Nintendos, Ninja Turtles and Marbles

Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s the only thing a kid needed was a Nintendo (NES), Ninja Turtles, Marbles and possibly a few other things. Moreover, if you didn’t own any of these things or something else of value you knew someone who did. We built things with our hands. We stacked Legos and played Pogs. We used cassette tapes and made beats with our mouths, hands and on random desks or tables. We rode Huffy’s and BMX’s and popped willies. We played outside, fell on the ground, bled, got up with ripped jeans and did it all over again because it was fun. Well, outside of the person with the pouty lips who took their ball home everyone was playing with because he didn’t want to play anymore.

And we did all of this before the streetlights came on.

We imagined, dreamed and took action. We treated the world with a sense of AWE. [inlinetweet prefix=”RT” tweeter=”jeremyqbutler” suffix=”#inspire #imagination #productive Ninja Turtles, Marbles and Nintendos”]#dream[/inlinetweet]

The Tragedy of Philip Seymour Hoffman

I made a comment on Facebook yesterday that went nuts over fact that the police went Dog the Bounty Hunter nuts over catching Philip Seymour Hoffman’s drug dealers and I didn’t understand why… below you will find my thoughts on this tragedy, his death, The System and culture we live in.

If you’re like me, you didn’t personally know Philip Seymour Hoffman. Also, if you’re like me you probably recognized his face, maybe his name and some of the movies you may have seen him in when the news erupted of his death. The Internet, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram went RIP and into a frantic frenzy over Mr. Hoffman; and rightly so, because they FELT connected with him through his work but interestingly enough had never met him.

This man could act – hands down! He was an electrifying talent onscreen and appeared to be a good guy offscreen! I have had a few conversations with my close friends about the depth & goodness of his body of work as an actor because I love acting (and I went to college for it). In addition, this read is not a rant on his addiction or lifestyle but on the System (The Judiciary System) which I’ll explain later in this post.

I am saddened by his death because you don’t want to see people go down like that. I am also alarmed by his death because it set off something in me that pissed me off. Yesterday I read in The Huffington Post a headline that stated, “Cops Make Arrests In Connection With Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death (UPDATE)”. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t endorse or support the drug dealing vocation. Therefore, I am not angry that people who sell drugs get busted and thrown into jail (that’s another post). And I’m also thankful for all of the work our law enforcement officials do knowingly and unknowingly to protect the communities they serve, love and live in.

However, I am concerned with the idea that cops are bending over hand over foot to catch the drug dealers of a white affluent male with influence when the death of a poor black men, addicted to the same crack, in suburban and urban America go unnoticed. This idea cements into my mind that “White Privilege” is still alive and thriving more than ever. Let’s not kid ourselves it’s not a thing of the past as some think. Until you are racially profiled, looked at as a thief or thug, talked to in a condescending tone and looked at as a NIGGER by some in society shut up and listen… It’s real and tangible. 

So, why am I shocked about The System that is set up to incarcerate African Americans who make up 13% of America’s population and own 40+% of the America’s prison population? The tragedy of his death raises more concerns than actually putting his soul to rest in my eyes. Lord, and I hope he rest well. But it yells in a very subtle way that racial and classist undertones still permeate through our thinking and culture. More, many are unaware and or overlook these issues because of a multitude of reasons I don’t have the energy to go into [Read my article on Beyonce and Miley Cyrus]. The System is broken, has been broken and will continue to be broken regardless of who’s in office, what your pastor preaches and what programs community organizations put in place.

Granted, hearts and minds will slowly change as they are exposed to new ideas that will better their future and communities. Nevertheless, don’t expect a flood of people in a country rooted in diversity, racism, capitalism, religious intolerance, indifference, cultural traditions, idiosyncrasies & ideologies, freedom of speech and ignorance to change overnight. It takes time, prayer and action.

How do we move forward? Where does reconciliation and equality begin? What do we teach and show our children about the other side of the coin (righteousness, justice, peace, mercy, love and equality). Are African Americans brought into this world with a target on their backs because of the color of their skin (60 years removed from the Civil Rights)? Are all white people racists? Does reverse racism and classism exist? What spiritual legacy do we pass down? The System is meant to serve and protect… but who does it really cater to?

You can teach an old dog new tricks but at what expense?

