with and deal directly with God on a one to one basis as we create our own experiences with God!

I suspect that God would be pleased to discuss with more enlightened beings ideas, thoughts and dreams that are closer to his, and whose thinking parallels ITS own thinking!

And what are some of the things that we might want to do with or learn from God? I suspect that a meeting with God would reduce everything else to its least common denominator.

Even Nietzche, if he were still alive today could not deny this: God is real to those who believe!

Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon

Jun 11, 2009

Communication With God In The Here and Now Part II

Subject: Convening a meeting (minus any mysticism) with God in the 21st century!

We need to have a communication with God face to face in the here and now; the people need it!
Exodus 33:10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.

11And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

12And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

13Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

14And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

15And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

16For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

18And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

19And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

20And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

21And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

Based upon a more cerebral, scientifically provable and post-modern approach, I suspect that what we refer to today in English languages as God, which is not a name by the way, is apparently even bigger in scope than our predecessors ever understood.

And let’s give them, our predecessors, credit for knowing that there was something that existed that was bigger than them and also for passing along what they understood about the God phenomenon.

But let us carry the baton a bit further than they did, particularly given the new advancements and understanding that we have achieved in the 21st century, information that our predecessors simply did not have.

We have experienced the expanse of the ever expanding Universe, the heavens..., we have engaged in interstellar space flight, sent probes into outer space that have returned valuable information. In addition to the above we have the soon to be replaced Hubble telescope which is already peering towards the beginning of the Universe, space stations, and satellites in space that are gathering information.

And we will soon launch into space, The James Webb telescope, an even more advanced floating in space telescope than Hubble, that will permit us to look back to the beginning of time.
We have measured and explored the deep, and as a result have garnered knowledge and information that our predecessors simply did not have. Doesn't it make sense then that we would have knowledge that our predecessors simply did not have even in deference to their claims of having actually met God (face to face). Then why haven't we, given all of our advancements, met God face to face yet?

I believe that we need to put the past behind us given that the knowledge and understanding of our predecessors was at best elementary.
As opposed to relying on rudimentary understanding in order to make sense of what is undetectable with the human sensory apparatus, we need to update our framework(s) as well as the methodologies and approaches that we have been using in order to search for what is real, particularly as it pertains to God.

Having said that, we will have to pursue what is real or isn’t real with an open mind, while considering that all of what has been passed on to us by our predecessors may not be altogether accurate. Why should we do this? I suspect that we have traversed the same mystical mountain long enough, and now it is time to know and to get in touch with what heretofore has been 'the unknown mystery'! We need to solve the riddle.

In short, I believe that we need to communicate with the entity called God in the here and now, and we need to do so in a short period of time! And bear in mind that the historical descriptors and appellations that were used for God, just as I utilized, may no longer apply.
It is a fact that throughout history new descriptors and names have often been added and some dropped that pertained to God.

I truly believe that what we ought to be in search of is not ‘a God’, instead what we ought to be looking for is what is real, no matter what it turns out to be living, non-living or extra dimensional. I suspect that if the notion of God had not have been passed along to us from our ancestors, we would not have been pursuing after a God to explain the unknown. Instead, in a post-modern context we would we would likely be at work trying to understand what is and what is not real.

And our search in modern times would take place without any mystical or mythical practices or interpretations being attached to it. And, we would not want God to appear in a cloud today, for we have technologies today that would shield us from divine radiation, something that our predecessors apparently did not have
And what would be the upsides and the downsides of such an undertaking? Well, a lot of preachers might be out of a job, however, the majority of the people, particularly those who have staked their purpose in life on mysticism and religious dogma, will know the truth.

At the very least they will know that that someone in the time that they live in and with the knowledge and understanding that we have available has actually sought after the what is real as opposed to relying on truth according to myth, superstition, fable and what someone else said or wrote thousands of years ago!

And as I explained in a previous writing, the byproduct of discovering truth is freedom to know; freedom to think; freedom to realize; freedom to actualize; freedom to serve or not to serve; freedom to believe or to live your life minus the prospect or fear of some unknown quantity lurking about in the shadows that wants to hurt you when it may not even exist. What if there God was conjured up either by them or by their predecessors? Shouldn’t someone get to the bottom of this mystery?

Why am I so full of confidence with respect to pursuing after what in deference to those individuals who wish to stay with convention and past practices are saying and doing? It is because I am so convinced that there is something that has remained a mystery to us today that is very real and knowable. And, even though we have we have not done a very good job of defining it, given that is has been heavily influenced by religion and mysticism, it is in fact quantifiable and can be known..

And given the restrictions and sanctions that are imposed upon our minds for thinking outside of the religious box, one can never be sure that they know the truth when following after a religious model, particularly one that refuses to be scrutinized except by certain limited parameters..
“Whether God exists or not, God has worked for a lot of people!”

