SOLUM Community Transformation Initiative

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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Anger Has It’s Moment: Treacherous Without Cause

Angst fills our conversation.  Anger erupts.  Violence spills into interactions.  This is America.  This is the United States.

Psalm 25:3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause

The anger of our youth seems unquenchable.  Some of that anger is in our twenty somethings.  Some of that anger from our youth is in our fifty and sixty somethings.  Both angers are dangerous.raysthinker

Across media there is a call to have a conversation.  Can we have conversation in the context of anger?  Is anger really a problem or is anger simply a symptom?

In our classes at CTI, anger comes up frequently.  “How do I control it?”  “How do I avoid it?”  “Why do the situations exist that provoke it?”  Anger rules our nation more than laws.  People will submit to anger’s control faster than they will put down their phones while driving.  Anger is a master.  Anger has a definition.  Anger is unresolved hurt.  Heal the hurt and the anger subsides.  Anger is a symptom, not a problem.

Two incidents point to the seething pot of pain on which we stand in our America.

The ugly murders in South Carolina by one who publicly declared the intent of his actions to cause a race war are followed by a quieter incident in the social media of Oklahoma.

Racism, prejudice, bigotry, isolationism, anger, pain, violence and finger pointing sear the national soul. We are preparing for war against ourselves. 41% of our youth will be arrested for a non-traffic crime by age 23.  Anger breaks laws.  Domestic violence is the crime of young men in their twenties and thirties.  Men attacking their loves out of uncontrolled angst exhibited in anger.  Anger needs an outlet.  We have quadrupled the prison population in our nation since 1980 exceeding any other nation in percentages of incarceration.  No other nation comes close.  We are a nation of violent unrest.

What about South Carolina?  The story unfolds.  A young man chose to hate. He chose to fill himself with stories of hate.  He isolated himself in hate.  Then he acted.  He was treacherous without cause. That path is full of war.  Many are following his path.  We scream, “Foul”, choose to hate, fill ourselves with stories of hate, isolate behind cultural walls, and then we will act.  We are preparing ourselves for war and treachery without cause.  There is another path.  Racism and isolationism are a path of treachery without cause.

What about Oklahoma?  A well liked sports figure died in a traffic accident.  A man with a Hispanic surname is charged with an illegal u-turn which seems to be a primary cause of the accident.  Social media erupted with hateful voices decrying the fact that “illegals” are being licensed to drive, causing insurance rates to go up, making our streets like the streets of Mexico.  All because this man is brown skinned and has an Hispanic surname. Do we not have a standard of innocent until proven guilty?  We scream, “Foul”, choose to hate, fill ourselves with stories of hate, isolate behind cultural walls, and then we will act.  Anger is a master. Racism and isolationism are a path of treachery without cause. 

raysexplosion “I just want to be heard.”   Last night I was teaching on emotional needs.  One of those is the need to be heard, to have someone listen.  Whether I am with couples or singles or teaching relational Life Skills or Communication or Parenting, this session is always painful.  Our fatherless society has birthed an orphan heart that yearns to be heard.  It is the angry heart of a child seeking affirmation and acknowledgement from some authority somewhere.  And it will erupt in violence to be heard.  It will isolate, choose to hate, fill itself with stories of hate, and act in some emotional, social, physical, or relational violence.

Sunday was Father’s Day.  The Father from which every family gets its name is available to listen.  The Psalmist gave a solution.  “No one who hopes in you will be put to shame (from the rule of anger’s outbursts) but shame will come on those treacherous with cause (because they will act in anger).  The parenthetical portions are mine.  The Father listens.  We can be heard.  If THE  Our Father can listen so can our fathers.sarynandpopa

A heart of a father listens.  Unless he is not home.  Unless he is strained under our national desire to overwork our employees.  Our average work week is 47-49 hours. READ. Unless he never took initial responsibility.  Huge numbers of our children are born into never married situations. “In fact, four in ten births in the U.S. continue to occur to unmarried women—and more than half of all births to women under 30 are to unmarried women. To best support children and their families, efforts should be made to support stable relationships for a variety of family types.” – See more.  I call them the “never-a-dads” and they will be angry, there will be blood.  Unless he walked away.  This father absence removes a layer of protection for children in development. (Impact of violence children see on their development.)

