Truth

Did Trump Teach You that God is the Supreme Ruler?

Trump Black Church

(Photo Credit: The Washington Post)

With the arrival of President Donald J. Trump, a “newfound” understanding of God as the supreme ruler of all has emerged. What’s most troubling about this, however, is the “novel” recognition is more about expressions of anger, protest, and resistance than it is about the truth of our sovereign God. Being “woke” should begin with the reality that God has been the sole ruler of all long before Trump—even long before George Washington. If you want to oppose, criticize President Trump, that’s more than fine. Please, however, don’t act like God just became the King of all of humanity and phenomena. The Lord’s supremacy should always guide all of our thoughts and actions, regardless of political party or ideological persuasion.

Psalm 82: God the Supreme Ruler

Psalm 82 states, “God presides in the heavenly council; in the assembly of the gods he gives his decision: ‘You must stop judging unjustly; you must no longer be partial to the wicked! Defend the rights of the poor and the orphans; be fair to the needy and the helpless. Rescue them from the power of evil people. ‘How ignorant you are! How stupid! You are completely corrupt, and justice has disappeared from the world. ‘You are gods,’ I said; ‘all of you are children of the Most High.’ But you will die like mortals; your life will end like that of any prince.’ Come, O God, and rule the world; all the nations are yours.”

Justice and Political Action and Discourse in the Era of Trump

Presidents come and go, politicians come and go, kings and queens come and go, but God is eternal. His kingship is eternal and it’s not based on human votes or anything else of the material world: He serves by the divine authority of “the heavenly council; in the assembly of the gods.”

Yes, as Psalm 82 makes clear, we’re to resist injustice and wickedness and champion the rights of the powerless, the voiceless (“the poor and the orphans…the needy and the helpless”). Without a true understanding and commitment to the already eternal supremacy of God, the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed, the marginalized will never find liberty from “the power of evil people.” If you, therefore, consider President Trump among “the power of evil people,” then a real sincerity toward God must govern your discourse, your approach, your resistance.

In short, God didn’t just show up on the scene when you surrendered your equanimity to the truth that President Donald J. Trump is your legitimate president of the United States—not simply to be called “45,”—but He’s always been the supreme ruler of all, for “all nations are yours,” even before any human was created.

Ground your protesting and resistance in the truth of God’s eternal supremacy, a supremacy that has always existed.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: God’s Pulpit Isn’t a Bully Pulpit

 

Black Preacher

(Photo Credit: Christianity Expert)

Before you step into the pulpit, surrender your personal agenda(s), for the pulpit isn’t a space to take spineless, milquetoast shots at folks. Ephesians 4:15 calls us, ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to “speak the truth in love”—keywords: “truth” and “love.” Ministries become ineffective when preachers and pastors use their positions as weapons of carnal warfare, ultimately leading to their own undoing (II Corinthians 10:4). Pastors are called to “feed” and not beat, not condemn (Jeremiah 3:15). Unfortunately, in numerous churches across the nation, pastors beat more than they feed, essentially functioning as tools for Satan. If you’re a pastor or preacher who has developed acrimonious relationships with individuals, then work on ameliorating those relationships in private—not from God’s hallowed pulpit.

When bitterness and discord accompany you to the pulpit, they win; the anointing fails to flow. You inevitably begin to see that God cannot employ you in the ways He once was able; you inevitably begin to see that your spiritual gifts—like the gift of healing—do not work for you any longer; you inevitably begin to see that your personal and ministry’s finances dwindle significantly—as does church attendance. Why? Because you’ve “given place” to the Devil and not concentrated solely on Jesus (Ephesians 4:27). Issues, problems and people have taken Jesus’ spot. Why? Because you’ve become self-occupied instead of Christ-occupied.

Again, settle your issues and problems out of the pulpit—in private. For I Thessalonians 4:11 says, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before” (New Living Translation).

True Believers, we pray for a day when all pulpits are genuinely reverenced by those who frequent them.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison               

You Need A Reality Check

Reality Check

(Photo Credit: Globster)

Sometimes you have to give people a reality check.  Reality checks are beneficial for people.  They help to provide people with the necessary understanding of who they are and how they developed into the people they are today.  Too often people get selective amnesia and think that they simply arrived where they are without the help of anyone else.  It’s important to help people to realize they may only be as good as those who helped them to get where they are today.  Unfortunately, individuals can fool themselves into actually believing their own lies. When you live and believe your own lies, you’re delusional, and delusional people need to be placed in a mental facility for treatment.  Are you a delusional person needing to benefit from mental health services because you live and believe your own lies?

