27 November, 2013

Malcolm X's "House Negro vs Field Negro"

Before beginning reading this entry, it's better to listen to Malcolm X's speech before going any further.  There's no point reading this posting and not knowing what I'm talking about.

So what does this speech have to do with spirituality?  Lots.  This is not a pragmatic compare and contrast between conventional Christian versus Islam ideology in the Black Community.  This speech was made some 50 years ago, and the majority would argue that this speech is irrelevant now that we have a Black President in office.  Not only do I beg to differ, but I want to venture out and say that this isn't only applicable to the African American community, but all ethnic communities of color still being marginalized by White AmeriKKKa.

As a person of Asian descent, I know squarely and clearly that Asians are too divided along the "House" and the "Fields."  It's just that the House Asians, (mostly females) didn't just make it into "Master's House" but also into "Master's Bedroom."  (Both figuratively and literally)

Wait, so what does this have to do with spirituality?

First off, after the incident involving Pastor Rick Warren, there was a constituent of Asian Christians who protested against the coalition of Asian pastors who demanded/requested a formal apology from Warren.  Their response was basically that because Warren has done so much for the Kingdom of God, he has no need to apologize and on top of that, as Christians, the Asian pastors failed in the example by "not forgiving" Warren.


Truth be told, not only do Asian House Negros exist in the Christian Church, the Christian Church basically serves as an incubator for the development of AHN.  Utilizing the urgency to "save souls" of the "heathen Asian culture," the Church has placed themselves into the position of power by placing an entire community based on their ethnicity and culture to "be saved."  Consequently they leave the community of believers with an excessive amount of guilt because of their ethnic and cultural background.

The good news about the Pastor Rick Warren incident is that it sheds light to a problem that no one is willing to talk about.

Actually doesn't have the Cojones to bring up.

One of the strength of Asian ideology (call is Confucianism or Zen, or Tao, whatever) is the fact of the capability to make the best of a situation, flow with it, and be able to adapt with little to no resistance to the situation, regardless of challenges or difficulties that situation presents.

It can be a strength as well as weakness.

Can you see how a community can be exploited with such a mentality?

One of my professors with a Jewish background pointed out to us in class about how language and words can influence a culture.  He cited the Yiddish term, "chutzpah" as an example.  He said without that term, the Jewish community coping mechanism to institutional discrimination would've been compromised.  Conversely he pointed out that especially in the Chinese culture, no such word or term exist in the Chinese language (both Mandarin and Cantonese) and the closest term is presented as a negative trait.

So I'll be the first to admit that my ethnic background lacks "chutzpah."  

So when missionaries or church leaders approach their Asian souls to "save," there's very little resistance or questioning about whether their theology is correct or not.  "Heathen culture?"  Guilty.  "Idolatry?" Guilty.  One former Sunday school teacher told me how he broke ties from his family because they still practiced the gravesite visitation as observed on the Chinese calendar.  Buddhism, folk religion, Shintoism, Taoism, and Confucianism are all considered "satanic."

And the Typical Asian House Negro Christian replies, "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."

Before I go any further, there needs to be come clarifications:
1) Not all Christians are abusing the Name of God to elevate their social positions.
2) Not all Asian Christians are Asian House Negros.
3) Conversely, not all Asian House Negros are Christians.
4) Lastly, "House Negro(s)" aren't necessarily black.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically in the Oakland/East Bay.  Not only was there a significant Asian population, but there were a lot of different churches serving the Asian communities in various capacity.  What I've witness and experienced this past 20 years in a church setting had factored in my decision to radically change my theological paradigm during the past 3 years.

Some highlights (or low) regarding race-relations within the Church:

While training in the L.A. area during the summer of 1999, I attended a singles event sponsored by a prominent Asian American church in Rosemead.  The keynote speaker was a doctor in psychology whose topic was "Christian Mental Health Professional Take on Inter-Racial Dating and Relationships."  The newlywed PsyD speaker raged on how it was "God's will" and "God's gift" that she married a caucasian and how disastrous the attempted courtship by a person of her shared ethnic background was prior to her marriage.  Upon further discussion in the group, the dialogue evolved into why the majority of the women present were not interested in dating Asian men.

