Thursday, July 15, 2010

I’m Starting With the Man In the Mirror


I’m Starting With the Man In the Mirror

“For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Matthew 7:2 (New King James Version)

My grandmother is a seamstress in every sense of the word. All thirty plus years of my life, she has sewed, hemmed, created patterns from news papers, taken out, let in and just about everything in between to the bolts of materials brought to her by those wishing for her innovative techniques regarding fashion. Not only did she sew, but she taught all six of her daughters to sew.

I remember times where more than a hundred choir robes needed to be put created in less than a month. They would all get together, including my grandmothers sisters, and play those sewing machines like the Jacksons played “Dancing Machine”. Each played a role that suited their ability. Measuring, chalking, cutting, pinning, darting, ironing, and finally sewing. What was equally unique about each is the measuring utensil they used for their part of the project. There were yard sticks (which unfortunately my but is all too familiar with). There were rulers, tape measures, and even measuring tools directly on the machine for more accurate seams.

In reflection of this harmonious work, I think of all the ways we measure people and situations.
“For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Matthew 7:2 (New King James Version)

Here is the relevant question I would like to pose: Does God really care if we judge? In my heart, I don’t believe He does. I believe Jesus was simple in His approach to this matter of judgment. What we use to judge- our knowledge, wisdom, opinion or character- that will be used to judge us. The measure we use- our tact, reverence, humility, discretion or piety- that will be measured back to us. In other words, judge if we must. If we do, we must make sure we have what it takes to judge and judge rightly.

It never ceases to amaze me who is first to comment and play judge and jury when a person of notoriety is highlighted in the headlines. The commentaries of a certain sport or political party are generally first. (I call them judges masked in the media’s clothing.) Then you have the survey of the people, polled by such individuals. (I call them the peanut gallery of the pseudo judges.) Often times, we fall into the latter category. Last, you have those who actually may have a right to make an educated, identifiable, peer-to-peer observation of a person or situation. How incredible time and time again their response is succinctly and quickly, “No comment.”

You see, billionaire athletes are not all lined up to give their two cents on the indiscretions of Tiger Woods. Raven Simone will be the last to critic the public displays of Lindsay Lohan. Unless it is about the sport, Jordan doesn’t comment on Kobe. Short of acting and talent being appreciated, Meg Ryan will not have words regarding the private life of Sandra Buclock or Drew Barrymore. You want to know why? Those who have the right to judge usually do so the least. They know on any given news day, they too can be the object of ridicule.

For this reason, we should all take thirty seconds to think before we give our dissertation on how we feel others are failing or prospering in life. Let’s make sure first, we sweep around our front door- real good. Then, as we prepare to speak, let’s ensure we have a measuring stick small or big enough to make an appropriate assessment. This is how we hold each other accountable. I have an opinion on many things. Faith, work ethic, parenting and relationships are some of my favorites to brainstorm and discuss. However, I realize there is a fine line between my instruction on such subjects and my ability to live through those same lessons I so desire to teach. There are some things I even know to be right. My Bible tells me so. But my lack of mastery often keeps me from discussing them openly in depth.

How unfair it would be for the doctor to measure my baby with the same measuring tool she uses to measure me. How unfair it is for us to take our little rulers out and measure people and situations that deserve a different tool for adequate measure.

My encouragement to you is to use great discretion in this life. We would all like an over flow of blessings, but we have to remember the means by which we bless. For the Bible declares, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 (New International Version)

Man In the Mirror- Michael Jackson
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Best Mourning I Ever Had


The Best Mourning I Ever Had

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4

Last week, we buried a patriarch in my family. Although not biologically, he was the only grandfather figure many of us had the chance to really know and grow up with. It was a strange sort of home-going process, in that genuine mourning was terribly stifled. We have a very big family, therefore we experience saying farewell all too often to our loved ones. We have come accustomed to the process of anticipating the sting and stillness of death, the onset of grief, the dutifulness of interment arrangements and the ultimate reality of emptiness felt by the dearly departed. But again, this time… it was strange.

You see, many of us allowed the troubling of his extended family to dismay our hearts and genuine feelings toward him. Their intentions to weary us with senseless bickering, disputes, accusations and threats hardened many of our hearts to the point the natural course of mourning could not take place. Myself, just as guilty as all the rest, was terribly torn from good memories and tormented by his deeds committed during his late, ailing age. The mistreatment and endued hardships placed on our beloved matriarch and all she has and knows crippled even my ability to recall the reasons why she loved him, we grew to love him, and in spite of any of his faults, the community at large loved him.

I remember learning the BEATTITUDES in Sunday school. This lesson was taught to a great multitude of followers of Jesus. When he saw the crowd in all their vastness, he went on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples and taught them what is traditionally known at the Beatitudes. Vs. 3-6 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” There is a continuing litany of these in Matthew 5. As a child, I often wondered, why is this attitude so great? Blessed are the poor, mourning, meek and hungry? What? This is the great thing about learning as a child; you get it when you grow up.

Often times, even as adults, we struggle with the Word of God. We ask, what does this or that mean? Then, because we don’t get it, we determine it doesn’t make real sense. Well I am here to tell you, as a thirty year old woman, born and raised in the church, educated both theologically and intellectually, I didn’t get it! However, one day, as I approached the casket of the man who served as my grandfather for more than eighteen years, I got it. I hadn’t allowed myself to feel one bit of remorse until I realized, he was really gone. It bothered me that I had little to no emotion, even after writing his obituary and consoling his related family. I looked around and saw so many of my cousins, aunts, uncles and the like. I saw they were torn too. They, like me, so stifled by deliberate hurt and pain, could not express that they did love him and would miss him, however great or small. It was then, for what it was worth, I began to weep. Initially, I even tried to control it, for fear my family might judge me for such an outburst of emotion in such an awkward situation. Then I thought, they might just think it’s because I am pregnant, or because I am a minister. But I confess, I just simply mourned. Even now, I weep in remembrance and feel once again God is honoring his promise to me, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” After that, I felt a great healing. Not just from our loss, but from all the various situations which had taken place over the past months and years. I was comforted.