However, we need to be communicating with God or what is real via a two-way stream on a here and now day to day basis. Even in the Hebrew scriptures, portion of the Canon, humans were told to seek, prove and to find God (seek me early), the problem is that modern day have people have not engaged in modern day search to look for God.

Even today we still need to be in contact with and hear from our 'present helper' the ultimate source and resource, because things aren't looking too good for our future here on planet earth is it?

For example, just over an hour ago, I ran into a religious nut outside of the Martin Luther King Library in San Jose California. After we talked for awhile, I asked this minister a simple question. I asked, what is your name? He replied, my name has not been given yet. I said, using the Canon as an example, Jesus, John, Peter ... all had names! He continued to delve off into the mystical and I thought to myself, here we go!

Folks, we cannot continue to place our destinies, the lives of our children (he has been engaged in the process of proselytizing students outside of SJSU) and other loved ones in the hands of religious nuts like this man who clearly has gone over the religious edge.

Again, we simply need to find a better method of establishing communicating with what we refer to as God in the here and now, as opposed to depending on ministers, imams, modern day shamanists, double-heads, purported prophets and religious nuts to do so and then report back to us what God reportedly said.

When Moses and the children of Israel encountered what they believed to be God, they were on a journey just as we are on a journey through life today. These nomads were sequestered when Moses was instructed to ascend up into the mountain in order to have a direct communication with God. Now keep in mind that the people stood nearby, so that they would be convinced that God had descended and was in fact talking with their leader.

What was the difference this time? Why weren’t the people simply encouraged to enter into prayer into customary prayer, or why wasn’t a Priest dispatched to read the Urim and Thummin, and why did God request an occasional a face to face meeting with all of the men of Israel something similar to what was taking place this time with God the people and Moses?

The God of the old testament apparently believed in having face to face meeting with humans then, so why hasn’t God called for a meeting directly with us today? Could it be that we are looking to hear from God on the wrong frequency?

Again get the imagery here, neither the people nor Moses got down on their knees to pray in their respective secret closets, neither did God send a human with a message to give the people.

Our nation, and every other nation of the world I suspect needs to have a similar meeting, face to face with the Almighty, because neither our religious or political leaders cannot be trusted.

No tricks Moses, just as I would have wanted to do, wanted to see who or what was speaking with him, right on Moses! God rejected his request however, and explained that if Moses were permitted to look upon IT, that he would die. We learn several things from what God said, and the first is that God is viewable.

We learned from Moses’ experience, that with the proper precautions, that by using the human sensory apparatus, that God is or was capable of being viewed. We also learn that God is or was amenable to direct communication outside of one getting on his knees, bowing or lifting up holy hands until heaven. Humans can communicate with God outside of prayer!

“And, even if God is saving us from ourselves by not permitting us to look at IT, imagine what it would be like to simply have God to tell you that. Moses apparently had the opportunity to hear God speak using intelligible human language.”

I am puzzled, and I often wonder why we as a people have become so complacent, to the extent that we have not called for a meeting en masse with God (not the same as MegaFest, going to Mecca, having a church Revival or some such gathering). I wonder if similar to what the children of Israel apparently said to Moses, we don’t want to speak with God directly and we will hear from you, if our people have been conditioned to not want to speak directly with God, or is it out of fear that God really does not exist that they do not want to speak with God?

Now if this event actually took place before with Moses and the people as it has been recorded, it can certainly happen again, that way it would not appear to have been contrived or embellished by the actual writer who reported this story.

I am puzzled over the fact that in a post-modern world, if not before, that neither we nor our predecessors have come up with an updated replacement text for the ancient Canon (as well as other sacred books). Where was the outcry when Constantine thought to create the Canon! Where is today’s Constantine? Who is today’s Constantine, perhaps I am he!

What we need is ‘here and now book of verified encounters with God’, one that can be downloaded directly into the human brain and that could better help post-modern individuals to understand God not romantically, but in a post-modern 21st century context. The book(s) that we have relied so heavily upon, out of the past, are outdated and error prone.

The writer of the book of Revelations explains that it is fully God's intention to dwell among humans once humans evolve. So why aren't we chomping at the bit to live with God today, instead of just talking about doing it? If you are like me, you are tired of annual, monthly and weekly religious practices, festivals and teachings that point to a future period of bliss.

And if you are like me, you have had enough of the guesswork that we have all become accustomed to when attempting to translate predated historical sources. The end result has led to hundreds of conclusions about information that has come from the same sources. So how many more millennia, centuries, decades or years will we keep this up, particularly if we believe that God is present, and will hear from us and grant or petitions?.

Should a universal prayer for clarity by all of the interested parties on Earth be made? Many individuals will say of course not because you are the one that is mixed up Reverend, because “I happen to know what is true”, based upon what I have read and my own personal experiences.

According to the writer of the book of Exodus (perhaps Moses), God treated Moses as a friend, having explained to him, that there was a place beside God upon the rock. Perhaps we need to go back and find this rock again, and reconsider the typical religious position about what the rock happens to be? For isn’t it time for us to find that rock and to go and stand there ourselves.