I chimed in.  (whoops)

I shared with the group my dismay that the discussion is about inter-racial dating, yet only two specific ethnic groups were singled out in the discussion.  When asked (prodded actually) if I had dated other races, I replied "yes."  When prodded even further of whether or not "the other races" weren't caucasian, I again answered, "yes."  Finally, one of the women asked me, "don't tell me you actually went out with someone black???"  Again, I answered "yes."  The three women who were sharing the same table as me moved to different tables.  As they moved, overheard was "wow, THAT desperate."

Mind you, this was a church sponsored event.

In 2001, I attended a mixer for "Christian artists."  The host was a member of one of the largest churches in San Francisco.  In fact, any young adult who attended church in San Francisco would've at some point attended this popular church in The Mission.  As we were getting acquainted, we learned that we knew a mutual person and confirmed his whereabouts.  "Yeah, he went to Vietnam," he told me.  "Oh, for some reason, my other friend said he was traveling to the Philippines," I replied.  "Ahh, Vietnam, Philippines, all those people are the same," he snapped.  I told him that comment was offensive and demanded an apology.  He pointed out to me that he was the host and I was at his house.  Later on, the young lady he was apparently dating whom he met at his church asked me to leave.  Yep, she was Asian.

Needless to say, I wasn't part of that art group.

One of the first churches I attended was in Oakland prior to their move to San Leandro.  I was in the 3rd and 4th grade while attending there.  (Late 1970s) Eventually, they felt that the children needed a better education so they started their own church-sponsored private school.

It was during one of their event that I "accepted Christ," so it was expected that I would be a prime candidate to be one of their first batch of students.  My mother was adamant that I continue to attend my regular school and not theirs.  It would be years later before I learned of the reason why.  Actually I would learn of her distaste for that specific church after her death in 2005. (more later)

What made this church stand out amongst all the churches serving the Chinese community was the fact that 1) they ran their own private school, 2) their pastor was NOT Chinese, and 3) their size and the fact they were not located in the immediate Oakland Chinatown area.  Once they grew out of their Oakland location, they expanded at their new location.

In the mid-1990s it came to light that the pastor of the church profiled specific female students at their private school and arranged for "special pastoral counseling" with them.  He made sure that the students' parents' first language wasn't English.  He made sure there was turmoil in the home.  He targeted female students with "disciplinary issues" at the school.

In spite of the fact that some of the students came forward, no a single peep from the press and/or local media, and worse, no charges were filed against the pastor.

Remember what I said about culture of adapting to challenging situation without resistance?  That's basically what happened.  The church was too big and too central to the community, so things were kept hushed hush.

As bad as it was, the aftermath was just as bad.

The replacement pastor was Chinese.  A group who felt that they would be "better shepherded" by someone "more Godly," (ie, caucasian) eventually split from the church to form their own church, and found their "more appropriate pastor."

You think this was some sort of a church soap opera.  But it's apparently just a typical day in da 510.

Oh so let's go back to "Mom..."

After my mother passed away in the Summer of 2005, my sister and I cleared out her personal belongings.  She kept intricate records of every family activities.  My sister was part of a drum corps in Oakland while I was growing up, and my mother was one of the parent directors of the group.  Part of her responsibilities was to contact all community groups in the immediate Oakland area.  That included the aforementioned church.  For some reason, she kept a reply from THAT PASTOR addressed to her.  In it, he scolded my mother for "being inconsiderate" to invite them to an event held on Sunday, and he "respectfully requested," that my mother should "cease leading his followers astray," and finally to "show more respect to God and Sundays."

So Pastor, I formally apologize that my mother's action of inviting your members to a drum corps sponsored event held on a Sunday had led you astray to the point that you lost self control and took advantage of several underage female students who were placed under your watch.  Be thankful that you created enough Asian House Negros to cover for your transgressions, and especially that committed group of AHN who was dedicated to continue the insanity by splitting from your so-called legacy.  I know you've transitioned and be thankful that I'm currently slowly but surely unlearning the concepts of Hell and Damnation because if there was anyone I felt should go there, it'd be you.

Along with the House Negroes of the World who sold the souls of their respected communities out.

17 October, 2013

Is There Such Thing as "Justified Mass Church Shootings?"