Don’t be afraid to check yourself into a mental health facility to receive the mental health treatment you need to overcome psychological problems.

The fundamental reason why people would rather live a lie than the truth is they don’t have the confidence in who they really are to live the truth. They believe the lies they live are going to mask the truth about them, but you can never camouflage the truth about yourself; the majority of folks will recognize the truth about you. When you attempt to hide the truths about yourself, you’re simply wasting time.  All of the time you invest in being phony could be used to make serious advancements toward becoming the person you long to be.

Do you realize that phony people are dangerous?  Why are they dangerous?  They are dangerous because they will inevitably become so frustrated that the only way they can live with themselves is to destroy the people around them.  If you don’t believe this, you haven’t been around people who are truly delusional.  When you have an experience with a really delusional person, he or she will aid you in understanding why he or she (and others like him or her) has the potential to cause you and others great harm.

We need to have greater national discourses in America about mental health.  Our national conversations about mental health, however, cannot overlook the importance of calling people to be themselves.  There must be stronger encouragement for people to welcome and appreciate truth, including truths about themselves.  When people have a better appreciation and embracement of truth, they will begin to love themselves genuinely.  A healthy love of yourself is essential.  You cannot truly love yourself until you embrace everything about yourself, including your ugly truths.

Recognize that your ugly truths are present to let you know that you’re still human and imperfect.  Keep working to improve those things about yourself that displease you.  You must, however, know that there are some things about yourself that you cannot change.  Some things about yourself are simply a part of who you were created to be.

When God created you, He made only one of you.  Be proud to be the person God wonderfully made you to be. He made you special; it’s your job to recognize it and thank Him for it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Get to the Heart of the Matter

White Couple

(Photo Credit: Daily Mail)

When you desire to have a serious discourse with someone, be sure you’re ready to be transparent with him or her. Beating around the metaphorical bush with the person you’re communicating with can cause him or her to distrust you.  It can appear to him or her that you have something to hide.  If you truly don’t have anything to conceal from the person, then get to the heart of the matter; that is, let the person know what’s truly on your mind.  When you’re having an important conversation with an individual and you’re not as forthcoming as possible, one has to wonder if it’s really a conversation or not; it could just be a performance.

No one wants to feel like he or she is banging his or her head against the wall just to get you to offer a smidgen of candor.  The reality is many people aren’t prepared to engage in frank discourses with others.  One can posit that most relationship problems, including legal separations and divorces, are a result of a failure to have bold communication.  Too many people lack the boldness to have the conversations that need to take place.

People will never really know what’s bothering you if you’re not willing to tell them.  You will discover that it’s liberating to disclose to people how you’re really feeling.

Although it may not be what you want to hear, you reveal yourself to be a coward when you lack the courage to say what needs to be said.  This is why it’s vital to help people to overcome their fears.  By helping more people to overcome their fears, there will be a reduction in the number of people who allow the fear to communicate candidly to hinder or sever their various relationships.

Some people are afraid to have bold conversations because they are fearful of confrontation.  It’s almost impossible to go through life without experiencing confrontation.  Those individuals who aren’t afraid of confrontation and who aren’t afraid to have frank discourses with you are demonstrating maturity.  There will be some who will say they just love drama, but the reality is mature people never leave what needs to be said unsaid.

Being bold about what you say does not mean being intentionally hurtful to others.  You can speak truthfully to people without being abrasive. Just don’t let the potential of someone getting hurt by your words prevent you from saying what needs to be said, however.  Ultimately, the person who receives your candid words will be better off having heard your words.

When a person is honest with you, what he or she says to you may make you angry.  Give the person credit for being truthful.  Respond to the truth in a mature way.  You don’t want people to avoid speaking candidly to you because they know you will react immaturely.  The way we receive truth will unveil important revelations about us, even some revelations we may not be ready to receive.

It’s time to get real with the people around you, and it’s time to get real with yourself.  Have the essential discourses you need to have today.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Truth Should Never Hurt

Truth

(Photo Credit: Match Stic)

We live a world where far too many people do not embrace truth. Many people love to run from truth and make excuses about it.  When you fail to face truth candidly, directly and willingly, you will find yourself living a life saturated with problems. Most of those problems are self-imposed. One of the fundamental reasons why people feel that truth hurts is it does not change. You should not let it hurt you, however. When you present someone with truth, it will not change simply because he or she is your friend or family member; truth is truth—no matter who does not like or agree with it.