The last Beatitude is found in verse 11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Therefore, it is my personal goal to not allow any manor of man to keep me from receiving the blessings freely given by God. I was not the first to be dealt with unkindly and I will not be the last. But surely, I can let my attitude be better, for my reward is greater. My encouragement to you is to let your reward be great, let your heart be comforted, and let not your heart be troubled. Someday, you may have to mourn with those who cannot. Here’s to the best mourning I ever had!

~In Christ,

Caarne White

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nothing Is Too Hard for Thee…





”Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” Jeremiah 32:17

When I was a kid, I was taught early on in Sunday School that with God, all things are possible. I believed it too! I was never an “I can’t” person. Although this is true, like anyone growing up, I had my bouts with insecurity and self doubt. Through it all, one thing was for certain. I may not be able to do it, but God can.

In college I was a music major. This meant one thing for me. I needed to get my core curriculum out of the way so I could focus on what I really wanted to do. The last class I recall taking to satisfy core requirements was Natural Science. Natural Science could make a junior in college feel as if they really wasted their time all four years of high school, because the science was so seemingly basic. About halfway through the course, my friend Tashuna and I began to really take it seriously. Why, after coming all this way, passing all high school requirements regarding science, and having no intention (as far as we could see) to need another science class again, should we not only pass but pass with the best grade possible. We began to study early in the morning and late at night. A friend of ours gave us the perfect verse to couple with our new proclaimed tunnel vision for this class!

”Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” Jeremiah 32:17

We began to post this verse everywhere. It was in our science book and our dorm walls too. When we took tests, we would open our small bibles up on the edge of the desks, just so we could take an occasional glimpse at “nothing is too hard for thee”. We believed God would bring to remembrance that which we did not remember. We believed God would help us succeed in a totally unrelated course, not because we had something to prove to the world, but because His Word is true. Nothing is too hard for thee! Not even Natural Science. We got all kinds of stares and remarks from classmates, but our faith and support of each other, we were not discouraged from our goal. We did pass that class with an average grade, but we worked hard and believed God for it. Maybe had we taken this “nothing is too hard for thee” attitude on earlier, we might have done even better.

Recently, I gave myself a new task. I wanted to create a literary sanctuary for our daughter. Who better to start her reading journey out than the well known literary giant Dr. Seuss. I researched how to adorn a nursery appropriately for a growing baby girl. It didn’t take me long to find a style I liked, and we decided to go with it. Aside from the paint, the furniture, the shelves and the books would be the gigantic Horton Hears a Who mural I intended to paint on the wall. I began to show my design to friends and family. The consensus response was, “Uhhhhh, why don’t you just buy some stick on stuff? Who in the world is going to draw that? Are you going to hire a muralist?” I responded, “No, I am going to do it myself.” Well, they all pretty much secretly and professingly thought it was not a good idea. Why would I draw a mural when I could just purchase one? Well, because I wanted her surroundings to reflect the love I have for her and for reading and writing. When she is big enough to ask, I will tell her, “Mommy did that for you. She wanted you to know as soon as you came home that ‘A person’s a person no matter how small.’ This is the motto from the book Horton Hears a Who. Nothing is too hard for you with Christ.”

Now that the mural is completed, so many are shocked. But I know it was the handy work of God and an overhead projector that made it all come to life. My prayer for you is that you embrace the fact that nothing is too hard for you. No class, no test, no mural shall separate you from the love of God in Christ. The power of His hand is in your hand. Many people in our lives don’t intend to be discouraging, but they are. That is why, no matter what they say, you must know the truth. And the truth will make you free… and maybe even an artist!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bevism #2 News You Can’t Use: What Good is Information You Can’t Do Anything With?



MSNBC runs a political roundup show each morning called Morning Joe. I became quite acquainted with the show during the last presidential election. There is a segment at the end of each broadcast called “News You Can’t Use”. This involves a litany of stories that really have nothing to do with politics, society, or anything they deem relevant to the life of the public at large. Celebrity shenanigans, major company blunders, political spoofs- just about anything that really matters to no one. This segment reminds me of my mother’s trusty saying when we blabber on about senseless things. She simply states, “What good is information you can’t do anything with?”

“But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer.” 2 Timothy 2:16-17a NKJV

You know, there is just nothing like your first love. I enjoy reciting the many lessons shared during my first real relationship. You see, we hit it off from the moment we met. Not long after, we were dating. We didn’t attend the same high school, and to this day little things are revealed through friends and acquaintances regarding his “other life” there. Nevertheless, as the story goes, we were on the phone late one evening, and out of what had to be sheer fatigue he called me another girl’s name. Well, needless to say I was up after that! Of course this lead to his discourse of “she’s just a friend”, but even I knew at age 15 you don’t just say another girl’s name unless she means something to you, or you mean something to her. I demanded that he call her on the almighty 3-Way, so we could settle this matter once and for all. Like a cool guy, he did.

Well, almost as soon as we got on the phone I began to regret this arrangement. She was loud, high-strung, and determined to set me straight on this particular fall night. She let me know under no certain terms she cared for him. He belonged to her. The conversation was foolish in her eyes, for she wanted me to understand she would have him, and that was the way it was going to be. She never admitted to dating him or that he had any reciprocal feeling towards her. Neither did he. She just gave me a good “woman-to-woman” run down, and I had no choice but to take it. My only response was, “Okay. If he decides to be with you, there is nothing I can do. I don’t fight over boys. If he wants you, you can have him.” And that was it for me… I went to bed.