As a nation, we need to go home.  The pain of generations of home abortion is deep and erupting.  Laws will not stop violence bred of anger bred of personal pain in the home.  Taking down flags while putting up emotional barriers will not stop violence bred of anger of personal pain in the homes.  It is not so much the pain of one home to one person as much as the national pain of many homes flooding our streets. Finger pointing and isolationist grouping will certainly not stop violence but breed treachery without cause.

The pain needs to be heard and processed in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our states, in our nation.   Yes, a conversation would be good.  But it must be more than a conversation.  It must result in effective return to parented homes.  Fractured families need healed.  Our communities need to build around supporting homes not dividing them.  Then, we might make progress to a kinder and gentler nation.

Join the conversation:

A Crack in the Skylight

“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.” Phillip Sidney

The holding ponds of poverty possess tons of undiscovered talent.  The artist yearning to open our hearts to new insights in mix of color and fantasy lies trapped in a depressive weave of indecisions.  A singer capable of wowing our hearts with passionate expression struggles confined to the limitations of societal boundaries.  A musician holds back a symphony of untold beauty imprisoned by lack of an instrument.

Fear of rejection stifles.  Fear of failure strangles.  Fear of success suppresses.  Fear and lack of resources to move forward put great immoveable lids over the cooking pots of positive expression.  Our world is poorer bound by our own limitations of class and culture.

The snippet of a heart represented in this picture talks to me.  Ray drew this, when I asked him to describe on a poster what happens in a Life Skills class.  There is more to this piece and there is more to Ray.   You can view the full piece.  VIEW HERE

image

   Ray is full of artistic potential waiting to be exposed.  He is a compassionate man and a friend from one of our classes.  In the picture you see the transformed thoughts of a man creating a beautiful world for his family and friends and himself.  That really is what the Life Skills workshop does for those that respond.  It opens opportunity.

In a goal setting session, a young woman broke emotionally.  She yearns to sing and praise God with her talents, but has been rejected by churches due to her mistakes.  Some of the rejection is self imposed, but much of it is imposed by our cultural and class expectation. When she told me how she wanted to use her talent, I challenged her to come sing for our congregation on Sunday.  Over the next few minutes, I watched a miracle unfold.

The entire class rallied behind her.  One gave witness to the talent she possessed and wanted to listen.  One encouraged her to try again.  One exchanged phone numbers and said she would play with her.  When she went to the piano in the auditorium and began to play and sing, the house came down.  It was just us from the class standing in the doorway, but it was the angels and God, Himself, who joined.  She was like a skylight covered in darkness and a crack broke through to let out the shine.

After expressing her heart in song, she shared a little more of her story with me and we wept.  Then she made a comment I cannot forget.  It will define CTI for decades.  “I have another friend, xxxxx.  She is looking for a safe place to come.  I’m going to call her and bring her, too.”  Her statement rocked me.  Her assessment of churches, community organizations, government institutions and the world rattled me with truth.  A crack formed in my skylight.  

To many people in the struggle to step up and step out of some pain or poverty, our answers are unsafe.  If I open my life and ask for help will you push me down further or listen and lift me?  If I expose my pain and passion will you allow me to express it or fasten a lid of limited expectation on my hopes and dreams?  Are you safe?  Is it safe to connect with you or do I have to conform to all of your ideas immediately?  Is it okay to have a relationship with you and your organization without agreeing to all you are?  Can I be me as I am today and walk alongside as we change together?

Another quietly pulled me aside.  She wants parenting training, but has been unprofessionally treated by a recent encounter.  The organization openly exposed her pains in her workplace.  Her reputation and job were threatened.  She won’t go back there.  Would we take care of her?  She trusts us to keep her safe and confidential.

These are the sons and daughters of our city.  That’s how I view them.  They’ve had some mistakes in life.  Failure is an event not a person.  We refuse to let them be labeled and defined by events along the path to promise and potential.  Let’s make it safe.

CTI is a safe place because the people we reach tell us we are a safe place.  We are not safe by our definition.  No organization or group of people is safe by self definition.  We are safe when the ragged and reluctant and rejected tell us we are safe.  I am honored to be declared “safe” by those we serve.  It is an honored trust and an environment in which talent can blossom and cracks can form that let out undiscovered dignity and talent.  Oh, to be safe, that is a worthy goal.