I suspect that what will help us the most, is if we were to free ourselves from past conventions and set out on a new course of discovery in terms of finding and interacting with what is real: that should be our new approach!

More than all else, I can see that we are going to eventually have to put all of our once sacred texts into their proper historical contexts, so that renew the business of pursuing after what is provably real.

I for one am for putting aside all of the lexicons, commentaries, concordances, biblical aids ..., skipping over all of the other well known doctrines and going straight to the source to get a once and for all answer!

Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon

Addenda: Once the communication link is established between God and man, can you imagine some of the questions that we will have for God. Here is a short list of some of the questions that humans might have for God or what is real once we connect with the God phenomenon:

1. What is and what is not true?
2. What are you?
3. Where are you?
4. Where are my deceased relatives?
5. Will I ever see my deceased relatives again, and will I want to see them again?
6. Am I going to die?
7. Is there really any such thing as Heaven or Hell or a resurrection?
8. Are the former, heaven, hell and the resurrection man made conventions real?
9. Can you take away my pain and heal me once and for all?
10. How can I get rid of present day governments, its leaders, a pastor, spouse...?
11. How can I get my kids to behave...?
12. How can I garner a sufficient amount of food, clothing …
13. My older brother would request an interplanetary trip in outer space.
14. What am I really suppose to be doing here?
15. Finally, I suspect that I would want to know what other things can we do that up and until now have been beyond human comprehension? How did you do all of this, where have you been, why have you countenanced the suffering of so many humans beings for example black people and the people who were crushed in the Twin Towers nearly a decade ago?

And after all of the other serious questions have been sufficiently answered, and I know that there are many more, I would ask God whether or not he could hook me up with some good looking chick (preferably a sister girl, one that is not too pushy or bossy? And did I say, good looking - I am not getting any younger? Hmm baby!

Jun 6, 2009

A Verifiable 21st Century Book of Truth For People of All Nations

Subject: An updated post modern 21st century book of truth as replacement or companion piece to Constantine's Canon.

Think about this, who actually forbade post-modern humans from having a direct encounter with God, or from having an updated 21st Century textbook, that would include recent experiences of man's encounters with a verifiable God ..., and a text that would prove that God or something really does exist in the 21st century?

One verse that was recorded in the book of Revelations, i.e., that if you add anything to this prophecy..., has caused more trouble and shaped more people's thinking about the entire Canon, including the book of Revelations than any other in scripture in the Canon has done.

We must keep in mind that the book of Revelations barely made it into the Canon. We must also bear in mind that the speaker in the book of Revelations was speaking about a single prophecy, when he said that nothing was to be added to the prophecy. And sadly, the warning has been attached to the other 65 books that are contained in the Canon.

The new book of truth that I am proposing that should be created, could either become a companion piece or a replacement for the miscellany of the world's outdated, error prone and questionable religious texts. A new book could be a powerful instructor for people of all nations, particularly everyone who has been taught, before, that you either believe all of a certain sacred book or you really don’t believe any of it.

Balderdash I say for, you can believe and know God, and on the other hand not believe some of what has been written in certain religious texts!

To my critics and detractors, by compiling such a book we would be able to show individuals who question the existence of God, real proofs, and to provide them with an opportunity to test what would be proven to be more than a hypothesis. On the other hand rather than continuing to debate what is and what is not real and accurate, we could just simply cut to the chase and ask God to show up (see my previous topic).

One thing that I do know is that it is time for religious people to get in the real world and to put up or shut up, instead of talking about IT only as something mystical that is hidden away in a cloud. Again, I believe that it is time to put up or to shut up!

When we replace or add a 21st century accurate companion or replacement piece to coincide with or replace all of the world’s other sacred religious texts, I believe that it will enable us to draw more humans of all persuasions to what is authentic and what has been proven to be real.

Haven’t we done the 'I believe it dance' long enough? And, haven’t we ‘followed on to know’ long enough? I believe that it is time to know and to prove in the present what can be known, as opposed to simply relying on old stories from the past or by telling people to 'just believe'.

The way that we have been behaving has been as if to say that God hasn't done anything in 2000 years. My objective is not to help people to simply have faith in a belief in God, let me be clear about that. I am saying emphatically that I believe that it is time to meet God face to face, enough of this I just believe, that settles it so let’s just all go and share communion!
A new book of truth,I believe, will attract secularists, other critics, purists, skeptics, truth seekers and myth busters. The book ought not to be written from a perspective where blind faith is its central theme; instead its contents ought to be based upon recent verifiable and confirmable information. Direct and confirmable encounters with God ought to be included, and verifiable evidence that demonstrate actual participation by God. How can that be done?

As I explained to a skeptical and often cantankerous brother in a classroom discussion at church yesterday, the same Jesus that was active in the Common Era, ought to be active today. I also explained that we need to show people that God was and has been active in human affairs for over 2000 years. I pointed out that we cannot continue to rely on ancient texts and beautifully written stories as proof of the existence of God in the 21st century.