When I was completing my undergrad at CSU Hayward some years back, I was still very active in the church.  (Mainstream Christian Church)  In fact the only extra-curricular activity I participated in at Hayward was their local chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ.  In fact there was a quarter where I took on 23 units so my Sunday visits to church was often compromised and my participation at the Campus Crusade meetings became more important as it became a substitute for Sundays.

During one of our meetings, our facilitator read aloud a printed prayer request sent to us from a member of Wedgwood Baptist Church.  At times our facilitator broke down while reading the list.  It was Fall quarter of 1999, and we received the emailed prayer request in the aftermath of the church massacre committed by Larry Gene Ashbrook.  The entire discussion time which normally takes about 40 minutes was taken as the prayer request(s) were tearfully read aloud to our group.  At the end, I shared with the group that what I found disturbing in all this was throughout the list, not once was the name of the gunman (Ashbrook) mentioned, and I attempted to quote Matthew 5:44 as a basis that at some point, his name or at least his remaining family members should've been on that list.

That created a stir at the meeting.

One person came to my defense.  The rest of the group including the facilitator began to engage in a Bible memory contest with me to rebuke my assessment.  Thankfully that lone person who came to my defense is still someone I remain in contact with.  Now granted, my prayers for my so-called "enemies" may be along the line of "muther-f*r," true.  But throughout the years from 1995 to even now, I'm bombarded with the "forgive them, pray for them" in response to a violation done by others towards me to the point that I got sick and tired of that, especially when the violation was committed by a fellow brother or sister of the church.


I left the mainline Christian church back in 2011.  I began to embrace the New Thought Practical Christian movement who embraced more of a Christian Metaphysics approach and I thought I was in a better spot.


Unity and any church with the moniker "Practical Christianity, Christian Metaphysic, New Thought Christianity," has been undergoing an identity process that began to take place around 2009-12 and a lot of their material and literature as well as their basic teaching was undergoing a decision making process to determine the direction and the overall message of the Unity Movement.  In other words, Unity not was, but is undergoing a process which is on the verge of creating an organizational split between those embracing the new changes versus those who wish to hold onto the original teachings.  Along with those teachings, they also want to hold onto their older ways.  In other words, if the Unity Church or Center declares themselves "Culturally Christian," they really embrace the culture of other Christians, and that includes the conservative thinking that comes along with it.

Rev Guy Lynch runs a website, a non profit, and a call-in podcast called "The Practical Christian."  He was one of the first Unity minister I contacted while Unity was going through their rebranding process and I was looking for a Unity who was teaching what Eric Butterworth and Catherine Ponder were teaching.  He's an advocate for gun control, he's against the Christian right on numerous issues, he's for embracing the LGBT movement as well as marriage equality.  He goes out of his way as a Christian minister to take a stand against conservative Christian clergy members.

Recently, Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church had participated in an event where he mocked and imitated Asians in a caricature way.  What's disturbing about the whole thing was that not only has he not apologized even after a group of Asian clergy had requested a formal apology, but numerous supporters lined up defending his actions.  So I posted that article on Rev Lynch's Practical Christian Facebook page to bring it to their attention.

It was deleted and ignored.

I commented two or three times how disappointed I was about Rev Lynch decision to look the other way and pointed out the hypocrisy in the entire situation.  Had Warren mocked gays in a similar fashion, Rev Lynch would rally his supporters immediately.  Earlier today I found myself banned from the Practical Christian Facebook page where I was further humiliated.

So what does this journey to New Thought have to do with incidents involving church shootings?

At that Campus Crusade meeting, I was flabbergasted at the possibility that someone would enter a church and just begin shooting.  After all, it was less than two years after I visited China and even a government sanctioned church there.  Christianity was still outlawed in China and even at the church we were allowed to attend, someone entering in and shooting up the place was unfathomable.  So when this incident occurred during a young adult Christian rock concert rally in Texas, we were all shocked.  Then I read about Jeremiah Neitz's account about his interaction with Ashbrook moments before his suicide.  The more Neitz told Ashbrook about his faith in Christ, the more defensive Ashbrook became until Ashbrook shot himself.  Until that point I often wondered how angry can you get at God, at life in general, at people in order to shoot up a church.  I mean people have then and now been blatantly violated by the institution called the Church (all denominations) and they don't react the same way.

Then again, the law of karma is enforced even against an institution called the Church.

