Speaking the language of Spirit

LucyShaw-160LIVING THE LIFE I LOVE: Dear Lucy: Things have really been mixed up for me lately. I have done some things to the people I love. I have tried to explain to them. But I just can't find the right words. They are all mad at me and I want their understanding and forgiveness. It's like I am speaking a foreign language. I'm all talked out and can't listen to them beat up on me any more.

Dear "all talked out": It really is hard sometimes to explain to yourself and others the reasons for your actions, pain or transgression. Often it seems impossible. And friends and family can be just as confused and hurt as we are. In their confusion they try to make sense of it in ways that just bring more hurt and confusion. Next thing you know, everybody is wallowing in guilt, hurt, shame and guilt.


African-American clergy push ‘Obamacare’ enrollment

Rev Dr Williams-200A team of African-American preachers has sent a letter to President Barack Obama affirming their "commitment to the Affordable Care Act" even as the President has ordered the website overhauled.

"We believe that access to quality health care is a fundamental civil and human right in America. Historically, over seven million African-Americans have been uninsured and denied access to care with devastating consequences. The Affordable Care Act provides African-Americans, along with Americans of all nationalities, access to desperately needed quality health care," states the letter, signed by 14 African-American preachers, all of whom lead major clerical or civic organizations.

"We affirm our support for the Affordable Care Act. We understand that over time aspects of the Act will be revised as government learns more and to-be-expected administrative glitches will be appropriately addressed but it is essential that we work aggressively with what we have right now. We cannot afford to put this off any longer. Any further delay will have catastrophic effects on the nation's uninsured."


Detroit bishop steps down after same-gender marriage announcement

bishop-allyson-400Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 was not a typical day of worship for Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams. For the first time in more than five years, she no longer stood in the pulpit as pastor of Zion Progress Baptist Church, near downtown Detroit, to preach one of her patented fiery sermons that the congregation had become accustom to hearing.

Abrams officially stepped down as pastor on Friday, Oct. 18, after telling her congregation on the previous Sunday that she was married to a same-gender spouse.

In an exclusive interview with the Michigan Chronicle just two days before she resigned, Abrams told her story.


What to do when the question feels nosey

LucyShaw-160LIVING THE LIFE I LOVE: Dear Lucy: I was at a professional party recently and met up with an acquaintance who has just gotten a man in her life and told me all about him and how happy she was. She quizzed me about my love life and my guy wanting and expecting me to tell her as much as she told me. She was downright insisting that I give her details about who he is, how we met, what kind of work he does. I never asked her these questions. I don't get it. She caught me off guard and I tried to answer her only to be mad at myself later. How do you handle that? – Ticked Off

Dear Ticked Off:

That is routine middle class drama. Some people have homegrown manners and ask how you are doing. Others ask what, when, why, how, where you are doing. Some ask out of profound and heartfelt interest in your welfare and happiness. Others ask because they are nosey and want to be sure you have not gotten ahead of them.



Hope Church reduces energy consumption 23.5 percent; efforts save $425,319

hopechurch-400As the nation celebrates Energy Awareness Month in October, Hope Church administrators are having a celebration of their own – announcing more than $425,319 savings achieved through an innovative energy conservation program since April 2010.

The $425,319 savings is equal to 23.5 percent of the expected energy costs without the program. In environmental terms, the energy saved equates to 2,501 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being prevented, or 449 autos off the highway annually or over 63,977 tree seedlings planted and grown in ten years.

"It is particularly appropriate to celebrate our savings this month," said Mack Oates, Energy Specialist. "Energy Awareness Month is all about teaching people to make good decisions about the energy they use, and that's what our program does. ...


Bishop Steib talks Mother Teresa & more

BishopSteib-600With a warm, captivating spirit, Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD, who oversees the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, on Monday sat down with The New Tri-State Defender to discuss African-Americans in The Catholic Church, the mission of the diocese, and Mother Teresa's monumental visit to North Memphis 25 years ago.

Bishop Steib, the first African-American to serve as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, will be the celebrant of the Jubilee Celebration Mass, which will commemorate Mother Teresa's visit and the "selfless service" of the Memphis outlet of the Missionaries of Charity, an outreach she put in place while here. The observance will be on Saturday (Oct. 5) at Holy Names Catholic Church.

"The importance of the celebration is that they (Missionaries of Charity) have been around for 25 years," said Steib. "It is a long time for someone to be in the ministry that they are involved in, and continuing to work in that."