I went on to explain to the brother that a 21st Century book of God with actual current day experiences contained within it, would be more relevant to many individuals who are living under present day skepticism by codifying and putting into writing God’s presence and activities in the 21st century.
Isn't it amazing that so many religious individuals speak of a future time when they will live with God, when on the same token they do not seem to have any interest in living with God in the present?
We need to provide people with something that they can relate to today. As I spoke in this classroom setting, I noticed one woman who looked over at her husband and gave him the matter of fact look as I spoke. Ironically, the lesson yesterday was about Jesus when he attempted to do something similar to what I am doing now, on an occasion that is known today as 'The Sermon On The Mount'.

What did Jesus do then, you might ask? Well, among other things he attempted to update the message that had been passed down to the Jews, beforehand, by their ancestors. The radical Jesus taught about God in and from a new perspective to a disparate group of people who had been taught from the Mosaic Law. And what was the long-term result of his teaching the people a new paradigm, Jesus ended up being hung on the Cross. People simply do not care for having their beliefs subjected to scrutiny!

I am proposing that we do with people today, the same thing that Jesus was doing with Jews in the past by telling to them to place their ancient writings within their proper historical context, so that they can move forward. Do I expect everyone to accept what I am saying, some readers never will? If we are realistic factually change can be very hard for some people, even for this writer at times.

Jesus knew when he taught that not everyone was going to receive his message. Oftentimes, it takes time for individuals to accept new ideas, particularly when they have believed something else for so long. I actually thought that the woman who looked over at her husband was cute, in that she was laughing at me when on the other hand I understood but sympathized with her inability to contemplate change.

She was simply hearing something that differed from what she was accustomed to hearing, just as the people who were gathered at the Sermon on the Mount had done. There were many individuals on that mountain, it is fair to say, that never accepted what Jesus taught. There are many individuals today, in and outside of Israel, who still do not accept the teachings of Jesus.

As a change agent, I feel as if I am in great company when I am laughed at. There are too many religious individuals who need to be made to feel uncomfortable within their religious comfort zones. And if some of our religious people never change during their lifetimes, history has taught us that in time many individuals who appeared to be unchangeable, have been able to make the leap into a different direction.

The Apostle Paul is a perfect example of someone who had to be forced, on the Road to Damascus, to take a change in direction.

There are ministers who have been saying of late in the media that the Canon is under attack.
Factually, the Canon is not under attack at all, at least not by some of us. There are simply a group of truth seekers out there who are more interested in knowing the truth and teaching the truth as opposed to teaching people to base the most important decisions of their lives upon speculation, faulty texts, questionable scholarship and naive teachers.

Over and over again, Constantine’s Canon has been subjected to scrutiny, and to be frank learned men and women of truth recognize that there are major problems with a lot of the information that is contained within the Canon. In answer to another young minister's question that was put to me yesterday, we need to get ahead of this thing. Why? People can read, and soon they will storm the doors of the churches, mosques and synagogues wanting to know how come we, pastors, rabbis, imams..., failed to tell them the truth.

Now I am not saying everything that is included in the Canon is suspect. But on the other hand, what is stopping us from creating an even more viable and reliable book that contains verifiable information that people can understand without a thesaurus, a concordance, a commentary and 2 Bible Aids? Wouldn't that be better than trying to convince other people that they should believe in a never seen God, based on 2 to 5 thousand year old questionable and error prone texts?

In other words, I believe that we can show individuals a force that is active in the here and now, and we can teach them how to access, know and have IT to respond to us without learning Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin and Greek.
Perhaps the God of some believers did actually die in the Common Era, despite ITS ongoing 2000 year postmortem!
Again, how long can we simply teach other people about our predecessor’s experiences, as opposed to teaching them about our modern day experiences with the entity known as God, Jehovah, Osiris, Vishnu, the Great Spirit...? The questions that plague most non-believers today that pertains to God are as follows:
1). Well then where is this God?
2). Why isn't God confirmable or active in the present?
3). What is God?
4). How come I cannot see God?

As the years continue to pile on, many individuals have understandably concluded that what many of us believe to have been God, thousands of years ago, never existed at all and that we are a bunch of gullible nut cakes. And, they make a compelling argument. We have not made a very good case for the existence of God, other than to tell what we were told that God did 2000 years ago, instead of demonstrating convincingly what God is doing right now!

Too much of our present day cosmology is taken from information that was written by writers from years past, information that cannot be vetted today. To our detractors we sound as if we telling a fairy tale. As you continue to read this article ask, well, why wouldn’t God want to speak to us now? And on the other hand perhaps God is on the side of our detractors and is also asking, how come they don't ever say anything new or tell the people what I am doing in the 21st century?

