Al Sharpton NO WAY!

I copied the following information from http://www.somethingwithin.com/blog/?p=132 – Dr. Renita Weem’s blog. This information is very distressing. As a black woman minister I am constantly amazed that people who have been the object of racist oppression would be perpetrators of this action against others. This is yet one more example of this kind of misguided and unholy activity. Perhaps you are like me and missed the story. We cannot afford to be silent. Dr. Weems calls for action at the end of her commentary.

“Let’s Show Al Sharpton That We Are Our Sisters’ Keeper

DEAR READERS:

This mass open letter is a call to action for all black people who
care about the safety and welfare of black women and children in
America. If you are concerned about the recent developments about
Dunbar Village, please copy the post below, and email it to all of
your friends and coworkers.

WE WILL NO LONGER BE SILENT ABOUT VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK WOMEN.

__________________________________________________________

Right-thinking black people everywhere are stunned by the recent betrayal of Al Sharpton and the NAACP in a situation that is just too outrageous to ignore.

This is a painful story to tell, but it’s important for the moral, law-abiding majority of black Americans to understand exactly why Al Sharpton and the NAACP must be immediately stopped.

On June 18, 2007, a black woman was gang raped by 10 youths and forced at gunpoint to have sex with her own 12 year old son in a housing complex called Dunbar Village in West Palm Beach, Florida. The young men not only viciously punched, kicked and sliced this sister and her son with glass objects, but they also blinded her boy by pouring nail polish remover into his eyes.

The young men forced this sister and son to lay naked in a bathtub together, and attempted to set them on fire (they could not find matches). The youths boldly took cell phone pictures so that they could enjoy their violent, immoral and sadistic acts at a later time. The violence continued for more than three hours, and although this sister’s neighbors heard her screams, no one called the police or came to her aid.

This sister and her son had to walk a mile to the hospital, because the assailants stole her car, and threatened to kill her and her family if she told the authorities.

Only four of the young men have been apprehended, while the remaining six are on the loose, doing Lord knows what in our communities. There is no manhunt for the remaining suspects.

As devastating as this story is, what the NAACP and Al Sharpton have done about it will simply take your breath away:Not only did the NAACP ignore hundreds of requests to assist this woman because it was ‘outside the scope of their mission’, but they joined forces with Al Sharpton, and sent their lawyers to speak out IN SUPPORT OF THE RAPISTS.
You heard me right.

Even though there is conclusive DNA evidence and signed confessions, the NAACP and Al Sharpton are saying that it is ‘unfair’ to not offer bail to these four alleged rapists. They even had a press release about it.

IT IS TIME FOR SENSIBLE BLACK PEOPLE TO STOP THIS KIND OF NONSENSE ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Al Sharpton and the NAACP are banking on the belief that you and I will be just like this black woman’s neighbors. Join me by saying NOT THIS TIME. We will not turn a deaf ear to when we hear calls for help from one of our sisters and brothers who are being victimized.

Stop the NAACP and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network from committing this disgrace in our community. Just this once, let’s stand up and be counted by saying that we demand safe neighborhoods for our women and children.

Here is what you can do:

1. Spread the word. Forward this email if your conscience and concern have been raised. Send it to every concerned black citizen that you know.

2. Demand an explanation from your local NAACP chapter about this case. Cancel your membership to these organizations, and write a letter explaining that you will return when they prioritize the public safety needs of black women and children.

3. If you do not belong to these organizations, call and write them to tell them of your outrage and displeasure:

NAACP National Headquarters
4805 Mt. Hope Drive
Baltimore MD 21215
Toll Free: (877) NAACP-98
Local: (410) 580-5777

National Action Network
Rev. Al Sharpton
106 W. 145th Street
Harlem, New York 10039
212-690-3070
877-NAN-HOJ1

If you know an African American reporter or a black radio talk show host, forward this story to them and ask them to follow up on it.”

Read the history of the Dunbar Village problem here:
http://www.dunbarvillage2008.blogspot.com/

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Chapter Six: Sexuality

The deeper we get into this book the more convinced I am that this is a must-read for married couples AND for couples who are engaged. In fact, I am performing my first marriage and am going to require the couple to read the book. Both of these individuals have been married before and I know there is healing that needs to occur if this marriage is going to last.

Chapter 6 helps couples deal with sexuality. Weiss teaches that most of us have never developed a healthy and strong sense of sexuality because of our past sexual histories. Some marriages, he says are plagued with ‘sexual anorexia’ which he defines as “the active withholding of spiritual, emotional and sexual intimacy.” (77) Most people married today have not kept themselves free of sexual liaisons prior to getting married. They come to marriage with premarital sexual baggage that creates hindrances in the present. Sexual activity outside of the bounds of marriage cause tremendous damage- to the person committing the sexual act, to the future wife or husband as well as to the relationship with God. We were created as sexual beings but its expression is right ONLY within the marriage relationship and was created by God to allow us to connect with one person for life.

