How strong are our remarks? James tells us.

I feel that today’s Epistle was more powerful than today’s Gospel. We are all aware, or at least most of us, of the Gospel passage that reads ‘ What has a man gain if he has everything, but loses his soul”?

Very important and timely. But James’ Epistle talked about how strong our tongues are, meaning, our remarks. Though small, it can change attitudes, ways of thinking, leaving people with despair or hope. A ship may be built strong to challenge the strong winds of a storm, but it is a small rudder that directs it. A stream may feed into a body of water either brackish or fresh water, but not both.

What we say has great power! If you are a true follower of Christ, this is the burden you carry, but once acted upon, yields so much positive results! Have a kind word for those who are in sorrow, have difficulties or are in need of assurance and hope. This is the message of the Good News, the Gospel.

Even if we do not posses the world, we can easily lose our soul. Always, always, be considerate of what you say.

American Composers Concert at the Ferguson

Christopher Newport University Ferguson Center

Seeing this concert tonight with the Mrs. An alll American Composers, this program will be delight. Aaron Copland is one of my favorites as well as Samuel Barber. The Barber work is “Knoxville Summer of 1915”, a very poignant and hauntingly beautiful work. Should be a favorite of Southerners who would sit on their porches during the early evening, sipping lemonade and sharing pleasantries with their neighbors.

As for Copland, they will perform is very popular Appalachian Spring Suite.

William Grant Still is an African American Composer during the same period of the others on this program. His music very Americana but infused with melodies that represent his heritage and beauty. I am learning more of his work.

As a side note, two of these men were known to be gay. Barber had a long term relationship with another famous Composer, Gian Carl Menotti, and as for Copland, he was known to be in relationships with many men, but never declared his homosexuality.

William Grant Still was married and had 4 children.

https://www.dailypress.com/entertainment/arts/vp-db-aundi-marie-moore-virginia-arts-festival-051421-20210512-qnfpyyzlpzd65hceqo2m6v2npe-story.html

The NRA stops ban on assault weapons in Boulder, CO.

So the Mayor of Boulder, CO banned the sale of assault weapons in his city. The NRA stepped in and litigated since the state of Colorado didn’t banned assault weapons, a locality could not. The NRA won.

About a week before the mass shooting at the grocery store, the murderer purchased an assault weapon a few miles away from the store.

Who knows if the mass murders would have taken place if the ban was still in place. Perhaps yes, perhaps no. But if the ban was state or nationwide, the odds of it happening falls greatly.

I’m not against the 2nd amendment, I’m against the sale of assault weapons to the general public.

National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre arrives to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Oxon Hill, Marilyand, February 24, 2017.

The Dr. Seuss Controversy

To clear up a point of the current controversies, the books in question of Dr. SEUSS are not being banned. The Estate of Dr. Seuss has decided to no longer publish these books.

The drawings of Black and Chinese people are extremely offensive. Whether it was the intention of Dr. Seuss to draw these stereotypical images as they were or perhaps he was oblivious that these images were hurtful does not change the fact that youthful minds should not think these images are acceptable or true representations of these races if the purpose of these books were to be educational.

Watching Mike Smerconish this morning, 03/06/21, I learned in the 1970’s the drawings were updated by removing the yellow colonization of the skin from the Chinese characters, but no changes to the Black ones.Perhaps an updated illustration of all characters could rectify the issue, but it may be too little, too late.

I have seen memes comparing a song of Cardi B to the offensive drawings as though we have accepted or overlooked the offensiveness of her lyrics. I want to go on record that I haven’t. But as long as her music is not marketed to young children, there is no comparison.

A Night’s Welcome

My Wife and I chaperoning at “A Night’s Welcome”.

Prior to the pandemic, most churches in Hampton hosted “A Night’s Welcome” for one week during the cold months and then circulate. Because of COVID-19, the homeless are being fed for dinner and kept for the night at “The Central United Methodist Church”.

Each day of the month, church’s parishioners greet, prepare dinner, breakfast and chaperone for the homeless. This will continue to March, perhaps April if the weather stays cold.