If people would invest more time in working to ameliorate the phenomena truth exposes that are wrong in their lives, then they would have a significantly less antagonistic relationship with truth. Instead of getting angry with someone who provided you with a substantive critique full of truth, accept the revelations of truth to place you on a path to experiencing dramatic progress.  Don’t hate truth-tellers—hate the fact that you’re not a lover of truth.

Those who have serious self-esteem problems or low self-esteem are often individuals who have the most challenging time confronting truth. As a means of avoiding truth, they will engender false identities and realities to attempt to palliate the often unsettling realities of truth.

Learn to accept the things you cannot possibly change and work passionately to change those you can. You have to realize complaining each day is not going to enhance your life.

Too many people love to laud themselves as being “real” and champions of truth. When you are an authentic person and lover of truth, you never have to say this yourself―others will do it. Most of the folks I’ve witnessed presenting themselves as “real” and champions of truth are complete phonies. They use multifarious deceptive characterizations of themselves to try to avert attention from the true toxicity of their facades.

Again, truth should never hurt. If you ever feel that truth hurts, then this indicates that you need to change your relation to truth. A misguided and unhealthy relationship with truth can be destructive. You can live a more liberated and victorious life when you allow truth to reign.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Value of Your Funk: Part Two

Funky Smells

In The Value of Your Funk: Part One, I defined “funk” to mean one’s imperfections, disappointments, vexing past, professional and academic inadequacies, physical shortcomings, mental imbalances, low self-esteem, failures, utter unhappiness, and all of the other things unpleasing to him or her.  For those who did not have a change to read Part One of this series, I encourage you to read it because we all are funky—always have been and always will be.  If you’re in a serious relationship with someone, you should not withhold important information about your past and present from him or her.  Your girlfriend or boyfriend deserves to know about things you have done in the past and things you’re doing now.

If in your past you have been considered “whorish” because you have had sex with numerous people, you should feel compelled to inform your partner about this.  Your partner deserves to know that you’ve had such an active sexual intercourse history.  He or she may not want to be with you after you disclose this information to him or her, but it’s only fair to let him or her know this.  One thing about your vexing past is details about it that you don’t want to come out can emerge at the most inopportune times.  It would, therefore, be useful for you to go ahead and engage in discourses with your girlfriend or boyfriend about things from your past that could negatively affect him or her or things you know he or she would not approve of if he or she knew about them.  You will set yourself up for failure later on in your relationship if you elect not to deal with troubling things from your past and present up front.

Don’t run away from your past!

Your past is an essential part of who you are and what you have and will become.  Details about your past help people to understand more about you, even if you’ve completely turned away from living a certain type of life.  People will honor how you have changed your life, reject you because of your past, or they may be indifferent but don’t try to hide your past.  Be yourself.  Be honest with people.  No matter what you attempt to do to cover up your funk, it’s inevitably going to rise to the surface.

In no way am I saying that you should share everything with your girlfriend or boyfriend.  It probably is not appropriate to share everything with anyone.  You should, however, share essential information with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

For those of you who have had sexual intercourse with members of the same sex, and you’re now in a solemn relationship with someone of the opposite sex, you have a responsibility to tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that you have had sex with members of the same sex.  You know this is something that is going to worry you for the rest of your life if you don’t reveal it to your mate.  You will always fear he or she is going to find out.  Why not let him or her know up front?  Go ahead and combat any consequences and/or challenges of exposing the truth from your past in the early stages of your relationship rather than later on in your relationship.  If you wait until later on in your relationship, you mate is probably not going to be able to forgive you and may never be able to trust you again.  You run the risk of making yourself even more miserable about your past.

Without question, Black men have the most difficult time divulging they are gay or bisexual.  Many Black bisexual men who are involved in meaningful relationships with women are too afraid to unveil they are bisexual or once were bisexual.  Your bisexual past and present is a critical dimension of your identity.  Why are you attempting to bury it or camouflage it?  You’re always going to be uncomfortable with yourself when you’re unwilling to deal critically with your funk.  Hiding who you truly are from people only results in you denying yourself from living a liberated and happy life.  Why withhold from yourself a chance at living a truly free and happy life?  Is pleasing your family, friends, and society that vital to you that you’re willing to surrender who you really are for them?