FINAL THOUGHTS
Addiction and enabling an addiction is selfish and there are many routes to it. It’s no laughing matter. If you know someone stuck in an addiction here are some resources to help you or a loved kick an addiction in the ARSE:

Alcohol – http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-121_en.pdf
Porn – http://www.xxxchurch.com/
Celebrate Recovery – http://www.celebraterecovery.com/
Crack and other Drugs – http://drugabuse.com/

PEACE AND BLESSINGS in the name of Jesus Christ to Philip Semour Hoffman’s family and friends and may the God of peace give them comfort. PSH, you will be deeply missed by those you impacted.

God is Not a Random or Jump off but the God of Grace

God of GraceI submit to you today that God is not some random or jump off but the God of Grace.

I’ve purposely steered clear of mentioning God (with a few exceptions) on my blog over the years, but today is a different story. Today is a day of liberty for someone reading this. Today is a day that someone needs to get it right! Not the culturally “right” or “politically right” where we point fingers and have 3 to 4 pointing back at us. We’ve seen enough of that in our church, our communities and our political circles.

“Right”, as in… How is your heart with God? How is your walk with Christ?

Many, times we associate the God of the Bible with someone who is far off, distant, not relevant and not active in our daily lives. Or, if he’s real he doesn’t care or he’s constantly pissed and angry with us because of our sins or rebellious lifestyle. Our ideas of God that don’t derive from Scripture will come from some place…. the question is, what place will they come from?

When we keep God in a shoebox at the bottom and in the back of closet we limit him and his power. We limit God because of our unbelief, doubts, past experiences, family make up and sin(s). We only bring him out on special occasions like playing board games at family reunions, holiday gatherings or social events. More, we only open up the shoebox when we have a very desperate need; otherwise we fail to connect with him on a daily like he’s some random or jump off.

God is not a hoe. He’s no harlot that you can pimp whenever you need him.

God is GREATER THAN the box we’ve placed him in. Don’t put him in a box.

Let’s go Deeper

  1. Is Jesus who he said he was and is?
  2. How can a man claim to know him but is in the same place spiritually a year later?
  3. How can a man know him but not love his brother, sister and for that his enemies?

I believe God desires a deeper relationship with his people as evidenced in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 19:38-20:9). He desires more… he desires our hearts to be committed to him. We cannot allow past relationships and mistakes to frame the only relationship that should matter into a shoebox he can’t get out of. Now, he is God and he can get out of the shoebox at anytime. However, Scripture paints a vivid picture of Jesus not being able to do any miracles because the people he went to heal and save had a lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6).

Have faith, heart and commitment. If you don’t have any of these, good because he has already addressed it!

“…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13

God will give you the heart and the power to please him. Take heart and commit yourself, entrust your life and your plans to the Lord and he’ll establish and work it our for your good (Proverbs 16:3, Romans 8:28).

He gives grace to the humble
He resists the proud

He gives grace to the fallen, broken and weak
He restores the strength of his people

He gives grace to the distracted
He awakens and illuminates their minds and restores their identity

He gives grace to the confused
He gives direction and a peace that is unlike anything this world can give

He gives grace in grief
He comforts the hearts of men

He gives grace to the sinner
He calls all men to repentance and faith in him

He gives grace so men can know him and walk in the abundance of the things the world cannot provide.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Drake’s Nothing Was The Same and Jesus

Hip Hopper Drake has an album dropping this month that has already leaked online. Go figure, what album doesn’t leak online these days. TAKE YOUR MASTERS WITH YOU PEOPLE. He’s already had some hit radio singles (Started From the Bottom & Hold On, We’re Going Home) that have pretty enticing beat and creatively batched together lyrics. However, the most interesting thing about the album is its title, “Nothing Was The Same”.

“Nothing Was The Same” could be looking back at the sudden skyrocket to stardom Drake has experienced over the last 5 years or possibly the set up for future success in other areas of industry that he has an eye on. Who knows, every rapper claims to be a mogul, have millions, be an entrepreneur and etc.

The bigger idea that I grabbed from the title was a spiritual one. This is not an attempt to analyze Drake’s spiritually nor is it an attempt to analyze tracks that someone may or may not agree with.