Lesson Learned: At the end of being cussed, fussed, told and harangued, I felt there was really nothing I could use from this conversation. Yes he called me her name, but we seemed to just move on after that. Even then, I knew we were just kids. I wasn’t going to let some loud mouth keep me away from the cutest, smartest football player I had the pleasure of dating. In the end, I am so glad I didn’t. We had so much fun together. He became great buddies with my girls and I got to know his friends very well. We had great dates, great laughs, and two years of high school sweet heart bliss. It inevitably ended in heartbreak with yours truly on the receiving in. Although this is true, even in retrospect, it still felt good trusting until I could no longer trust. How awesome it was to enjoy a great friendship as long as it was meant to last.

We often allow news we can’t use to spread like cancer in our lives. Just an idle word, a single thought often changes the course of our lives. Why? Most of the things people tell us is simply information we can do nothing with. It puts no food on our table, no clothes on our backs; it does not raise our children and certainly does not edify our relationships. However, when we take in the useless, it spreads like a useless disease. Cancer can kill in every form, and there are those that just never go into remission. Maybe your cancer is a broken heart, joblessness or a bad habit. Whatever it is, shun the profanity out of your mouth and out of your life. With God as the head of your life, nothing is too hard for you! No one has the right to take something away God gave to you, because what God has for you is for you! Remember, entertainment to some can be humiliation for others. My prayer is that you live above the temptation of loose-lipness. It serves you better to know the difference between what is reusable and what is disposable.

Peace & Blessings,

Caarne White

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stealing and Provocation: What do they have in common?


What do “Thou shall not steal” and “Don’t provoke your children to anger” have in common?

I try to avoid the morning news at all costs. The first news of the day seems to take my mustered inspiration and trample it, as I watch arrest after arrest in my area and abroad. Media just doesn’t take to the adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, just say nothing at all.” Rightly so. If they did, nothing would be reported, for seemingly almost every bit of news has an element of satire and sadness. When I think back to what took me down this initial track of headline avoidance, I believe it started by watching daily, adolescent after adolescent being charged with everything from theft to murder.

Just recently, a young man of college age, I am associated with through family acquaintance, was charged with robbing a pizza delivery man twice and took the pizza to eat in the last robbery. I looked back and took short inventory of what I knew of his up-bringing. Aside from the identity of his real father being revealed to him as an older child, he endured his home life with his mother as man after man was put before his wellbeing. Although this is true, he was the oldest child and was expected to be “a man” in the home. He was eventually put out by the time he was eighteen. He lived from pillar to post, with several family members, in a van for a short period of time and eventually on the streets, all while being a college student. He, unlike many, had unprecedented hope and ambition for his future despite a tumultuous rearing. Now here he is…sitting in the jail. His first television debut has been captured in the frame of a mug shot. My pity for him does him little good. But I think about his life and present disposition. What would provoke an over-comer as he to resort to such a horrible display of wrath? The answer was easy. Hunger! Hunger would provoke many of us to steal, rob, cheat, and every sorted manner of evil. But the underlying reality of a plight of this nature can stem from this simple thought and passage. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 NLT

The Bible explicitly admonishes against stealing, robbery, and plundering what is not yours. It also digs into the trenches of the wages of sin which lead to death. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to know that. Similarly, it instructs parents to be mindful of the predicament they place their children in. Anger is a multipurpose word that can demonstrate and produce a variety of evil. Neither the sin of provocation or robbery can be omitted for the sake of selfishness or hunger. But there is an initial responsibility parents and adults have to children. As adults, we all play a part in the lives of children we come in contact with. That part can make the difference in their entire path of life.

1 Timothy 5:8 “But those who won’t care, (will not provide), for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” Wow! Which simply means you can be a Christian, but are still worse than an unbelieving person because of your unwillingness to provide.

We shake our head at our children, but as a village, we are much responsible for the anger and frustration so plaguing the young. Denying this and accepting this changes nothing. Only the willingness of our heart to provide all we have to those we love can cause a paradigm shift in our youth. As my husband and I anxiously await the arrival of our daughter, I can’t help but to remember the young people whose faces have lit up over the years because of my approval of them. Small gifts, cards, birthday reminders, and I love you. They all mount up to a hopeful child. They know it is someone that is proud of them. That would expect more of them. That would love them at their worst, even if they have a mug shot on the morning news. Who will you love better today and every day? If you don’t have a child, think of a relative, family friend, mentee- someone in your immediate reach. Your provision of hope and love today could make the difference in how they satisfy their relentless hunger in the future.

Can Kinky and Straight Walk Together Unless They Agree?




Can Kinky and Straight Walk Together Less They Agree?

Amos 3:3 “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”

Hair is a funny thing. Of course, most familiar with my discourse regarding hair will reveal my terribly analogical way of framing life through its various evolutions. So for the sake of today’s blog I will keep it a little less analogical and a little more practical for living “The Scriptured Life”. The question is posed: Can kinky hair and straight hair dwell on the same head less they agree?

One of reasons many African-American women have difficulty going from a permanent, relaxed hair style to a more natural, less processed one is due to letting go of the growth they have. This is why the industry has termed something called “The Big Chop”. “The Big Chop” let’s go of the old hair in full expectation of the new hair growing in…well…different. Those who try to grow their hair out natural with relaxer still on the ends have a really difficult time staying natural. For the two states of hair are at odds, both physically and stylistically. Not only are the chances of your relaxed breaking off greater, but it just doesn’t look good. You see yourself as needing a relaxer rather than getting rid of one.

This is not a blanket observation I am making, but one I have witnessed played out in the lives of many in this predicament. It is understandable to revert back to the relaxer. That was all I knew until college. But when I got there, I had the support I needed to not hold on to length for the sake having length. I had to make a sacrifice for the look and the health of my hair.

