Black Lives Matter, Pt. III

Invisible Man

Original book cover for Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man.

 

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.”

– Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

There are times when we feel as though we need a soul rattling experience. I’m not talking about a near death experience, or some high adrenaline activity. What I am talking about is the need to go deeper, to discover or re-discover pieces of ourselves in order to see a greater picture that we cannot fully put together. This past week I had one of those experiences. I had several of those experiences. At the beginning of the week, I finished re-reading Ralph Ellison’s classic novel Invisible Man. I picked up this book in hopes of re-discovering a piece of me from the last time I read the deep prose and wild narrative Ellison put to paper. I found that piece, but I also found a lot more. Continue Reading…

Embrace Faith, Embrace Doubt

Photo Credit: "Angel" by Kristopher Volkman, https://www.flickr.com/photos/three_if_by_bike/6692758105/ License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ *No changes made to image

Photo Credit: “Angel” by Kristopher Volkman, https://www.flickr.com/photos/three_if_by_bike/6692758105/
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
*No changes made to image

 

Recently, I had a conversation with Dr. Harold Koenig about incorporating faith into counseling and what truly defines an authentic therapeutic alliance. Dr. Koenig is an older man with thick black and charcoal grey hair, modest everyman glasses, and a smile that instantly makes you feel at ease. He is also a board certified psychiatrist, a professor at Duke University, and the Co-Founder/Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at the Duke Medical Center. His work is world-renowned, and with over 400 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Koenig empirically portrays the positive impact an active faith can have in our lives. Earlier this year he was interviewed on The State of Things, a local NPR program here in North Carolina, and in the interview he discussed why religion is good for our health.

As a person of faith myself, I thoroughly enjoy Dr. Koenig’s work, and I found his recent interview on The State of Things to be a breath of fresh air. However, once the program had ended, I was left sitting in my truck and thinking about faith and society. Specifically, I dwelled on the notion of blind faith, and why some people find faith to be a primitive concept supported by an unwillingness to detach ourselves from fantasy. People of faith can often be portrayed as zealots (which some of us definitely are), and as people who think science is a fraudulent attempt at removing God from our understanding of how the universe works. But it’s not. Science and faith are not mutually exclusive. Continue Reading…

Guns, Guns, Guns, Guns… Guns we do Adore

Knotted Gun

Photo by Håkan Dahlström, titled “The Knotted Gun”; author of this blog has no affiliation with Håkan Dahlström. Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Link to photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dahlstroms/16344250606/

Orlando happened. 50 lives lost. One shooter. *Cue the tired arguments and lines drawn in the sand*

Within my Facebook newsfeed there are deeply emotional posts from friends such as the one below. Reading it forces a blanket of tragedy around me that conjures up fears of losing my family and friends, draining my emotional energy, and forcing my face to the floor in prayer because there is nothing else I can do. Take a moment to consider how unimaginably terrible this feeling would be.

KJ

 

And then, there are posts like this one:

Guns Guns Guns Guns I do Adore

The second post featuring the retweet is from my timeline—I posted that. I made that post because it summed up the collective frustration millions of us are having with this insane and conditioned routine our nation goes through in response to these mass shootings. It is beyond frustrating. It is insulting to the lives lost that we have done nothing. And comments such as the second comment on my Facebook post highlights part of the reason why we cannot move into the realm of constructive critical analysis. Continue Reading…