I want to direct my attention to the readers here on the “spot” one question. How many African-American males (or black men in general) ever have been or are feeling “broken?”
Seriously ponder this question.
I don’t want the black female queens to chime in on this commentary, but feel free to view it if you want. Maybe your boyfriend, husband, neighbor, church member (yes I’m putting the church members in this!) co-worker, boss, leader, pastor, business owner, or any other significant other, or acquaintance that is a black male going through this. Or had gone though it. Actually I want you to do this to ask them this question:Have you ever been “broken?”
The reason why I’m putting this out, is because this is part of an on-going struggle of Black Men in America. We see the signs of despair, memorable past references that were deemed violent, destructive, manipulated, set up, mismanagement – either financially, mentality or spiritually. Plus, racism in all fronts, drugs and alcohol use, and many other barriers that lingers African-American Males in this era.
Today, there was a workshop meeting about this at the Greater Mt. Sinai COGIC Church in Milwaukee. Two speakers, were represented as the featured guests. My current UMC pastor was the first to talk about the Biblical references about Brokenness or the act of being broken. From the first part of the workshop it was highlighted as this:
Adam was broken because he avoided responsibility and blamed others. He chose to hide rather than confront, and made excuses rather than admitting the truth. And the greatest reason for his brokenness was when he teamed up with Eve to bring sin into the world. (Genesis 3:1-19)
Cain was broken because when disappointed, he reacted in anger, and he always took the negative option even when a positive possibility was offered; and his violent nature caused him to be the first murderer. (Genesis 4:1-17)
Esau was broken because when faced with important decisions, he tended to choose according to the immediate need rather than the long-range effect; and the poor Marriage choices. (Genesis 25th – 36th chaps).
Samson was an example of brokenness because he violated his vow to God, and on many occasions disobeyed God’s laws. He was broken because he was controlled by sensuality and sexual desires. He constantly confided in the wrong people, and used his God given gifts and abilities unwisely. (Judges the 13th thru 16th Chps.)
Saul was a example of brokenness because he was impulsive by nature and tended to over step his bounds. He let jealousy of David dictate his life and he constantly disobeyed God! (1st Samuel 9th through the 31st Chps).
Judas Iscariot was the ultimate example of brokenness and total humiliation and unnecessary suffering because he let greed, selfishness, avarice, money and ambition causes him to suffer and commit suicide, rather than seeking forgiveness from God! (Matt 26:1-15 and Luke 22:3-6)
Now: you’re probably wondering what does that have to do with being “broken?” It was referenced before in bibical times during of those mentioned being manipulated by greed, lust, envy, deceit, anger, blaming others, and many more. How many of us know someone that does this everyday? Or even if it was in the past? Think about it.
Another part of the lesson came this:
Definition of the keyword “Broken”
Broken is the past participle of break; reduced to fragments; fractured; nonfunctioning properly; out of working order. To become inoperative or to malfunction as though wear or damage; to begin suddenly or violently or change abruptly into something else!
Or to yield, or submit to pressure, torture, or to have a physical or mental collapse; or to lose control of.
About those examples, here they are again:
“Root Causes of Brokenness”
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse
- Violence and Gangs
- Fear of Failure and rejection
- Negative Peer Pressures
- Being constantly exposed to shame and humiliating situations.
- Negative and unproductive relationships with women.
- Self-depreciation because of low self-worth and self – regard.
- Lack of a real and faithful relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
- Financial Management.
- Parental Rejection (abuse, harsh, criticisms, constant humiliation, abandonment, etc.)
- Demon Possession.
- Failure to dedicate ones to complete life to God through Jesus Christ.
- Failure to realize that Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will (Frederick Douglass).
Some of these things I highlighted already in the beginning, but here was an additional insight of why it is. Based on this list, even though it’s probably vague for some, but for many – this is an ongoing constant battle every single time. There were some examples from the list that were highlighted based on Parental Rejection. That involves abuse, being humiliated, feeling abandonment and other factors. Many of you who are Black Men, probably had those whoopings as a child growing up and your mother per say had to comment in reference “You’re just like your daddy!” Or someone had you do something that was on the daring side of an act against your will (i.e. allowing to be molested by a male or female or molest a female), another could be financial concerns – again that could be devastating towards any male. Blaming God is factor of brokenness, but it’s not a viable factor in ties with having those demons if you will. Even having that whole relationship to God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know some don’t really believe in God or Jesus, but there are those who feel that it is a true viable parable to reference.
Another highlight: A hip hop reference – Snoop Dogg once said: “There’s nobody out there teaching a man how to be a man. There’s nobody out there teaching a father how to be a real father, and there’s nobody out there teaching a husband how to be a husband.” Yes, you probably are saying why would your Pastor would reference Snoop Dogg in this? Snoop ain’t Broken! But what if he was? Mainly the lyrics, or quotes could translate to see yes there aren’t many men, fathers, and husbands can’t teach others to be real men, real fathers, or better yet, real husbands. Now we’ve been told to be good productive citizens. Like having a good suit real nice, wear a tie, act like what the other folks are doing, use proper language (ala yes maam and yes sir), and stay out of trouble per say. All of that is fine. But that does NOT dictate of being a real Male of the Black race! That’s like for you non-African Americans (who just happen to stumble on this blog just recently, but thanks for reading) were telling us about being Americans in all. And saying if an issue pops up, you comment “Don’t say that! Let’s go to a Packers game or watch the WWE Wrestling match at the BC”. Ummm……..even though we want to see Aaron Rodgers or John Cena, that is NOT going to make you a real man! I’ll give them credit for working hard and having an upbringing. Not knocking the hustle.