The bottom line is this: If you decide to be natural with no relaxer, you will have to at least flat iron your hair for the look. If you decide to wear a natural look, you will let go of the relaxed ends sooner than later. My answer to our question is a simple NO! The styles cannot be rocked together unless they agree which way they are going! One has to reign. Natural or relaxed. Kinky or straight. God or other gods.

Such is our relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ. We either serve Him as Lord or we don’t. The scripture can speak for the rest of this lesson. My encouragement for you is to not be afraid of “the big chops” in life. A friend, a job, a lifestyle can all be transformed by it! God bless you!

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-16

Friday, June 4, 2010

God or Google: Big G or Little g? Throwback from Nov. 09 Blog



God or Google: Big G or Little g?

Exodus 20.3
"You shall have no other gods before me."


In our quest for information in today's society, search engines like Bing and Google have become our best friends. Facebook and Twitter are how we keep up with our friends, family, and colleagues. Amazon and E-bay are how we make many of our purchases and business transactions. These conveniences can even allow us to go an entire day without speaking to a single soul, yet completing our work, cultivating our social life, and creating our recreation.



I have found as a Christian, it is easy to stray away from the faith considering such conveniences in my own life. It is one thing to look up a Bible verse on biblegateway.com or read a devotional from Dailybread.com or even listen to a sermon on streamingfaith.com. But it is another thing entirely to grow in the word of the Lord, fellowship with others and get the real insight needed to encounter life transformation.



For instance, I could put in a topic like, "failure to launch" and receive numerous articles on the subject. I may even find Christian literature to read on this matter. However, everyone's life is different and not transferable to my situation. It is not going to give me the answers to the real questions I need addressed. Why am I here? What brought me to this place? How can I get there? Is a deferment a failure? After all this, does God still have a purpose for my life?


These are real concerns, but the truth is, Google, Bing and Yahoo cannot respond as needed. It is the God of lights that knows all and sees all. Those engines may attempt to be a temporary god, but their fulfillment is easy and takes no real meditation on the word of God.



Before visiting my alma mater this past weekend, I prayed that God would use me in some way. Teach me as He had on this beloved campus. Illuminate Fisk in my eyes like I have never experienced. He is a God of His word, and as my husband and I wandered about the grounds, He did just that. There were so many I connected with from college who seemed to be grasping for air, trying to obtain understanding concerning their present disposition. Not where they want to be and needing hope, like myself. Needing encouragement once again, like myself. The truth is none of the afore mentioned sites could obviously reach those needs adequately. Oh, I hear what you're saying. "I know googling my troubles won't really help me." And I believe you know that too. I just believe we would try anything when we can't see our way. I just wanted to remind everyone reading this that the true and living God is still imparting great truths regarding our lives. He knows your disappointment and has a message for you. Put no God before Him, ever!



No matter how lonely you are, jobless you are, broken you are, hopeless you feel, damaged you seem, under qualified, overqualified, spouseless, childless, or even faithless, God will restore you. Spend more time on God. No matter how big the "g" gets in Google, it will never be as big as the "G" in God! Allow Him to be your favorite search engine again. You'll be surprised at what you already know!

~In Christ,

Caarne White

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Whatsoever things Are Lovely...



Today, I went through an automatic car wash. The gentleman unscrewed my antenna, got me all lined up for the machine, and off I went into the world of suds and scrubs. As I sat there, the cool of the wash rustled through the vents, brushing my skin lightly. For a moment, I thought back to an amusement park ride my family enjoyed each summer when we were kids called “Smurfland”.

My little brother, sister and I were premature children. Sickly to say the least. And although we looked forward to our yearly trip to Paramount Studios at Kings Island in Cincinatti, Ohio, there were only a few rides we could get on. My sister was terribly asthmatic, so her theme park adventure was even more slighted, but you would never know it. The best family ride we could all participate in was “Smurfland”. It was cool, breezy, had little ups and downs, but was filled with our favorite characters. Smurfette, Papa Smurf, Brainy, Grumpy and even the terrifying villain Gargamel. What a happy place Smurfland was, on the cartoon show and the ride. It was short but it seemed to last forever. It may have lasted a minute or so beyond my car wash adventure.

As I sat reminiscing on those peaceful times, I recalled Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Sometimes a brief meditation of a memory and the word of God can change the course of your entire day. This world seeks to take our peaceful moments. It would even assume we forget peaceful moments from our past. But in the heat of the day, when the villain enemy comes to infiltrate our camp, it would behoove us to sing our theme song “La-la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la-laaaaaaaa!” Simple isn’t it! That’s all the Smurfs had to sing. They enjoyed their life, in spite of impeding attacks that were sure to come. What a great way to live.

My prayer today is that you think of whatsoever things are lovely and make a decision to hold on to those things with all of your might! May the peace of God guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. If it takes you a while to get there, just think of little blue people… it could be a start!


Caarne White

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bevism #1 There Are No Free Services



A Ode to Beverly, My Mom

“For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” Ephesians 6:3-5

Wednesday’s blogs have been dedicated to my mother and her various ways of revealing great truths to live by. Today I use a simple one I hear almost daily, “There are no free services.” It took me a long time to understand her concept of “free services”. Especially since every day I see people rendering services seemingly for free. In a world of hookups, bootlegging and bailouts, free is who you know, how well you know what they know, and what you are willing to do to get what they have. However, I now view her colloquialism from a doctrinal perspective. For her, there are no free services.

She has a firm belief in paying for what she gets, working for what she has and encouraging others the integrity of doing so. Giving a gift is not a free service, it is a gift. Community service is not a free service; it is a pro bono act of kindness toward society. Wherever we went as kids, she was determined we would not have an expectation of being handed anything, and if given something, we were to be gracious. She was strict on fundraising in school, often comparing it to borderline pan-handling. Mom wanted our anticipation of “extra” to be in God, our work ethic and the overflow that comes from knowing you have contributed to your own wellbeing. How many times have I been told, “You don’t get extra credit for stuff you are suppose to do. Do something extraordinary and I will be the one to let you know just how extra-ordinary it is.”