Stop living a lie.  Stop presenting yourself as heterosexual in public when you’re really gay in private.  Your public and private self will always be in conflict when you’re not willing to be honest with yourself and those around you.  Stop people pleasing and simply be yourself.  What’s wrong with being yourself?

Now, there are people who will claim they are themselves but are unwilling to live a life reflective of truly being themselves.  Being yourself takes more commitment than simply saying and writing it—it takes a willingness to face the backlash of those who overtly and subtly despise you because you’ve made the choice to be yourself.  You’re not being yourself when you do and say things just to please people and to prevent them from calling you names that will offend you.

If you’re not truly committed to being yourself, stop saying and writing “be yourself.”  You severely distort and damage the essential message of those of us who truly are ourselves.

An unwillingness to be yourself will inevitably not make you any good for yourself and your boyfriend or girlfriend.  Be a real man and real woman and face your funk.  Your funk is not going anywhere so don’t spend your entire life running from it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Politics of Silence: Defending the Extremely Outspoken Among Us

Most Christians passionately believe “if you be still God will fight your battle.” Of course, this belief emerges from Exodus 14:14. I’m a Christian and I believe in this scripture too. I don’t, however, think that this scripture means that one cannot offer his or her opinions on everything at any moment. For me, the scripture does not have anything to with being silent, but has everything to do with trusting in God to solve those matters that are beyond one’s ability to solve on his or her own. My life is an open book.

I never hesitate to express my viewpoints on anything—no matter where I’m situated. I’m never fearful about sharing anything with anybody in any place about myself, except for information that may be a personal or family security risk. I’m not going to share my Social Security number and my mother’s Social Security number with you in this piece. I know you were just waiting for me to give out those numbers.

We’re all unique human beings. I’m a person who elects not to be silent on anything. People who have something to say about everything in any place should not be viewed in any more negative light than people who choose to be silent all the time, most of the time, or some of the time. What’s so virtuous about keeping your mouth closed? Of course, people are going to present all types of hypotheticals and real-life cases where speaking out caused people great harm and even death. My dominant response to those hypotheticals and real-life cases is you have to speak up for yourself—even if it costs you everything.

Lovers of truth are not afraid of the consequences of truthful expressions. Using your voice is one of the strongest ways to stand up for yourself and to articulate who you really are.

While it may sound all cute and sophisticated to say that silence can speak volumes, silence does not say anything in reality. Silence is silence. Silence communicates silence. What are you saying when you keep your mouth closed? Nothing!

I know I’m in the minority on this issue, but I have to stay true to who I am. I’m a person who will not hold back anything.

It’s my desire for a space in the American and global imagination to be engendered where extremely outspoken people like me are viewed as no more flawed than those who elect to employ silence at some level. I really would like to know what makes “quiet people” more virtuous than those of us who are extremely outspoken? Those “quiet people’s” silence could be the very reason why they may be getting pressed so small. While you sit there and say nothing (and perhaps even nod your head and smile) you could be taking unnecessary attacks that could be circumvented by simply speaking out—open your closed mouth!

To my fellow Christians, faith without works is dead!

I contend that this politics of silence is a way to rein in those of us who are extremely outspoken. I believe this is a massive attempt to make people like me more docile.

Now, when there are times when you just don’t want to speak, that’s personally fine with me. It’s fine with me because you are not doing it to give honor to the politics of silence—you’re doing it because you simply don’t want to say anything right then. You’re not trying to pretend that your silence is communicating anything other than you just don’t want to say anything.

I just don’t want people trying to think that a general proclivity to exercising silence and/or to being perceived as a “quiet person” is a powerful virtue.

I’m a tremendously successful person and my outspokenness has gained me an overwhelming amount more than it has cost me. In fact, the things that my outspokenness has cost me are not even things that are important.

Again, as I’ve previously stated, I know that the views expressed in this piece will not only be in the minority in America but also across the globe. These thoughts emerge from various people, including my parents, often telling me that I need to learn to keep my mouth closed. During the times that I did keep my mouth closed, I was steamrolled and lost things that I could have had if I would have said what I had to say. Many of my enemies could have already been defeated if I would have spoken instead of exercising silence. Certain people would not have been able to get away with things if I would have spoken instead of being silent. Many people would not have misunderstandings about me if I would have elected to speak instead of being silent.

Yes, I’ve tried employing silence often but it has never worked out too well for me. I’ll continue being extremely outspoken because I’ve experienced great success and happiness this way.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison