What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. As most people know, this is the 40 days period of preparation for Easter with reflection, repentance, and prayer. Most people fast or give up things for Lent. I am not Catholic but I have fasted and given up thing before for Lent as a way to get closer to God. In the past I’ve given up alcohol, reality television, and sweets. I always make it the 40 days. I feel great about myself for having the self-control and will to do so. I have not necessarily felt closer to God in doing these things. Today while I was reading my devotional, I came across this passage:

And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.  -Matthew 6:16-18

And there you have it. I can be honest and say that one of the main reasons I give up things for Lent is because everyone else is doing it. I could tell people what I was giving up and why. Then people would go “oh wow….good luck!” That’s why I never got more than an exercise in self-determination because it wasn’t done in the correct spirit. So this year I’m not giving up anything. I am going to use this period to pray more sincerely and to better my temple. I am going to continue my work on becoming a better Christian and a better person altogether. My walk with Christ i not supposed to be a show but I want people to see Him when they see me and my work. THAT i my focus for the Lenten season.

Are you giving up something for Lent? What is it? What are your preparations before Easter?

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A Self Hating Black Person….?

Yesterday Jackson State University played Texas Southern University on ESPNU. Even living down here in the area, I decided to watch the game on TV rather than actually go to Veterans Memorial Stadium to watch it. You want to know why I didn't go? I didn't go because I like football. I don't think it makes good sense to pay any amount of money to watch mediocre SWAC football just to wait until halftime to see the bands play. This is why I make it my business to go to Atlanta every January to see the Honda Battle of the Bands (….that and to catch up with my Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha family). While watching the game on TV, I realized that JSU isn't really all that good a football team. It's just that Texas Southern was so……BAD. I'm talking three fumbled punts by TxSouthern leading to three JSU touchdowns bad.
 
I said as much on Twitter….because I say whatever I'm feeling on Twitter. A lot of people on my timeline have stated previously that the integration of colleges is what led to black college football being so bad. I said, "you can't really expect top tier athletes to go into subpar programs just because they're black and this is a black school." Period. Point blank. Here is where the Twitter madness began.
 
"Catch 22. Top athletes go to other schools for the tv EXPOSURE. Dream=NFL."
 
To this I replied, "Great athletes come out of the MEAC all the time. They get their dreams fulfilled without the major TV exposure. You need a quality program first." Which is the truth.
 
"Only been a hs #guidance coun for 14 yrs, watched 5 AfAm go to NFL while 500 played in college. All 5 went to SEC D1 sch."
 
This one was a little easier to combat. I replied, "Sorry your experience led you see more than that. I'm a football enthusiast and can name more than 5 blacks from HBCU's that went to the league from last year's draft class. " There were 4 players that were drafted from HBCUs: Johnny Culbreath, South Carolina St.; Frank Kearse, Alabama A&M; Curtis Holcomb, FAMU; Kenrick Ellis, Hampton. Not only were these four drafted but TWENTY-FOUR MORE were signed as undrafted free agents as soon as the lockout ended. So miss me with that. I think I made her mad because I got these series of tweets.
 
"Sounds like you know ur ppl, but they don't know you. Prolly tv. Typical crabs in a bucket put'n down SWAC. B blezd. Self hate is the worst hate. I'm 2 pro-black 2 put any HBCU down. That's just me. Get there 1 day. Keep tryin."
 
This is when I logged out for the night. I'm a self hating black person because I don't like SWAC football. Are you serious?! How many people actually go to the game to WATCH THE GAME? Not very many. It's a band field show and a social event where football is played in the background. My parents both went to Alcorn State University. I've been to enough SWAC games in my life to figure that out. What do guys call it when a team is playing football and gets beat by three touchdowns? Give up? They call it GETTING SWAC'D! I wasn't putting down the schools. I just think the football is bad. That's my opinion. I'm entitled to that. What I need all these "pro-black" people to do is research and speak with knowledge about things they claim to love so dearly. I want them to stop getting so mad about other people's opinions that they do a smoke and mirrors routine to cover up their ignorance.
 
I am a black woman. I know where I come from. I graduated from the University of Mississippi and learned more about my skin color than I ever could have imagined. Get over yourself. Learn to see something past skin color. I also don't care for Ole Miss football and think that maybe we should join Conference USA…..but you didn't ask that…did you? For me to be such a self hating black person, I surely knew more about these young black men than she did. I go out of my way to know these things. I don't rest on a degree from a particular college or living in particular neighborhood to give me my blackness. I live in it everyday. That was not my first time hearing that….I'm sure it won't be my last.
 

Is It A Crime To Disagree?

Today I was reading my daily devotional Bible reading plan, which I absolutely love because it keeps me in the word every day…..not just on Sundays. (If I restricted my faith to Sundays, I wouldn’t have any because my church going is VERY irregular) Today’s passage was:

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 NLT

Have you ever tried to argue in a whisper? It is equally hard to argue with someone who insists on answering gently. On the other hand, a rising voice and harsh words almost always trigger an angry response. To turn away wrath and seek peace, choose gentle words.

This stuck with me because last week was a very argumentative week for me to say the least. Boo Thang and I have been having the dumbest of arguments lately. I think the change of scenery, slight stress, and new living situation has us biting at each other a little bit. We’re fine (can’t let the night slip away before we make things right), but I’ve noticed that we are some loud arguers, lol. Gentle answers are something that we both need to work on. He gets loud, I get louder….and the next thing we know we’re wondering why the other is screaming. Which always breaks the argument into laughter (we’re odd). But an argument or two in a relationship is to be expected.

This devotion REALLY stuck with me because of my “arguments” on social networks. I enjoy intelligent discussions and debates. They are my life force. I am the type of person that has to get my point across. If I don’t agree with you, I will tell you why and back it up with all the reasons why. Blame it on law school….but I love to go back and forth with people. Who knows? You talk a good enough game and I just might change my mind.

What irritates me are those people that have ideals and thoughts about particular things with basis or backing. When you ask them why they believe that, they have a shaky explanation. When you tell the reason you believe the opposite, they get upset. *side eye* Is it a crime to disagree nowadays? A lot of people on social networks (well…..life in general)are under the assumption that if you think differently from them that you hate them and everything you say is wrong. I had a Twitter discussion earlier this week about The Help with a follower (why I did this to myself for the 3rd time is BEYOND ME). He said that he neither read the book nor saw the movie and wasn’t planning on doing either. Then proceeds to talk about it. I said, “I really can’t get on board with anything you’re saying because you aren’t able to speak intelligently about the subject.” From here, I was accused of insulting his character and integrity. Was that “harsh words to make a temper flare?” I regularly get into these debates with the same end result. *sighs* What I have come to realize is that people don’t like to be challenged. While I enjoy this mental stimulation, others are content where they are. I have vowed to stay away from these debates with people I don’t know very well. It’s a headache.