I never really saw it as a matter of pride, because we were never too puffed up to ask for help. “Just remember, no one owes you,” she said. If you don’t get what you asked for, don’t be mad. Rejoice in your own work and bear your own load. To this day, her nieces, nephews, coworkers, friends- really all that have been blessed by her insist on giving of their talent to her for free. Short of them boxing it, shipping it directly with no return address and denying her phone calls, will she accept it. What a determination to demonstrate love with the same measure demonstrated toward you.

There is not one time I pass a group of young football players, boy scouts, or band members in the middle of the road that I don’t think of her pan-handling analogy. We have not because we ask not, but I understand we have less, because we work not.

My prayer for all of us today is that this scripture and my mother’s mantra remind us that many disappointments can often begin and end in our hearts and our intent. Oh how God rejoices when His people have a mind to work…and how pressed down shaken together and running over are the rewards!

Caarne White

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Assignments, the Sacred & a Sinkhole



http://www.channel.com/news/articles/science_technology/huge+guatemala+sinkhole+appears+after+tropical+storm+agatha+batters+central+america/3665832

The Kohathites were assigned by God to carry the holy things out of the temple, only after they had been covered by Aaron and his sons, who had permission to physically touch the holy things. (Numbers 4) Korah, a descendant of the Kohathites and cousin of Moses and Aaron decided this was not good enough for him and his descendants. He felt that Moses and Aaron “took too much upon themselves”. (Numbers 16:3) As the story is told in Numbers 16:31-33, “Now it came to pass, as he (Moses) finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly.”

That’s it. God gave the Kohathites an assignment, they complained about it, and when they went before God, He created a huge sinkhole and swallowed them up. When God gives an assignment, we should not covet the assignments He has also given our brothers and sisters. No matter how small it may seem to us at the time, it is important that we follow His guidelines and His word.

This past weekend, a great sinkhole was formed in Guatemala as an aftermath result of the season’s first tropical storm. A three story building was swallowed up into the earth. It is terribly deep, so much that all that the building was made of is gone without notice of where it once stood. The media has reported that old drainage systems compounded by heavy rains caused such a catastrophe. Whatever the case may be, the elements have once again shown us our limited control on natural circumstances.

I wonder how many of us would covet the gifts, things, and possibilities of others if we had to imagine our life ending in that sinkhole. Many of us live in spiritual sinkholes every day, for we have no appreciation for what we have been blessed with or called to do. Oh sure, maybe we don’t make the money we know some make, have the children some have, or the house we want, but have we praised God with such as we already have? It’s a probing question. One I don’t take lightly myself.

My encouragement to you is take inventory of the many creative ways God has made you, can use you and does indeed use you today. No man knows the day or the hour when God will come for us. Let us be found worthy when God calls us! Have a blessed day.

Caarne White

Monday, May 31, 2010

“As He was with Clair Huxtable, so He shall be with me.” Caarne 1.1



“As He was with Clair Huxtable, so He shall be with me.” Caarne 1.1

I know, many suppose it to be sacrilegious when the likeness of scripture is imitated, but as my book explains, I am a firm believer we all tell the Gospel story everyday in our own way. Jesus is still working in and through us, as in biblical antiquity. I was reflecting this morning on the Memorial Day Holiday. It’s a day of remembering those who have gone on before us. Relatives, friends and associates alike capture our thoughts, and to honor them, we visit the special places that help us recall their existence in our lives. We make calls to loved ones that might want to speak of them too. It’s a special day. For some, today is filled with heavy emotion of bereavement and sorrow. Others have just decided to sit on their couch, look at pictures and laugh, thinking fondly of the good times. And yes, I plan to do a little of both today. However, I decided to start my day in remembrance of the lady that made me want to be, well, a lady. Claire Huxtable…mother on The Cosby Show!

Its funny how looking back, I deeply identified with each Huxtable woman. Rudy and I were the same age, so I understood her on a peer level. Her relationship with Kenny, connection with her dad and ability to get in where she fit in indeed felt close to home for me. Vanessa, on the other hand, had a mind of her own. She had more boyfriends than any other Huxtable daughter. She had an eclectic style, always full of color. God knows I had my boy crazy phase, and those who know me well have witnessed my unprecedented determination to have every color God created in my wardrobe. And who can forget Denise, the first girl we really saw have “the black college experience” on national TV. She may have been a little off centered from her parents, but as I think over both my black college experiences, tears come to my eyes, for I know, just her going to Hillman made a difference in my education. Finally, who didn’t love Sandra? A bit of a flower child, but wow did she make her parents proud. When your parents mean as much to you as mine do to me, you can attest, being Sandra is awesome. Who doesn’t want their oldest daughter to graduate from Princeton, marry a doctor, and have a beautiful set of twins? Oh of course she and Elvin had their struggles, but what a huge success they made of each circumstance. Now, although each one of these ladies was exceptional in their own way, Claire exceeded them all.

I fell in love with Claire Huxtable from the beginning. Here this woman was, a top lawyer with her firm, raising four daughters and a son, and married to one of the most brilliant and interesting (to say the least) obstetricians a black woman has ever known. Who doesn’t want to be Claire? Her hair is fabulous, her figure perfect after popping out four babies. She had such a knack for dealing with her family in the most diplomatic ways. Maybe it was because of her analytical abilities developed as a law student. Maybe it came as a result of her reasoning, while young and in love with Hecliff. Or maybe she was born with it. I presume it was all of the fore mentioned. All I know is, when she came home from work, put that briefcase down on that desk, took her shoes off and began the second part of her day, she was on, even at 6pm in the evening! That’s when I realized, as God was with Claire Huxtable, so He will be with me.