When sex occurs outside of the marriage relationship, whether in premarital situations, adultery, or pornography the person committing the sin- and that’s what it is- creates a ‘secret place’ that keeps them from being 100 percent intimate with their spouses. Sexual sin exposes you to various personalities and fantasies that can block a person from fully accepting and appreciating their spouse. Sexual sin defiles the marriage institution which God loves so very much. Sexual memories are, as Weiss puts it, an “unfortunate consequence of the sins to which you exposed yourself. Your memory is your problem. Don’t project it onto your spouse.” (82)

Couples have sexual histories as individuals but they also have a shared history. This history can be positive or negative depending upon how you have treated each other during your marriage. Some people have positive relationships because they have worked to keep their communication open and because they created the sexual history within the bounds of marriage. Others have very bad histories including ‘mate rape,’ sexual rejection, adultery and pornography. Couples with these issues will have more difficulty working through the blockages. The only recourse is healing if you want to have an intimate marriage. Healing IS possible, given information and time.

Some couples suffer in the area of sexuality because one of the partners was abused by someone outside of the marriage. Weiss gives very interesting and appalling statistics. He writes that “30% of females and 10% of males are sexually abused before the age of eighteen. That breaks down to about one out of three women and one out of six men.” (84) All of our congregations are negatively impacted by this phenomenon. Sexual abuse causes major problems for the person who was hurt. Sexual abuse is a “three dimensional” trauma involving the spirit, soul and body. The ways that people respond to this trauma is varied. Some become overly sexual, some are not sexual at all. Others struggle with depression, eating disorders, rage, and an inability to have and enjoy healthy relationships. Weiss continues to make an important point: the person who was the offender is 100% responsible for the act but the victim remains 100% responsible for his or her own healing. And I add, we all must seek God for relief from expecting someone else to pay for damage they did not cause. Personal healing will allow the person who has been victimized to have more of themselves to give to their spouse, children and friends.

Sexual addiction is also a huge problem for marriages. It kills spiritual, emotional and sexual intimacy. Weiss notes that between 29-39% of Christian men in local churches are sexually addicted. (86). That means that over a third of us have husbands who suffer from sexual addictions! If your husband falls into this category I recommend that you read the book, Living with Your Husbands Secret Wars by Marsha Means.

Going through this chapter netted some pretty serious conversation on Sunday in our class. Starting with a question about ‘mate rape’ – that is, if your husband forces you to have sex with him when you’ve already said no is this considered ‘mate rape’ – we ended up in a pretty heavy and at times heated discussion about 1) whether Christian women have the right to deny their husbands and 2) if women who do say no do they encourage their husbands to cheat.  You can imagine how that went. Personally, I always get a bit angry when it seems as if women are held responsible -blamed- for their husbands’ wrong choices. It’s much like blaming the victim of spousal abuse saying if she had kept her mouth shut he wouldn’t have hit her.  When the scripture teaches that our bodies are not our own but that they belong to our spouses, did God mean that we are to be ‘ready in season and out of season, whether you feel like it or not?’

Clearly, we need to honor our husbands and wives with our bodies. That’s part of what this book is about. I guess, we may need to go back to the first couple of chapters and read about spiritual and emotional intimacy as the root of physical intimacy if we can expect to be victorious!

What do you think?

Lesson Five: Relational Plaque

Chapter Five relates toxic buildup in relationships to what happens if you don’t keep your teeth brushed. Relational plaque is caused by little acts of neglect as well as large offenses that are not dealt with. Weiss says us that many Christians have a problem with the word sin. We justify sinful behaviors by calling them something else, by rationalizing them. He writes ‘Selfishness, rudeness, taking advantage of another person and lying are all sins!” (67) When we sin against our spouses, we must seek forgiveness. And that forgiveness needs to be expressed sincerely and regularly. Instead, we often belittle or laugh off our spouse’s pain. We do that by making comments such as “I didn’t mean anything by it” or “that’ll teach you to…” or “can’t you take a joke etc.” Weiss teaches that each person will ask his/her spouse to forgive them WEEKLY if they want to avoid relational plaque. This is understandable if we acknowledge that many of the ways we treat each other is sinful and not a justified actions.

Weiss also reminds us that simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ is very different from saying “I sinned against you by….” Saying the words ‘I’m sorry’ is much easier than owning our own bad behaviors. Apologies must be sincere and not lightly given. In this way, you totally own your own sin. If you are not accustomed to apologizing, practice!

There is a really great exercise in this chapter that will help couples get rid of relational plaque. (pages 72-76) Someone in our class described how she and her husband used the process successfully. It is critical that you follow the instructions. Another person explained the relief she got after she had gone through the cleansing process. The class concluded that partners may need to return to the cleansing process regularly in order to honest grant forgiveness.