The institution called the Church has done so much cover-ups and blatant violation of people who looked to them for help, inspiration and hope that sooner or later, that karmic debt needs to be paid.  What's sad about an institution, the actual individual who committed the violation may not even feel any of the impact of repercussion in the event of the institution repaying it's karmic debt.  From what I've seen past and even now I don't think that debt's been fully paid yet.  In some ways, I can't blame those clergy who keep preaching "forgiveness," because who knows what could happen if it wasn't constantly reminded.

For all we know, the Larry Gene Ashbrook incident may actually be part of a karmic debt resulting from clergy who sexually violated their parishioners.  Now the pastoral staff of Wedgwood had nothing to do with those clergy who's guilty of sexual violations.  But as I said, the overall institution of the Church may be paying for that violation through that incident.

So when the institution of the church justifies, defends, or looks the other way whenever clergy offends other people because of their ethnicity, karma is around the corner.

No, there may be no such thing as "justifiable mass church shootings,"  but I look forward to whenever the next bunch of dead bodies are strolled out of a church sanctuary, I can send the pastor a message of "get over it" just like those Warren supporters who made those same comments against the Asians who filed that grievance.  Actually, in all honesty, even though I've been searching for a ministerial training program, if I were to learn that a shooting and/or tragic incident occurred with certain specific churches, I'll admit I may find myself in a celebratory mode.  Like if another child of Warren were to take their own life, or if Saddleback experienced some other sort of tragedy, it'll be like a Raider's victory, and you know how much of a Raiders fan I am.

The Journey SF, Cornerstone Church, actually BOTH Cornerstone Churches in SF, don't ever think that I'll pray with you or for you if some crazy were to enter your place and tear sh*t up.  Same for Rev Lynch and Practical Christian, whether it's an actual church or not.  Either case, karma's a bitch.  Pastor Lightfoot may be dead, but karma will accept payments from his so-called legacy.

Time to shop for "Get Over It" cards...can't wait to mail them!

14 August, 2013

Fox News vs. Reza Aslan

By now I'm sure the infamous debate that the inept Fox News reporter Loren Green created against Reza Aslan has been forwarded and viewed numerous times.  The more I view the so called interview, the more I question the qualifications on what it takes to be hired as a "journalist" for FOX News.  Based on my observations of the footage, the lone requirement to work for FOX in the capacity of a host is:

1) Modest and professional appearance with a hint of attractiveness.
2) 8th grade reading level for teleprompter abilities.
3) Voice/speech coaching to articulate words.
4) Transparency to show emotions.
 I also suppose that logic and common sense was NOT a requirement.

If you haven't seen the footage or know what I'm referring to now, simply goto YouTube and type keywords: "Resa Aslan, FOX, Loren Green" and the footage should pop up.   I only heard heresay about biased from FOX News over the last few years in the aftermath of the Obama election back in 2008, although I heard they were pretty biased on behalf of Former President Bush and The Iraq War 2.0.  What I saw was not even journalism.  I have never seen a reporter or interviewer look so ill-prepared for an assignment.  I mean it had all the appearance of a real-life Kelly Bundy auditioning for a newscaster position type of situation.

Reza Aslan was on FOX News to discuss the contents of his recently released Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth  Unfortunately, he ended up not discussing his book because Loren Green kept placing him in a position to defend his right to even write the book in the first place.

Based on Ms. Green's logic, as a person of Chinese descent, I will utilize her logic and declare from this day forward that all Sinologists who have no trace of Chinese ancestry whatsoever are not qualified to write any literature on China, Chinese, or Asia-related material.  

Sounds ridiculous?  Ludicrous?  I later learned that this was actually not an anomaly on FOX;  this was actually a common practice amongst other hosts and journalist on that network.  I don't know what's scarier: that such programming is the norm on national television or that a significant segment of the population would actually accept it at face value without any question and/or research.

And I haven't even discussed what the topic is in relation to this blog which is my discourse and reflection on spirituality and religion.  That's because the point of all this was to show and illustrate how a news interview can distract one from the core issue topic.

If you really want to know more about the content of the book, click on the above title link and order the book.  Heck as much reading as I do, I wouldn't mind reading it myself.  I just had a surge of energy after reading The Shack.  I highly recommend that book for those who were or still are angry at God, and/or those who question whether or not there is a God period.