Wouldn’t it be great to have an updated current, proven and tested guide (or CD) available for humans to digest? And wouldn’t it be great to have a guide with instructions in it that one could use to prove the existence of God today, or not? And how good would it be to have a guide that could instruct a person how to proceed in communicating directly with the entity, and have it to actually respond in a comprehensible fashion?

People need to be exposed to a methodology that works, one that will put them in direct contact with the entity. Now before you respond to what I have written with anger, cynicism, sympathy or sarcasm, I suspect that there are some individuals who would not want to know the truth anyway. While there are others that would prefer to simply keep things just as they are now, rather than to move out of their comfort zones.

And finally, there are others who still would simply not care one way or the other anyway, whether God exists or not.

My thrust continues to be that the entity that we refer to as God is approachable, although it is likely neither superhuman nor any of the things that our predecessors said or wrote when attempting to describe IT.

On the other hand all evidence to the contrary seems to point to a different conclusion, that the non-human supposedly spiritual entity is actually something else altogether, and it is even larger than the superhuman or spiritual God … of the past that all nations of the earth in some form or the other have been taught to believe.

How will we do this? We will do this with the help of the entity that either exists or does not exist. In other words, we would dispatch our 'wise women and men' this time on a fact-finding mission, one that is reminiscent of the Magi who came to look for the Christ Child. And if we find IT (I'm going) good, or on the other hand we will accept whatever IT turns out to be or not to be even it turns out to be something different than what we believed.

Elijah, at least, proved that God existed to the people of Israel by having God to show up and to provide the people with undeniable miracle. How come we cannot do the same today?

I frankly do not feel that believers have a reason to be afraid, or that they have anything to worry about when someone mentions subjecting God to proof; what is there to fear? I am convinced that IT is real, however, we don’t have to keep treating IT in the manner that we treat the imaginable Santa Claus. Humans are typically more likely to base their conclusions about God upon feelings, conjecture, interpretations, speculation or what some unknown or known person from the past or present wrote. Why not base it upon a 'close encounter of the fourth kind'?
Or are some believers simply afraid that IT might actually show up!

The way that it was done before is simply not good enough for some of us. Besides, I am not so sure that the entity is satisfied with such a simple accommodation, that is to continue repeating what other people used to say or told us about IT, i.e., I believe it, and that settles it. But does that truly settle the matter?

Because someone believes something, that doesn't settle anything in most people's minds neither should it. Most individuals personalize, anthropomorphize, visualize and believe in the God that they believe in! Did you get that, the God that most people believe in is a god of their imagination? And these same individuals will often tell you about their god?

Oftentimes I experience forces like gravity, centripetal, centrifugal …, acting upon my body and mind. And even though I cannot see the forces, there is no doubt about my experiences rather defining my experiences becomes the central issue.

Perhaps this entity cannot be seen, felt, heard or touched. However, believers and the individuals that we are attempting to introduce to the entity will certainly feel more secure when someone proves that what heretofore have been theories and fantastic stories from a 21st century perspective (information that has been passed down from generation to generation), has been proven to be correct.

One thing that we cannot do so far is to go back in time, however, what we can do is to prove whether or not the entity does or does not exist today.

A new Genesis, or book of beginnings I propose would begin with a more scientifically verifiable explanation of how the Universe began. In it we could include experiments that anyone can use to test what had been written down. Where some of the previous stories from ancient historical texts cannot be substantiated, or when we know that the material has been borrowed from other nonprovable and nonprobative sources or traditions, the new Guide would simply include confirmed information!

Our locus and focus would be more that of writing about what we know, and about what has been confirmed. Will the entity that has been referred to as God, Allah, El, Adonai, Vishnu, Krishna, The Great Spirit … be on board for such exposure? I suspect that it would welcome such exposure of the kind that would prove its existence. Some have written in the past that God is beyond finding out. Can it be that they wrote what they did because they could not find the detection method that could be used to find and to interact with God?

Now I know that some of you won’t care for what I am writing I’m sure, however, rather than continuing to tell other people that their God is not real and that yours is real, simply prove that your God is real. Or, are you afraid to have your belief, God or your god put to the test and to be proven wrong?

Haven’t believers been challenged in the past to prove God? Just think of how many more individuals, religious people, would actually serve God if they knew that God was real. Let’s keep in mind something that Jesus said to the Pharisees. He said: you have heaven shut up, you are not going in and you are keeping others from going in. The same holds true today. Many individuals will never come to know God, if the way to know God is based upon anything that believers do or say.

We must ask ourselves, how many people have we kept from entering into heaven because of our insistence on teaching God in a manner that is comfortable to us but not to the ones that we are trying to reach? I would prefer to say to an individual that I have nothing to hide and here is an experiment that can use, or you can go and create one of your own making in order to test whether God exists or not.

But similar to what Elijah once told his detractors: if God turns out to be God then serve him. Or on the other hand after proving the existence of God yourself, you will be able to say that God is real, and that your findings are not based upon conjecture, speculation or unquestionable texts, even if you still choose not to serve God. You might prove to yourself that there is actually a God, and it was not what you believed or thought it to be!