“Nothing Was The Same” reminds of a very unique and undeniably amazing human figure that graced the Earth 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. “Nothing Was The Same” and “Nothing Has Been The Same” since he walked the Earth. He has been called a good teacher and or a prophet by many religions and teachers throughout the ages. Some have called him a liar, others a lunatic and to those he calls unto himself Lord. What do you call him? And if you call him whatever you call him do you live with that “Name/Title” in mind?

I’m anticipating that Drake’s album, when it officially releases, will have some catchy hooks and dope beats. Clarification, I don’t look forward to the offensive lyrics about objectivation of women and glorification of drugs and etc.

Moreover, I’m reminded that everyone has something or someone that they listen to. Everyone (except the mentally disabled) has the ability to make choices and decisions based upon their own free will. Every action has a consequence, be it good or bad. I refuse to believe that the idea that “Nothing Was The Same” is just for the elite, or millionaire rappers, entrepreneurs, dancers, the wealthy, athletes who make it to the league, those who are truly gifted & talented at whatever they put their hands on and child prodigies who take the world by storm.

“Nothing Was The Same” could happen in your life if you take the necessary steps to take responsibility for your actions and put feet to your God given dream(s).

QUANTIFIER for the idea “God Give Dream(s)”:
God gives all men talents. And with those talents we have aspirations and dreams of the not yet. However, it is up to men to use his or her talents to point people to God versus detracting them away from God and pointing people toward his or her own empire(s). Don’t allow your God Given Dream to become perverted and something that God never meant it to be.

A Fitting Tribute: Do It Today

Fitting, I heard a pastor say at a wedding this weekend, “It’s one thing to think about the legacy you will leave your children…. but it’s another thing to think generational”. What will you leave your kid’s kid’s kid’s kids…!?

You cannot afford to live only in the moment b/c your family 150 years from now could live or die based on how you set them up today! Your children can live or die based on what you believe and how you apply yourself today. Every Decision you make is being watched and accounted for and will ultimately impact those you leave behind.

Whatever aspirations that God has placed in your heart before the foundation of the Earth, do it today! If he’s called you to make it right with an individual, make it right. If he’s called you to believe him in faith for something, do it today. Don’t leave it undone. Set in your heart to leave a legacy not just for tomorrow, or for your grand children; but for your children 150 years from now. Do It Today.

A tribute to my friend who passed from this life into eternity 3/25/13

When Your Dream Meets Your Fat Elephant

What will you do when your Fat Elephant meets you on the road to your amazing dream(s)? Elephants are part of life, growth and maturity. However, elephants also have the power to cripple you in mid stride. They can drive fear into your heart and send you retreating back from where you came.

Dreams are birthed in a special place… our hearts. The warm fleshy thing that beats and feels. It is often said that the mind, will and emotions live inside the heart.

  1. Dreams give motivation to fight for your heart’s desires
  2. Dreams can keep you engaged and focused on the task at hand because you see the bigger picture.
  3. Dreams keep you moving when all else seems shaky
  4. Dreams, sometimes, allow you to escape into a surreal world where you get a whiff of “All Things Are Possible” before you float back down to Earth
  5. Dreams have the ability to make believers

You need to come up with a plan to beat your elephant and subsequent elephants as you seek to achieve your dreams.

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the [a]strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26

Dreams, the good things that God placed in your heart before the foundation of the Earth, come to life when you are able to press through the present obstacle(s) because your eyes are set on a loftier goal.

A Note To Fathers

Men, let’s step up and be men. Our children’s worldview of who God is rest greatly on what we present to them as fathers! Here are some helpful steps:

  1. In order to serve and treat our children the way the need to be treated is to come into a saving knowledge of who Jesus Christ, the son of God, is.
  2. Learn his way and apply his teaching and truth to your life through a church that teaches the Bible as foundation.
  3. Stay plugged into God’s love and heart…. allow him to heal your heart of hurt… seek counseling if necessary.
  4. In the midst and after you are being discipled (being taught) filter that love, grace, mercy and justice down into your children’s lives.

“…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. ” – Philippians 2:12-13

Simply put… walk carefully and wise knowing that people (your children) are looking up to you… In addition, God is with you and will give you the desire and power to live right before! O, and it’s goooooood! The blessings of God can’t be compared with the best that this world and sin have to offer.