You can support the efforts of Community Transformation Initiative through your giving fund at the National Christian Foundation (nationalchristian.com) or through direct giving (http://principlenation.com/the-giving-page).  Help us provide the safe place for fathers and families and sons and daughters to grow and shine.  Don’t hesitate, amazing talent is waiting to be reclaimed and released.

;-{) phil

A Crack in The Skylight

rayschangeii“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.” Phillip Sidney

The holding ponds of poverty possess tons of undiscovered talent.  The artist yearning to open our hearts to new insights in mix of color and fantasy lies trapped in a depressive weave of indecisions.  A singer capable of wowing our hearts with passionate expression struggles confined to the limitations of societal boundaries.  A musician holds back a symphony of untold beauty imprisoned by lack of an instrument.

Fear of rejection stifles.  Fear of failure strangles.  Fear of success suppresses.  Fear and lack of resources to move forward put great immoveable lids over the cooking pots of positive expression.  Our world is poorer bound by our own limitations of class and culture.

The snippet of heart represented in this picture talks to me.  Ray drew this, when I asked him to describe on a poster what happens in a Life Skills class.  There is more to this piece and there is more to Ray.   You can view the full piece.  VIEW HERE   Ray is full of artistic potential waiting to be exposed.  He is a compassionate man and a friend from one of our classes.  In the picture you see the transformed thoughts of a man creating a beautiful world for his family and friends and himself.  That really is what the Life Skills workshop does for those that respond.  It opens opportunity.

In a goal setting session, a young woman broke emotionally.  She yearns to sing and praise God with her talents, but has been rejected by churches due to her mistakes.  Some of the rejection is self imposed, but much of it is imposed by our cultural and class expectation. When she told me how she wanted to use her talent, I challenged her to come sing for our congregation on Sunday.  Over the next few minutes, I watched a miracle unfold.

The entire class rallied behind her.  One gave witness to the talent she possessed and wanted to listen.  One encouraged her to try again.  One exchanged phone numbers and said she would play with her.  When she went to the piano in the auditorium and began to play and sing, the house came down.  It was just us from the class standing in the doorway, but it was the angels and God, Himself, who joined.  She was like a skylight covered in darkness and a crack broke through to let out the shine.

After expressing her heart in song, she shared a little more of her story with me and we wept.  Then she made a comment I cannot forget.  It will define CTI for decades.  “I have another friend, xxxxx.  She is looking for a safe place to come.  I’m going to call her and bring her, too.”  Her statement rocked me.  Her assessment of churches, community organizations, government institutions and the world rattled me with truth.  A crack formed in my skylight.

To many people in the struggle to step up and step out of some pain or poverty, our answers are unsafe.  If I open my life and ask for help will you push me down further or listen and lift me?  If I expose my pain and passion will you allow me to express it or fasten a lid of limited expectation on my hopes and dreams?  Are you safe?  Is it safe to connect with you or do I have to conform to all of your ideas immediately?  Is it okay to have a relationship with you and your organization without agreeing to all you are?  Can I be me as I am today and walk alongside as we change together?

Another quietly pulled me aside.  She wants parenting training, but has been unprofessionally treated by a recent encounter.  The organization openly exposed her pains in her workplace.  Her reputation and job were threatened.  She won’t go back there.  Would we take care of her?  She trusts us to keep her safe and confidential.

These are the sons and daughters of our city.  That’s how I view them.  They’ve had some mistakes in life.  Failure is an event not a person.  We refuse to let them be labeled and defined by events along the path to promise and potential.  Let’s make it safe.

CTI is a safe place because the people we reach tell us we are a safe place.  We are not safe by our definition.  No organization or group of people is safe by self definition.  We are safe when the ragged and reluctant and rejected tell us we are safe.  I am honored to be declared “safe” by those we serve.  It is an honored trust and an environment in which talent can blossom and cracks can form that let out undiscovered dignity and talent.  Oh, to be safe, that is a worthy goal.

You can support the efforts of Community Transformation Initiative through your giving fund at the National Christian Foundation (nationalchristian.com) or through direct giving (GIVE).  Help us provide the safe place for fathers and families and sons and daughters to grow and shine.