Now for those of you who do not like my idea about constructing a new Bible or a companion piece to the existing one with updated information contained with it, I have another suggestion. Why don't we simply ask God to show up so that we can ask a few questions? Or, is the real problem that you simply don't believe that God exists yourself?

Aside from being written in a 21 Century context, the contents of the new book ought to include themes that are relevant in a 21st Century context. It should be written with terms that we can understand of the kind that will not require a preacher, teacher, thesaurus, concordance or a Greek or Hebrew lexicon... Next there ought to be scientific information included, and 21st century state of the art understanding with regards to the elements, atoms, quarks, molecules, quantum physics, theoretical physics ....

And last but not least the book ought to contain philosophical knowledge, the secularist point of view point and what God for sure has to say to us today. And this will be information that comes again from God today!
Again, the people of the world need to have a serious sit down discussion with God today, as opposed to simply saying that even though I cannot see God, I know that God is there or that what writers wrote 2000 years ago is absolute.

Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon

Jun 4, 2009

Communication With God In The Here And Now Part I

Subject: Communicating With God, the God Equivalent, the Singularity or the Unifying Principle in the here and now. The people of the Earth, similar to what happened when the ancient Prophet Jonah was dispatched to ancient Nineveh, need to sit down and have a serious and verifiable discussion with God.

Question: Will prayer, a ham radio, microwave or radio signal, telemetry, a space age listening device, telepathy .... or some other yet to be discovered more sophisticated communications device be required, or is glossolalia a sufficient method of communication, one that is sufficient to meet our need to communicate with the creator?
Psalm 46
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

The psalmist clearly believed as most humans believe today that God not only created the Universe, but IT knows everything about the seen and the unknown Universe and is ever present to help humans within the Universal scheme!

So it would seem to me that the best place to go in order to understand the Universe and everything within, it based upon what the Psalmist wrote, including global warming, wars, humans murdering humans … would be with the creator of the Universe. The conversation needs to include world leaders, clerics, and members of the scientific community…

Too much of what we rely upon today and have relied upon in the past to help us to determine what is real and what is not real or which direction we should take, derives from antiquated information or conclusions that have come from primitive sources that predate us. And that is simply not good enough anymore.

Some of us believe that the older the document or tradition is, that it must therefore be accurate. However, when you think about it how there hasn’t been any new scholarship to support the claims of our ancestors. The fact of the matter is that old is not always better. And even if it were, there is something to be said for being in direct contact in the present with what our predecessors claimed to be in contact with or not, in the past.

We need to accurately verify the information that has been passed on to us, and to learn from the source of the information what is relevant today in a post-modern world.

From what we have learned from the past, ancient humans purportedly communicated with God either by osmosis, direct speech, and prayer, via prophets, casting lots, oracles, speaking in unknown tongues ... or as a result of a theophany.

Well let’s assume that all of what we have been taught occurred just as history has taught us, then how come we are not or cannot communicate directly with God today? Who turned off the lines of communication? Could it be that because all of the relevant information that we would ever need thousands of years later was provided for us in the past, and therefore God did not have a reason to communicate with us today?

Or suppose that on the other hand, that God plans to revisit us in the future after we have absorbed and utilized the ample amount of information that was previously disclosed to our predecessors, and left behind for our consumption. Did God plan to in the future which is now for us intend to disclose reveal more information of the kind that would transcend basic knowledge about the world and simple human survival techniques.

If we were to subscribe to the latter theory that God supplied us with ample information to survive for 2 to 4 thousand years, and since that time all that God has been doing is responding to our petitions (without disclosing any new information during that time period).

But I suspect that there is another possibility that we ought to consider. First of all do we believe that God has sense, is logical, rational, reasonable, methodological, intelligent, cognizant…, and even more than our predecessors understood? Then isn’t it possible that God could only reveal so much to primitive people during their time on earth?

Then why have more enlightened post-modern humans been satisfied to simply rely on the information that was revealed to primitive people, instead of seeking answers from the same source ourselves?

Have we simply chosen not to seek God for answers to the serious questions that plague us or that we need answers for ourselves in a post-modern world?

Again, sadly, for too many of us if something is ancient, then it must therefore me true or authentic!
In other words when it comes to ancient documents there aren't any forgeries, nor is there any such thing as historical misspeak.

Isn’t it ironic that we have listening devices stationed all over the planet (and soon some of these devices will be placed in space), given our hope that we will be able to better detect communications from other extraterrestrials up to and including God. On one hand it sounds laughable that humans are planning to place listening devices into deep space. Frankly, I am pleased to know that someone has made it their life's work to communicate with God or other life forms that share, or do not share the physical universe with us.

I make the following propositions:
1). I suspect that we have relied too much on people and information from the past, and that we have in turn surrendered our personal and collective rights to seek a personal and sustained dialog with the entity that we refer to as God, in the time period that we exist in.
2). That there is no reason to believe that if were to seek a direct communication or audience with IT, that we would be turned down, or that IT would not respond to us!
3). That perhaps the entity actually stopped speaking to our predecessors, or our predecessors stopped speaking with it except to ask for thing, and that neither scenario has anything to do with us today.
4). And rather than wasting more time reading commentaries, concordances, lexicons... in order to try to interpret the dialectic, or trying to determine what Paul or any other writer wrote down, or who was right or wrong, why don't we simply cut to the chase and go and ask God for answers to the questions that we need answered?

A new methodology.
1). We ought to use our resources (not just financial), to seek a direct dialogue or audience with what we refer to as God. Wouldn’t it be funny if IT said, I’ve been waiting for you folks to give me a call for some time now, so that I could increased your understanding beyond what you read or heard from the past, with regards to my creation and why you are here? The worse that could happen would be that we did not receive a response, or if we received a response with this message: "I’m not ready to communicate yet with humans".

Next, we also to understand by now that words are symbols of ideas, thoughts ...! And following that logic, we also need to understand that God may not be a Spirit as we have been taught to believer in this sense. The Latin and Greek terms, spiritus, spiro and pneuma were the terms used at the time to describe an entity or principle that could not be seen or heard but that apparently existed.

Each one of us, I’m sure, has experienced unseen forces operating on our bodies which could not be seen. Some perfect examples would be the wind, centrifugal or centripetal force…, And even though we couldn’t necessarily see the forces, we knew that they were there given their impact upon our tactile sensory apparatus.

2). We might have to approach God using a different methodology other than the ones that have been prescribed, that we have become accustomed to or the ones that have been passed down to us from the past. Perhaps using our understanding of quantum or theoretical physics or some other yet to be discovered technological or non-technological means apart from religion, we may learn to approach this entity with better facility and obtain better results.

The probability of what I am saying may be high, but at the same time it would frighten many individuals who are vested in religion and in religious experiences, to know that God could reached by means other than the ones that we have become accustomed to.

What we refer to as God might be a mathematical construct, or some other intangible. It might be a principle or another non-physical entity or state wherein conversing with it could simply require the use of different methods or tools or perhaps something that is already located within the locus our brains. We must understand that a non-biological entity would not have ears, a mouth…, and it could still exist and have communicative abilities!

Exodus 34:23 "Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.

In the past the methods that we have been taught to use in order to communicate with the God phenomenon have either been to approach God using our minds (mental telepathy), through prayer, by speaking in tongues, by consulting with oracles or mediums… or by appearing before God!

We learned about these methods mostly through religion, mysticism, myth and superstition, and they were passed down to us by our ancestors and parents. Science, on the other hand, religion's nemesis, has for a long time considered religion and the entity known as God to be a non-viable mythical construct that was created in human’s collection imagination and was passed on intergenerationaly.

And there were also plenty of humans around who did not attempt to confer with the entity known as God because simply put they did not believe that God existed, or they had never heard that there was an entity that existed at the time like the one that we refer to today as God. In different primitive cultures just as it is today, God was known by many appellations, for example, El Shaddai, Jehovah, Allah, Osiris, Horus, Vishnu, The Great Spirit, Baal...

I am convinced that there is something that exists that is at this time still beyond the human intellect, but at the same time I am convinced that it may not be any of the well-intended things that we were taught that it was before, and that it is comprehensible and capable of being approached.

If the men of Israel were required to meet three times a year with the entity, I am certain that it would not be offended by our requesting an audience with IT today, of course we would be bringing CNN and the other network news stations along to film and to record the event. Wouldn't this be better than waiting for what most believers, particularly Christians, are waiting for, a final meeting with God (when it is too late) on the last day?

to be continued...
Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon

Jun 2, 2009

Go To Hell?

Imagine If There Was Neither Heaven Nor Hell: Was Carlton Right and Then What?

I am afraid that too many of my fellow human beings, especially religious ones, actually want other people (that they know and do not know) to go straight to hell, particularly the ones that they feel have wronged them. And just think about the number of times that you have thought about or told someone else to "go to hell", or "to go straight to hell"?

Another thing, how come the Christian United States of (call fire down from heaven and burn them up) America, and its military and military contractors named one of its most lethal missile systems (that has been used to destroy thousands of innocent lives recently), Hellfire Missiles?

I suspect that what really happened was that God created man, and man created hell and all of the known theology that is associated with it.

It seems to me that Hell would be uncharacteristic of God. And based upon all that we know of a loving God, it is both incomprehensible and inconceivable that God would have created such a place. When you think about it, what would God gain from creating such a place where humans would suffer without end? Hell sounds like a machination of the human mind that was derived from and by the human ego. I suspect that humans must have created the idea of a tormenting hell instead of it being the other way around!

By now, many individuals in the Christian world are aware that recently defrocked Bishop Carlton Pearson appeared to reverse himself several years ago, given the new direction that he took when he began preaching ‘The Doctrine of Universalism’.

I am going to defend Carlton this time, and let me preface what I am going to say by stating up front that I am not in any way an apologist for Carlton, in fact I am not even a fan of Carlton's. Why am I not a fan? About a decade ago, I was personally offended by Carlton when he was the keynote speaker at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose California, I was one of the few blacks that were in the audience that day.

It was American Black History Month and Carlton wowed the predominately white audience that subsequently jumped up out of their collective seats and cheered and danced from the balcony to the rafters, when Carlton made the following statement:

...if you had not enslaved us, we never would have found Jesus.
I thought to myself, what a nut? I wondered to myself if Carlton had ever considered what took place when Deacon Evangelist Phillip was dispatched by the Spirit to minister to the Ethiopian Eunuch (see the book of Acts), who was returning from Pentecost at the same time that the Spirit descended upon Middle-easterners and other nationalists in Acts the 2nd Chapter.

The Ethiopian Eunuch, later completed a great evangelical work in the land that was then known as Ethiopia (which later came to be known as Akeebeland and of late Africa). The Ethiopian brought the message of the gospel to Ethiopians, and guess what Carlton, chains were not required in order to convert the Ethiopian Eunuch to Christ? And chains were not required in order for there to be what is known today as the Coptic Church, the Christian Church in Ethiopia, or black Christian churches around the world!

I have been suspect of this brother’s motives ever since. Now having said that, what appears to be, by all accounts his supposedly latest gaffe, deserves the attention of serious bible scholars.

I suspect that some individuals would be disappointed if after all of their labor, service, sacrifices and abstaining from sin, that their shunned evil counterparts would not burn in hell at the end of time as they have been taught to believe. You know what I mean, BURN BABY BURN, because they deserve to burn!

However, and when you think about it, does it make sense at all that the loving God (read John the 3rd Chapter), that most humans believes that exists, the one that had the ability to and afterward did apparently create the Universe and everything within it (including all forms of creatures), also decided to do the following: Create beings to inhabit the Universe, and if they failed that he would place them in a place where they would experience a punishment so severe, unthinkable, unimaginable and unbearable? This place would be called Hell!

Folks, what kind of perverse pleasure would a non-egomaniacal God derive from creating such a place? In fact, it would grieve God's heart to do such a thing, even if you and I were to create such a place.
For what purpose, or what pleasure would God derive from punishing beings in a place that IT created called Hell, a place that would burn 'bad humans' for not 100, 300, 1000, 1 million or 1 billion years or more in a place called Hell where they languished in an eternal lake of fire?

May I speak for God and the nature of God? Given the very nature of God, eternal Hell does not make any sense at all. In fact these conflicting notions one of a loving and just God, and ITS alter ego wanting to persecute humans for an unimaginable billions and trillions and trillions of years does not jibe. God is the God of light, purpose, wisdom, love and thoughtfulness, and he used all of these qualities in creating the Universe and everything within it we have been taught to believe.

Finally, when you consider the book of Revelations that talks the most about this eternal place of torment for the condemned, this book barely made it into the Canon/inerrant and unadulterated word of God. Since the creators of what we know today as the Bible didn't put much stock into the book of Revelations how come we place so much confidence in it?

Folks, The human body is not eternal and never has been! So how could it withstand everlasting torment?

Now some of your counter arguments will be, but Jesus talked about hell. But let me stop you right there, for we only know what men said that Jesus said, but on the other hand did Jesus really teach about hell in the manner that has been recorded in the Canon.

I believe that Carlton, my fellow-laborer in the Gospel may not be too far off after all on this one. Having said that Carlton, let me repeat what I said before, it was not necessary for black people to be enslaved as a prerequisite to finding Jesus. And I would not expect to hear this kind of nonsense coming from an apparently black man. However, perhaps Carlton has evolved with respect to that conclusion as well.

Carlton also, interestingly enough, apparently experienced his epiphany and turnaround when he visited the African continent a few years back. During that time, Carlton like the late El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, who also returned from Mecca with a new revelation about black and white, had a serious turnaround. Who knows, perhaps now he has taken back what he said at the Cathedral of Faith, at least let's hope so!

Again, to those serious Christians who are seeking after the unbridled truth, this matter is worth further review!
And to the ones who would ask, particularly those who know that the Canon is not the inerrant or unadulterated word of God, would a loving God who came to give life; one that created an entire Universe and populated it with all forms of life get so angry as to want tell people to "GO TO HELL", and to burn the very fallible creatures that he created, forever and ever in a lake of fire without end?

Pray about it, because any conclusion that the God that we know by nature would create an eternal place of torment like hell, makes no sense and it is simply not consistent given what we know about God!

Love, Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon

Addenda: Too many, especially black ministers who are so adept at teaching and preaching someone else’s story, need to seek the Almighty for themselves. There they can learn firsthand about the true nature and purpose of God, and how God can be relevant in a post-modern 21st Century Context!