The goal of this chapter is to help each person understand that sin that we do not own or that is not confessed will become toxic to our relationships.

Start calling sin what it is. And when you sin against your spouse, tell them and ask for forgiveness.

Next chapter: Dealing With Sexuality.

Please post a comment on this or any of the other summaries. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Revdonna

Lesson Four: The Anger Enemy

Many married people are deeply – and justifiably – angry. Abuse and neglect have caused tremendous scarring and traumatized their marriages.  Not only have some refused to share their hearts with spouses but others have been emotionally and physically abused. Adultery is also an insidious part of marriages, unfortunately even among Christian couples. Adultery “affects the spirit, soul and body, creating deep wounds” (48)  and deeply impacts the offended person.  Weiss teaches that in each of these situations, each person has a specific area of responsibility.  The perpetrator is responsible for the feelings of the wounded person. However, the wounded person is the only one who can be responsible for the healing.  This is an important point. If your spouse has deeply wounded you, it is critical that you realize that you are the only person who has responsibility for the healing work that must be done.  If you do not take responsibility, then you will be stuck and anger will be your constant companion. When people are angry, intimacy is not possible.

We must all be careful of the many faces of anger. It can be overt, silent and even hidden. Whichever, it is important to identify the anger, the reason for the anger and to excise it.  To do so, Weiss recommends that we “cleanse” our temples.  Using the story of Jesus cleansing the temple, Weiss gives four principles for cleansing.
1. We must recognize that as the temple of God, it is our responsibility to keep it cleaned. Our temple can become defiled through manipulation, abuse and neglect from others. We can also defile our own temples. However, it becomes defiled, it is OUR responsibility to clean.  Even if our spouses deeply hurt us, we must do our own cleaning.
2. Like Jesus, we must identify the sin that causes the defilement. I loved Weiss’ comments. He writes, “most people who have hurt you have no concept of your holiness and preciousness.” (56)  Sin misuses and abuses something that is holy and sacred.
3. Jesus engaged his anger at the injustice, verbally and physically. This is not a license to beat the heck out of people who hurt us. It is, however, a call to be purposeful in the display of anger at injustices. If you are going to cleanse your temple you must make choices about the way you direct time and resources towards that cleansing.
4. Jesus restored the temple to its original order. Like Jesus, we must take responsibility for our healing and do what needs to be done to restore health and order to our lives. Trauma affects us at three levels- spirit, soul and body. It defiles us on each of those levels. True healing requires healing on all three levels. It is not adequate to do surface cleaning/healing if you want to have deep intimacy with your spouse and with others.

Weiss describes a “cleanse the temple” exercise that I strongly encourage you to read and consider. It is powerful. (58-64)

Lesson Three: Physical Intimacy

As we discussed in the first two chapters, physical intimacy, at its deepest level, is not possible nor is it sustainable unless a couple has first cultivated spiritual and emotional intimacy. Once couples have recognized the importance of these two levels, this important third level takes on a new level of depth and beauty.

God created us as physical beings. Every person needs to be touched – regularly – in order to have a good self-image. Non-sexual touch is very important because it is a NEED and not simply a WANT. The challenge for couples is that God often puts a person who has not grown up being touched with a person who likes to be touched. This makes for some very interesting (ok, stressful) situations if not dealt with properly. It is vitally important that couples get in touch with the value of touch in our marriages. This is critical not only for the health of the spouses but for the vitality of their children’s marriages. Married couples are the first models for their children on what marriage should be.

God gave us beautiful bodies which we offer as gifts to our spouses. Doug Weiss writes “sexual intimacy is the ability to engage your spouse spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It is the holy of holies of your relationship. Sexual intimacy allows us to know and be known in a way that no other person knows us.” (33). That’s why infidelity is such a problem. When a person is unfaithful to their spouse they are allowing another person to know them in a way that should be reserved only for their spouses. In other words, making love to your spouse creates a soul tie. When a person is unfaithful, they create a soul tie with another person.

God sees sex as sacred and holy. We should as well. Doug gives three principles for what he calls ‘three-dimensional sex’ in his book (35-37). I strongly encourage your reading and studying of these. One of the most important parts of Chapter Three is the introduction of the three stages of sexual development.

Stage One: Sexual Childhood
Regardless of age, a person may still be a child sexually. Sexual children do not understand that they are sexual beings, refuse to grow, experiment or explore their sexuality. They are emotional and unreasonable about marital sex.

Stage Two: Sexual Adolescent
These people are willing to be sexual but it is all about them. They refer to sex as “it,” “some,” and other object-type terms. They become angry or pouty when their needs are not met. They are often disconnected emotionally and spiritually during the sex act.

Stage Three: Sexual Adulthood
Weiss teaches that mature sexual adults accept their sexuality and learn to communicate within the limits of their personalities. This is the level to which we all need to strive.

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