I often wondered what she did at that desk. How she handled her work there. How she prayed for her children there. How she daydreamed about her incredible husband there. With life’s woes and unknowns, I believe at the end of the day, she heard the voice of God saying, “Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. As God was with Moses, so He encouraged Joshua He would be with him also. As God had been with her growing up, through college, and dealing with an extraordinarily remarkable husband, who lost a brother at a young age, God would continue to be with her. God would be with her children, so she slept well at night. God would be with her work, so she exuded confidence in the court room. God would be with her always, as He promised to be.

So, as I sit, looking at my own writing desk, I know Claire Huxtable was a fictional character. I know Felicia Rashad left the studio, going home to a real family with all too real problems and triumphs. But I also know that her spirit lives on in many women and men today. We are better because we know her. As God was with Claire, so He shall be with me. I take courage in knowing God has shown me a better way to live. My prayer for you is that you think outside of the box this Memorial Day. Don’t just spend your day thinking of loved ones gone on. Set your mind on memories that help you go on. And do just that… wipe your tears… and go on!

Caarne White, M.Div.
Author of The Gospel According to My Hair:Spiritual Growth on the Waves of New Growth
In loving memory of my aunt Adrienne Hogan… thank you for your life!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Emptiness From Lack of Emptying

What must you empty out of your life to be filled with the promises of Jesus?

Luke 18:28-30 (New International Version)

28Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"

29"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."



You ever wake up in the morning and feel as if you woke up to this day yesterday? The same circumstances and situations plaguing your mind, overtaking your thoughts, your hopes your dreams, your earnest heart desires? Of course not everyday, but on occasion, when you really want to open your eyes to deeper meaning of this life and it seems as if the definition is final. It is what it is, and as it appears, it cannot and will not change. Well that is simply not true! Here is why...

Jesus said there is a present age and an age to come. In both you will receive abundantly more, if you just leave what you have. When He talks of leaving our family, He means those people and things that cloud Him out of our hearts. Yes, I dare say even our children. Our most fervent love, He wants it. He promises us a return on our devotion to Him.

The changes in our lives are inevitable when Jesus gets all of us. Our heart unto Him. Our work unto Him. Our love unto Him. Our education unto Him. He wants it all today.

What must you empty out of your life to be filled with the promises of Jesus

Respond in Comments.

May God bless you as you give it all. His ear is pressed close to your heart to hear the resign of self and the filling of His Spirit!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blaming it on the Alcohol Forsakes the Living Water


“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
Jeremiah 2:13

“…drunk with the wine of the world we forget thee.”

In this passage, God is speaking to Jeremiah. He is the mouthpiece, addressing the people of Jerusalem concerning their adulteress ways against God. Two things in particular obviously hurt God deeply. First, there is the overt turning away from God as the fountain of living water. The second (as if the first was not bad enough) is that they hewn for themselves cisterns with holes in them to hold water. Now let me explain. To hewn is to hold fast, stick, or cleave to something. A cistern is also known as a receptacle for holding water or other liquid, especially a tank for catching and storing rainwater. Instead of cleaving to a Well of Life that never runs dry, they decide to catch rain water in a broken vessel. Rain water that can only be given by God in the first place. No matter how many pots they set out, if the Fountain of Living Water withholds the rain, there is no water to gather anyway.

How often are we like the people of Jerusalem? Turing away from God and thinking all the while that we have the power to create for ourselves opportunities that were only meant to be created by God. It is truly an evil thing when we drink from the fountains of the world, forgetting God, and losing the vitality of life He intended for us.

If you suffer from weariness and worry, ailments and sickness, poverty and powerlessness, could it be that the intoxication of this world has choked out the omnipotence of God working in your life?



As we conclude black history month, and consider those evils that have beset us from a life with God, a life of peace, a life of Living Water, let us think about this most profound verse of the Black National Anthem: Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Black College Experience: Get Understanding!



"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you." Proverbs 4:7-9

It really doesn't matter if you attended a PWI (Predominately White Institution) or a HBCU (Historically Black College & University). Maybe you didn't go to college at all. Although I am a major supporter and proud graduate of two HBCU's, I accept that the education was set apart from the experience. My mother brags to her friends and family, "I may have never attended a black college, but I had the experience; that I can promise you." What is the experience you ask? The experience is simply this, Proverbs 4:7-9. Wisdom is the principal thing. My education gave me a degree, an opportunity to learn, and a chance to advance my career. My experience, gave me understanding, and yes... wisdom.

The history and purpose of a black college is one all people can experience. If you visit the campus of Clark Atlanta, Talladega, Lincoln or Tuscaloosa, you can easily get the feeling of rich history and wisdom. The chipped statues, the old smell of the library, and the battered paintings all demonstrate the black experience like no other. These institutions are historic physically. Under funded, under ranked, under supported, and misunderstood. Some even say, "There is no longer a purpose for such a place. Modernity says so." But the truth is, if your history is shut up, shut down, left behind, so is your wisdom.

Black people have been piecing together a history for the last 100+ years. Therefore we have to maintain purpose in such places as black colleges. They don't just tell our history. The experience of a Fisk art gallery or a Howard special collections reminds us of the real truths of black history. Unfortunately, many of our children do not know about and have no interest in. And if we don't want to go back to our history, I suggest we take time to remember and experience; at least by visiting our nearest HBCU.

What would happen if one day you picked up a sack, threw it on your back, and said, "I am going there, and no one or nothing can stop me." Then along the way, after conversing with others, getting new garments, and new ideas, you totally forgot where you were headed. Then you think to yourself, "I know, I will just go in a different direction. There I will go, no one or nothing will stop me." But again, you get carried away with encountering new adventures, new concepts, new ways, and you are forced to make that grueling decision again, because you lose your way. You say, "I forgot my destination again, I suppose I will start in this direction this time." Once again you are convinced, persuaded by the world to look through a more colorful lens than perhaps you own; yet one last time, you find yourself on a strange and familiar path. Headed to the same place, which is the wrong way. You determine, "This time, I will write down as best I can remember where I have been, even if I have to go back a little to ask. That way, I will not repeat mistakes. Like never before, I want to reach that destination, no matter how many new things I encounter. This time, I will get there. This time I will remember."