Health challenge tests a pastor’s faith and resolve

pastor-400t"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

– Isaiah 53:5; King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition

Pastor Levy Conley comes to mind when I think of being tried and tested in faith.

Rev. Conley lives by Isaiah 53:5. He has trusted in God for more than 53 years and has stood firm in believing and delivering God's word to numerous individuals. His wife of 43 years will tell you that her husband was a humble pastor who would give his last dime to help those in need, often putting them before his own family.


Rap star Lecrae prepares to put on his ‘Church Clothes’ again

lecrae-500How do you follow up the most important Christian hip-hop album of all time?

That's the question standing before 33-year-old rapper Lecrae, a freshly-minted addition to Atlanta's hip hop community.

After his 2012 album "Gravity" hit no. 1 on the rap charts (not the Christian rap charts) and no. 3 on the Billboard 200, won the Grammy Award for Best Gospel album and his "Church Clothes" mixtape racked up 100,000 downloads, certified platinum by mixtape kingpin in 48 hours, Lecrae has our attention.


Advice for queens and kings of procrastination

LucyShaw-160LIVING THE LIFE I LOVE Dear Lucy: In your last article you talked about goals and things we may do to block reaching them. You mentioned procrastination and that is my biggest problem. Can you say more about it? – The Queen Of Putting It Off

Dear Queen: Don't despair. Not doing is just the flip side of doing. You have the power to be the queen of the one you choose, moment by moment. Sometimes, not doing is as important as doing. The truth is that we all know when we need to choose a different way of being. That still, small voice speaks to us and relentlessly tries to move us to the best choice.

Recently, I was making a purchase on line and did not complete it. I got an email from the vendor reminding me to complete my order. It was cute and said this:


Eastern Star’s new pastor knows way around pulpit

EasternStarPastor-600Full of vigor, dedication and passion, the Rev. Evan Collins has accepted the call to lead Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church and to take on all the associated challenges.

The 26-year-old Collins is the newly-elected pastor of the church at 334 William Fields Ave, (Cleveland Ave.) in North Memphis. Coming from a lineage of preachers, he answered the calling to serve God as an adolescent.

"My grandfather served as pastor of Progressive Missionary Baptist Church on Vance Ave. for 40 plus years," said Collins. "His oldest son, O.C. Collins Jr., who is my father, is pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, his middle son, James Byron Collins, is the current pastor of Progressive, and the youngest son, Timothy Collins, is pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas."


Should I date a girl who won’t go to church?

church-attendance-400"My question is rather complicated. I'm dating a very nice girl now, but she refuses to go to church with me. My mom and grandparents are all leaders in our church, and I'm running out of excuses for her. She says she's not a churchgoer and doesn't want to be a hypocrite and go for my sake. Is she wrong?" – R.L.J.

Your question isn't really so complicated at all. No, the very nice woman you are dating is not wrong for not wanting to go to church, whether it's with you or anyone else or on her own. Faith is a very personal issue, and she is entitled to practice it – if she has one – however she sees fit, just as you are. Attending church and, by proxy, praising God is something that should be done for yourself or for your God, not to make the family of the man you're dating happy.

While this particular woman's actions are not wrong, I do wonder if the two of you are compatible. Dating is when you're supposed to be figuring that out – and it seems that being with a woman who goes to church, and what your family thinks about her, are a big deal to you.


Newly-elected Full Gospel Bishop shares his vision

Bishop-and-Dr-Walker-500NASHVILLE – Bishop Joseph Walker III – the 45-year-old pastor of the 28,000-member Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville – is the new presiding bishop of Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, the largest African-American Protestant religious organizations in the United States.

The Southern University graduate will succeed Bishop Paul S. Morton as presiding bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International (FGBCFI), with an estimated 2 million members. Bishop Morton, who founded the FGBCFI 20 years ago, is based in New Orleans.

"I'm humbled and thankful by this God ordained responsibility and opportunity," said Bishop Walker. "I'm so grateful for the confidence Bishop Morton and the Bishop's Council has shown in choosing me as the next Presiding Bishop," said Walker, who recently shared his thoughts in this interview with The Tennessee Tribune.


Stop worrying & walk fearlessly into your desire

LucyShaw-160LIVING THE LIFE I LOVE Dear Lucy: I created five goals at your workshop back in February. I'm having trouble with the two that mean the most to me. By now I should have made a lot more progress. Any ideas?

– Stuck

Dear Stuck: Thanks for the question. I have been thinking about this myself! Here are a few ways to test your blocks to success.