If you wish to participate, please check with your place of worship if they are part of “HELP”. If they are not or if you do not have a place of worship, here is their website for more information.

https://www.helphampton.org/

Thank you!

Reflections On a Late Christmas Eve/Morn

I love “It’s a Wonderful Life” for so many reasons. There is so much wisdom in it. It shows us even though we may have not reached all our goals yet, we can still have a meaningful, purposeful life. And our lives are exemplified when we show kindness, charity and compassion for others. This is how we achieve God’s grace and live forever.

About 30 plus years ago, I had a George Bailey moment. I just began teaching in one of the toughest schools in Brooklyn. I had one class that was particularly bad and uncontrollable. It was so bad that after one class I went into an empty room and prayed to God, like George at Martini’s bar, asking if I should stay in the teaching profession, please show me a sign.

I left the room and went to speak to a teacher about a subject matter, and when I entered his classroom, there were students that I had taught in an earlier semester and they greeted me with big smiles and warm, “Hi Mr. G”. At that moment, my fears were relieved and I had my sign.

Now, I’m not saying all my classes were perfect after that, but I had the confidence to teach for another 21 years, until I moved down to Hampton, VA. I did some substitute teaching here until the end of 2018.

My only hope is, like George Bailey, I have helped them in some way, not just in my subject matter (business), but with their difficulties, their choices and aspirations. And I pray I have enriched their lives as much as they have enriched mine.

It’s a wonderful life. Merry Christmas.

DEAD END (1937)

Watched this movie tonight on Amazon. I’ve seen it before, it has Humphrey Bogart in it and first film appearance of the East Side Kids which started their long 20+ movie career.

The tale is timeless and has as much meaning now as when the film was first produced. It’s about the rich gentrification of a lower east side tenement area, dreams of getting out of the old neighborhood and bettering yourself and then the bad influences of those who left their upbringing by taking the road of crime.

Originally a successful Broadway Play in the 1930’s, the movie holds on that feel by having limited scenery which gives more emphasis on the dialogue. And to add, a great film score by the great Alfred Newman.

Though their block may be on a Dead End, so are their lives, but the ones who abide here are the most purest of them all.

“Because I love her too much to make her unhappy.”

On the morning of the 24th, the 37th Anniversary of our Wedding, I was watching CBS Morning News. There is a segment where each reporter relates their favorite story of the day. Gayle King chose the death of Juliette Greco, a French renown singer and actress. (See article below)

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-44230634

While the famous Jazz musician, Miles Davis, was performing in Paris, Greco met Davis and formed a love relationship that lasted till Miles Davis death. When asked whey he never married Greco, Miles said “Because I love her too much to make her unhappy.” Gayle King as well as many others thought that maybe Miles was not any easy person to live with, but that wasn’t the reason. Miles knew that in America, a white woman who was married to a black man would be scorned and hated, and he did not want that for her.

I also have an interracial marriage and though my wife and I did not meet in the 1950’s when some states did not allow marriages between the races, there were still some people that did not approve of our marriage, one actually being a clergy member, and once discovered, my soon-to-be wife (at that time) never attended his church again.

With the current political and social climate of our country, I am more than concerned that we may lead back to that direction as those who mistakenly deem themselves as Christians somehow believe that miscegenation, or the marriage/cohabitations between two people from different racial groups, is not allowed in the Bible. Sounds farfetched? Perhaps not. And this does not even involve those who ridicule “Black Lives Matter” or praise the police officers who unjustifiably beat, restrain, and kill black folk, not to mention our justice system where these officers are not charged for their wrongful acts.

I am deeply worried about our country. Have freedom of religion, practice whatever religion or non-religion you want, but let us not have a religiously-run government for the simple reason that Christ taught us to love one another with unbridled compassion, but surprisingly that perfectly clear message gets misconstrued.

Whoever you wish to be the next President, whatever the turnout of the election, we must spread only Christ’s message of love, redemption, forgiveness, tolerance and hope. Everything else, leave to the side. Let us not feel that loving someone may lead to regrets.