Continuing with the conversation:
The second to last part of the workshop came from Pastor James Boyd, who ministers at “The Lord’s Way International” in the city. He also is featured on a radio segment called “Coming Out With Pastor James Boyd” every Friday locally. His part of the segment was more in depth of being broken! What I mean in depth, I mean in depth! He had two men and others who were up and coming pastors in part of workshop that sometimes being broken can lead to healing. Two of the men he had to give advice were Homosexuals (yes they were Gay) and he wanted to let them know about letting go of the pain of the past examples to make room for the now and future. In terms to letting go what others thought and letting them know that the Almighty cares and is willing to make a way for the better. Now many of you probably asking this question: “Why the God references again?!! I don’t believe in God or what does that have to do with Broken Men whom are Black?” In the words of my former UMC pastor, I’m so glad you asked that question. That is the question I am prepared to answer! Many of the things we’re going through right now in terms of actions of we face, were also a reflection of what the biblical folks went through almost the same thing. And even though they didn’t have skyway pagers or cell phones or Facebook or Twitter, but the actions of being broken in all, is the same thing! Many don’t want to believe it now, but probably in the next lifetime, or towards the next lifetime when no one is around that is watching or looking, or taking care of you in the nursing home being sick or nursing back to health per say: Guess what? Minds or thoughts will be changed.
There were several references that came out of the discussion – One, Pastor Boyd talked about being “Publicly Successful”, and “Privately Failing”. Many of us can relate. When we are in the public and doing things well no matter what it is, we are seemed successful. And sometimes behind closed doors, we call fail privately in our actions and examples. Think about it. When was the last time (Note to the Black Males again) has this happened to you?
He also commented that everything we’re going through (no matter what it is) is study time. You guys are probably studying this blog for a future bible lesson right now and don’t even know it. Or how to strengthen an Alumni Group, or finding that new good paying career financially even more stronger than before! And to finalize, what is ever in you, gets caught in the current. I want to paraphrase, whatever is caught in you spiritually or inspirationally will be in the current. Flowing in the current like a river, lake or wind. For us folks who like nature or being wrapped up in nature, this to me ties into that. When feelings of hurt or misguidance, or faith stricken attitudes arises that happens, it will get caught and morely (again in spiritual sense of prayer) will be flowed out. Ever had someone to say, and I’m not the only one who had this comment to say: I’ll pray for you. Or may I pray for you? Ever had that? Now many again might ask, even some young black brothers might comment and ask, “What are they praying for? Who are they praying too? or is it scripted for me to see it?” I have to comment that prayers at times CAN’T be scripted! They can’t! It comes from within not without. Every December 5th, I say the Lord’s Prayer on my birthday and thanking the Almighty for another year living to see another day of birth! Part of that, is not scripted. It’s already scripted since 1976. It was scripted through my family, and those who saw me since day one! And you will not see this on Facebook or anywhere else. Why? It’s unscripted from print. And it’s memorized by heart.
The mixture of black men today were some Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Straight, Gay, Married, Single, United Methodist, COGIC, Baptist etc. Even though we were different denominations, categories of status, members or visitors, it didn’t matter. What mattered was we all had several commonalities of stories and related commonalities of the subject of being broken. And also coming to grips to the ideas to face and solve the ideas of healing of the brokenness. Even I had issues of being broken. You all read about me being discriminated for jobs based on me being black, having being attacked mentally by well known Milwaukee non profits and temp services in relation with my previous education of distance learning with UW-Stout. I’m putting this here! Even also I forgot to mention: yes there were many times I used my gifts and talents in the church, and some felt like I betrayed them with a Church Men’s Day artwork. So yes Black Brothers, I’ve been “broken” in the Church, and I didn’t leave. I stayed not only to confront the problems but also finding new ways to rise above it. And making sure it does not happen to anyone else going in. Many of us black men doing the judging in the Church, we need to watch it! This goes for black women too! Now black women we know you’ve got the upper hand in all the church departments and offices. But EVEN YOU have to understand that sometimes the actions of brokenness can flow to you also. No matter what it is. And yes, I know you’re peeping my blog in all to see what’s up.
So let this be a lesson, actually a line struck from the movie Batman Forever. The scene took place in the movie after Dick Grayson lost his family in the circus act. And Alfred looked at his helmet and asked him, “Is this a Robin?” and later commented that “Broken wings mend in time. One day Robin will fly again. I promise.” And he said “Robin will fly again.” Not just the bird, but your new purpose and objectives. Plus an outlook of redemption!
Black men: I’m saying this now. Our wings seem broken for now. Our whole brokenness maybe exposed. Our actions of brokenness in various ways, maybe on the Injury list of what happened. BUT know this: it can be fixed for the better! It doesn’t matter who you are, and/or your current situation may not be “perfect” (and by the way, nobody’s perfect I don’t care what your status is), all broken wings can be mended. Even through grace!