History is not something we can afford to forget. We have to remember it. Black colleges will be waiting to deliver understanding to my nieces, nephews and some day children of Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Caucasian, Native American and African American descent. Whether it be a visit, an education, or their children's education. When they walk the pathways of Spelman and hills of Hampton, they will remember that part of them that was enslaved, broken, chained, imprisoned, and set free. The stigma's still exist. The reality of racism still exist. We all have to face it. Go visit the HBCU nearest to you this month. It helps us all to reflect on who we are, so we can become better. That is what our ancestors wanted for us. That is what God wants for us.

Excerpts from "Getting Serious About Getting Married" by Debbie Maken


When faced with responses to your single life consider the following:

1. “You have to be the right person to meet the right person.”
This is a variation on the “Jesus is all you need,” “You must be content in God alone” message. It sounds good and wise, but it presumes that God withholds a spouse for someone based on spiritual “rightness,” painting an inaccurate picture of God and his plans for his people. It also represents the works-righteousness version of achieving marriage, like it’s some sort of bonus incentive program for the super-sanctified. It is God’s Will that we be sanctified, but that is not a yardstick by which he measures our marriage readiness.

2. “It’s better to be single than to wish you were.”
And its variation “Marriage is hard”
Does this make sense? Why long for singleness when you are married? If singleness was so great, why did you get married in the first place? And what makes the person with this comment assume they can handle pressures but you can’t. Life is hard. So is work, so is having a baby, so is parenting, so is being alone. There are trade-offs in every station of life--challenges and benefits. No one should be discouraged from marriage or encouraged to put it on hold indefinitely just because it’s hard! Most things worth having require hard work.

3. “As soon as you stop looking you’ll find the right person.”
The variation on the contentment idea rewrites Proverbs 18:22 to say, “He sho stumbles upon a wife… obtains favor from the LORD.” Finding involves looking for something in particular, time limitations. The truth is that most of us are always looking—consciously or not—until we find a spouce. While some confidently believe that God is the factor in causing marriage to occur, it does not mean that God is the only factor. We must search. There’s an underlying barb to this saying that anyone who is unhappyily single must have been on a rampage or hunt until this point. If you’re single with no prospect in sight, you have cause for concern. Voicing that concern in no way reflects on you as a person or implies that you’re doing something wrong or that God must want you to stop so he can show you he is God. Scripture clearly demonstrates that God loves to bless godly spouse hunts. (See, for example, the story of Abraham, Issac, and Rebekah in Genesis 24.) He is not waiting for you to end your search but instead uses your looking to get you a mate—just as he uses your hunger to get you to eat and your thirst to get you drink.

4. “You’ll get married in God’s perfect time, so just relax!”
Here’s that “wait on the Lord” idea again. So if God knows the future, why pray? Since God knows where I’ll work, why look for a job? We must stop thinking that because God knows the end result, we can rely on him to work out everything in between. Of course he is able to do that. But we were not created to just sit back and retire from life as he works out the details. There is nothing wrong with finding comfort in the knowledge that God is sovereign and sitting on this throne, at work in our lives. But we cannot use good theology as an excuse to get out of the responsibilities we must take secure our own futures—whether it means finding a job, a house, or a husband.

5. “It’s God’s will that you are single right now.”
In order to comfort (or condone) those who find themselves in protracted singleness, church leaders will often say something to the effect that God has ordained them to be single at this point in their lives—maybe they’ll marry later and maybe they won’t. Telling an entire group of singles that God has mandated or decreed their singleness at that point in time can have the dangerous effect of justifying bad behavior. This goes back to misunderstanding God’s will and sovereignty and the need to think biblically rather than culturally.

6. “Dating is FUN!”
Not hardly! Dating may have been fun in high school and early college. But once you start hitting your mid-to late twenties, dating loses its luster. As Carrie mused on Sex and the City, “When did dating go from being fun to being scary?” If dating is so much fun, why do so few singles actually date (one on one, not in groups), especially as the years go on? The truth is that dating is not only not fun, it’s unfair to women.

"All the Single Ladies" A Blog for You


Marriage Enemy #1: We Got To Fight the Powers That Be!

I wrote this April 26, 2006, a year before I met my husband. These things I wrote, I still feel about singleness. So, this goes out to all the most fabulous women I know out there. Around the time I wrote this, a friend challenged me publicly saying “Caarne hates being single. She thinks it’s the worse thing in the world.” I quickly corrected her by saying, “That is not true. I live a very fabulous life. I just don’t intend on spending it alone. Remember this day, because this time next year, you will be sitting around this single table, and I declare… I won’t!” Enjoy and happy Love Month and Black History Month!
~In Christ, Caarne White
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"If singleness is a gift, what is the return policy?"

Dear Ladies:

I know we all have busy lives and plenty of things to keep us moving, like work, school, children or even hobbies. We all have spiritual lives to maintain, keeping a healthy relationship with Christ. Although this is true, I am sure the question has popped into your head from time to time, in the midst of all your going and doing, "Will I ever be married or find a husband?" Even if you are dating someone.

This entire notion perplexes me deeply, because the reality is we are getting older, and virtually living this adult life without biblical companionship. I try to keep quiet about it, as I'm sure you do. It is not politically, socially and unfortunately neither is it Christian-like to mention the woes of singe life as a woman. We are encouraged to believe that a man will drop from the sky and light will hit our eyes perfectly and he will whisk us off into the sunset. And that will be the answer to this 10 to 15 year drought of adulthood without biblically confirmed God-fearing companionship.

Psych!

It is sad to say that the world’s thoughts and culture coincide with much of contemporary Christian thoughts and culture concerning ideas on marriage. There is this false sense that singleness is a tremendous gift from God and those that are not content with this status are in essence equally discontent with God. I beg to offer this is far from the truth and simply not so. If most were honest, they would say, "if singleness is a gift, what is the return policy?" Of course, it is good to make light, but there is no light in living years and years alone, while men make no moves toward commitment and prolong their lives of adolescence. Especially women like you, so deserving and so faithful. Trying to do the things your families always admonished you to do. Live a good life. Get education. Own your own home. Believe in yourself. Achieve your goals and pursue your calling. But no one thought enough to say the most innate and earnest desire: oh yeah, be wed, have children, grow a family.

Jesus spoke on marriage and the gift of singleness in Matthew 19. He made it clear that life-long celibacy/singleness was for only a select few. It is quite biblical and Christ like to pursue marriage to give of your natural gifts as a woman. It is not something that should be shunned or suppressed, but a goal ordained by God to fill the gaping hole in our lives. It is commanded of us to be fruitful and multiply. I am sure some of you must be thinking, "Well I can be complete in God, and shame on you to be a minister and not feel complete without a mate!" Well, maybe you don't feel that harsh, but something of the sort. But in my defense I have a fully thriving daily walk with God and I know Christ very well and seek him daily. It is not a matter of him being enough, but a matter of life more fulfilled when shared by another.

This has been heavy on my heart, and after reading a book entitled "Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking The Gift of Singleness" so much of my anguish was released. I encourage you all to get it. (ASAP) Please pass this along to other friends to encourage them. Also, see the next blog for excerpts from the book. It will help you when faced with questions or comments concerning this season in your life.

I love you dearly and believe God is moving as he always has and always will. Email me with your thoughts and concerns on the issue. Be joyful!

~In Christ,

Caarne Elliott

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Gospel According to My Hair Chapter 1


Chapter 1

A Baby’s Wisdom

“And they said to Him, Do You hear what these are saying? And Jesus replied to them, Yes; have you never read, Out of the mouths of Children and infants You have made (provided) perfect praise?” Matthew 21:16 Amplified Version

“Mommy don’t cry, it’ll be alwight… Lord give me a praying spirit, Lord help me to say yes, yeeeeeess, yes Lord. A praying spirit throughout the day…”

One night on an iced over road, in a black Monte Carlo, a few days after Christmas, an 18 month-old sang the words to “A Praying Spirit” by Twinkie Clark to her young mother, who was sure they would be stranded there for the night. With no cell phone at our disposal in winter of 1980, and a car that just wouldn’t turn over, there was nothing left to do but cry? But as the story has been told to me, I reached over and wiped my mothers tears, letting her know it’ll be alwight. She then tried to start the car one last time, and it started.

I don’t remember that special time my mother and I sat in that car cold and alone, waiting for God to show up, but it has been recited to me many times by her. To remind me constantly of the gift I was to her and the gift God had given to me through music. I often picture myself with a little ponytail, cocked to the side, and my mom with her caramel skin, in her multi-colored green scarf and long pea coat. That moment was not about me. It was about being a vessel of Christ, whether I knew it or not. It was about letting my fearful mother know that we were not alone, and through a spirit filled with prayer and submission, anything is possible. Even igniting a stubborn Monte Carlo to say, “Yes, yes Lord”.

That green scarf would bring me wisdom much later in life. I loved it so much when my mother would wear it, and on the occasion she would allow me to wear it. I often wonder if that scarf is the reason why my favorite color is green. When people would ask me what my favorite color was I would say, “GREEN! Because it is the color of trees, the color of money, and there is no rainbow without it!” The last time my mom allowed me to wear her green scarf was on my senior field trip to Kentucky Kingdom. I wore a ponytail that day too. I wrapped the scarf around it several times to create a perfect ball. I even wore a multi-colored striped green shirt to match it. Of course, no wrapped ponytail of mine was prepared for a devitrifying roller coaster. I held on to my head as much as I could. When I got off the ride, I immediately noticed my scarf was gone. My friends seemed to care less. I couldn’t convince the operator of the ride to stop everything and look for my scarf. I was terribly sad for the remainder of the trip. When I got back to school, I rushed to the pay phone to call my mother, by this point in tears. She said, “Hello?” I replied, “Mommy!” She didn’t know what had happened. She told me to calm down and tell her what was wrong. I tearfully confessed, “I lost your scarf! Mommy it’s just gone! It fell off on a ride. I’m so sorry.” And in such a sweet and congenial voice she whispered, “Oh, it’s okay baby, we’ll just buy another one.”

And so that scarf had taught us yet another lesson and propelled us into another stage of life. That night and that roller coaster are just like so many times in our lives, when we can’t see straight for the fears that are in front of us. Just like I drifted into my mothers life to profess a praying spirit, assuring the Lord would get us home, so she professed that the same grace that allowed us to share that beautiful piece of cloth, would allow us to buy a new one just like it. Who knows but what God brings us through our children. Who know but what God has brought us through our hair.




The Gospel Lesson of a Small Child
Matthew 18:2-5

“Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is he greatest in kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”

The Prayer of a Parent
Dear God,

Thank you for my children. I praise you for all they are capable of. For their imagination and innocence. For their freedom of education and to worship you. For their other parent and all they give to enrich our child’s (children’s lives) life. Praise you for choosing me to be a parent.

Please forgive me for not always being a good parent. For not listening when I should and talking when I should. For neglecting any spiritual or physical needs I had control over. For not being always a good example in word, deed, or conduct.

I ask for you hand to always be with them. That they learn the gifts you have deposited in them. That they be obedient and trustworthy people of your word. That you be their classrooms, jobs, with their friends and loved ones. That you would protect them and teach them always. This is my earnest prayer.

In the Name of Jesus’, Amen.