 What's more disturbing about the situation is the fact that Loren Green is supposedly the "Religious Correspondent" of FOX News.  It's disturbing in the sense that after Dr Aslan listed his credential as a religious scholar, it went totally over her head and she promptly returned to her argument in questioning his qualifications for writing the book due to his personal faith.  I don't know what their qualifications are for a "Religious Correspondent," but I expect more than someone to simply regurgitate other peoples religious opinions.   

Otherwise Dr. Aslan has FOX and Ms. Green to thank because he ended up #1 in book sales after the interview.  Great job FOX. 

11 April, 2013

To Unlearn...

For the past three years, I've been cramming every New Thought pioneer author from Cady to Butterworth to E. Fox to Fillmore, all the way to Ponder and other authors.  Certain books I carry with me to read over and read over again.  For the last year and 3/4 I've been attending different New Thought based worship centers, primarily Unity, and most recently I finally pledged membership at the Castro Valley Unity Church.

It's not such much that I need to learn something new, it's more of a need to emotionally let go and unlearn what's been imbedded in me from a spiritual perspective.  If you never had a church background and you decide to embrace the core belief/premise of The New Thought Movement, I border on "envy."  The reason is because you're learning from a much clearer slate than I am.  

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the terms, "New Thought," "mainstream/evangelical" or any other terms common with non-Catholic Christianity, there are many resources out there on the internet, and you can simply look at my older entries on this blog.  Let me clarify what I mean when I used the term "Mainstream/Evangelical Christianity:"  This normally refers to Christian churches not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, and their basic beliefs/agreements include:

1) Old and New Testament of the Holy Bible to be the highest authority/Word of God

2) Humanity had fallen as a result of Eve's "disobedience in the Garden of Eden" which caused "sin" to enter the world.
Corollary to 2 is We as in humanity are "sinners."
3) Jesus is both simultaneously God and Man
Corollary to 3 is Jesus was borned by Mary, who was impregnated not physically, but spiritually
Jesus performed numerous miracles
Jesus is "God's begotten Son." (yes, in capital letters)  
4) Jesus was crucified on the Cross during the Jewish Passover festival.  
5) Three days after his death, Jesus was resurrected.  
6) God exist in the form of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit
7) Humanity is condemned for their "sin" to eternity in Hell.
Corollary to 7: believing, confessing, and accepting Jesus death and resurrection of the Cross saves them from eternal Hell.  Grace as a result from Christ covers all sins committed by those believers and are pardoned and forgiven.
Corollary to the corollary: those who don't believe in Jesus will go to Hell.  

That's pretty much it in a nutshell.  In a lot of ways, those core beliefs doesn't deviate much from Roman Catholicism, but it gets more complicated to the point I'm not knowledgeable enough to provide a nutshell of their basic beliefs.  I can tell you that after being in a relationship in the last three years with a very devout Catholic young lady, what I do learn I tend to disagree or put up an initial resistance.  

The premise for New Thought:

1) We (humanity) are created in the Image and Likeness of God.

Corollary to 1 is we're divine beings with God present in us. ie, we're spiritual beings having a human experince
2) The Universe is expanding and growing because God is expanding and growing
3) Only one power exist Universally: God.  No other power exist.
4) As an additional Corollary to 1, we(humanity) as Divine beings, are given dominion, therefore what we think, we create.  (ie, thoughts become things)
5) For New Thought Christians: Jesus manifested the Beingness of Christ, however he isn't the only one who can; we all can.  

So for so many years, as a member of The Salvation Army, I learned and it was reinforced to me over and over how my best effort to connect with God was just "a filthy rag" as compared to "His Holiness."  Without Jesus, or without Christ, I was doomed.  When I church hopped from Crosswinds to Cornerstone to Journey, the message was the same, with perhaps a "more graceful" message that "they love the Sinner, but HATE their Sin."  

Here's the irony in all this.  The first description of Man (Humanity) in Genesis (1st book of the Old Testament of the Bible) is that Man was "created in the image and likeness of God." (Gen 1:26-28)  So this whole concept that man is "sinner saved by Grace" is false.  Yet from an emotional and core standpoint, this is one thing that's challenging to let go of.  As a matter of fact, I'm looking over my shoulders out for lightning to strike me as I type this.  

So much need to unlearn and to let go.