All posts by Kanisha L. Adkins

About Kanisha L. Adkins

Kanisha L. Adkins is a gifted writer who draws on her professional training to address issues of faith, law, politics, social justice, mental health and personal accountability and empowerment. She is a licensed attorney with over 25 years of experience in conflict management and resolution. In addition to a Juris Doctor, she holds Master’s of Divinity and Master’s of Social Work degrees and is an ordained Baptist minister with over 22 years of offering her gifts of preaching, teaching, counseling and administration, as well as conference and small group facilitation and instruction.

Depression During The Holidays, Part One: When Christmas Isn’t So Merry

20150712_210956_resized-1Just 80 more days ‘til Christmas. That may seem like a lot of time. But for many, those days are already being filled with plans. Plans for who will host dinner and who will be invited to dinner, what’s on the menu, who will cook what, what presents to buy for the gift exchange at work, what to wear to the office party, whether to buy a new outfit, whether to shop online for clothes, toys and other gifts or go to brick and mortar stores, whether to drive or fly to grandma’s and pa-pa’s house… Employers and employees are already thinking about closing out the year’s business and taking vacation days during the holiday. Parents who can’t take vacation are already thinking about childcare for their minor children while schools are closed.

Pastors and preachers are already thinking about the sermonic messages they will preach on the Sunday before Christmas (even though they still have at least 10 sermons to preach before that day). Choirs are busy rehearsing Christmas Cantatas and Handel’s Messiah. Sunday schools and children’s church are busy rehearsing plays. Club owners, party throwers and party goers have already started placing their orders and stocking up on “adult beverages” to get the party started right.

DEPRESSION During The Holidays picture80 days won’t last long, especially since every-day-life-as-usual has to be lived, even while getting ready for those few days at the end of December. It’s enough to drive a sane person crazy. And while most people won’t actually go crazy, more than likely, as a result of the anticipation of the busy-ness of the holiday season, what will happen, and may have already started to happen, is that many people will experience a sadness that goes beyond just feeling down. Many people, even people of faith, will experience depression during this season of joy, making Christmas not so merry. The first step in addressing the “holiday blues” (which some people have already begun to experience) is to educate yourself on what depression is, what causes it, and how to recognize it.

What is depression?

Depression is a serious mental AND medical illness that negatively affects how we feel, the way we think and how we act. It may start suddenly or build up over a period of weeks, months, or years. Who gets depressed? Many, many people. Men, women and children of all races, colors, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions. What causes depression? Biological factors: Chemical imbalances in the brain and biological vulnerability. Psychological factors: Mental or thought processes meaning how we think about things; Psychological tendencies such as low self-esteem and pessimism. Social and environmental factors: Academic demands; balancing school, work, family and social life; Financial responsibilities or worries; Social isolation; Major loss such as the loss of a loved one including a family pet or loss of income; Chronic illness such as asthma, cancer, diabetes or addiction; Work stress; Family crisis and concerns; Unwelcome and welcome life changes; Alcohol and drug use, including both legal and illegal.

What are some symptoms of depression?

There are different forms of depression with different combinations of the following symptoms. Physical: Sleep disturbances-insomnia, oversleeping, waking much earlier than usual; Changes in appetite or eating much more or much less; Decreased energy or fatigue; Headaches, stomach aches, digestive problems or other physical symptoms that are not explained by other physical conditions or do not respond to treatment. Behavioral/Attitude: Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, such as going out with friends, hobbies, sports, sex, food, etc.; Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; Neglecting responsibilities or personal appearance. Emotional: Persistent sad or “empty” mood, lasting two or more weeks; Crying “for no reason”; Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty or worthless; Feeling irritable, agitated or anxious; Thoughts of death or suicide.

People of faith, regardless of religious affiliation or denomination, are just as susceptible to becoming depressed as non-believers and those who do not ascribe to any religion. In fact, people of faith, particularly Christians, may be more prone to experiencing depression because this is supposed to be a season of joy: Christ has come, is come and will come! For what reason could Christians and other followers of God possibly be sad, you ask? For all the same reasons as those who don’t believe. LIFE!

Consider Elijah, that prophet and mighty man of God, who called down fire on Mount Carmel. After that mighty act of faith and God honoring his prayer, just days later these are the words that came from Elijah’s lips: ““I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under a bush and fell asleep.” (I Kings 19:4-5) Elijah was experiencing depression: feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness and thoughts of and wanting to die. Elijah was depressed! But the good news is that help was available.

“All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights…” (I Kings 19:5-8)

If you are experiencing depression, these verses offer suggestions on a few of the ways to treat those feelings.  What is the treatment for depression? For starters, SELF-CARE including: Healthy eating; exercise; sleep; rest; and relaxation.

Pay attention to and honor your feelings. Sad feelings can be a signal that something is wrong. Remember that feelings are a gift from God, even feelings of sadness. Feelings should always draw us closer to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17) And so above all, when feelings of sadness turn to depression, remember to make prayer and meditation a key component of your self-help.

Next Week: Depression During The Holidays, Part Two: Use Your Words

Learning the Language of Depression and More Helpful Solutions

Originally written and posted: October 5, 2015

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No written portion of any article may be shared without giving credit to the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

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My Interview on The Sharvette Mitchell Radio Show

What do you do when you discover you’ve been working with a Judas–someone who undermines and disrupts your work? Listen to my interview on The Sharvette Mitchell Radio Show as we discuss this question and SO MUCH MORE.   Just click the link below and enjoy!

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http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mitchell-productions/2017/04/04/on-air-with-kanisha-l-adkins-author-minister-and-attorney

Purchase your book today at www.createspace.com/6549749


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The Politics of Christmas (republished from December 2015)

20150712_210956_resized-1Have you ever noticed how federal, state and local governing bodies close their offices and go on vacation during the Christmas holiday season? The United States Congress will take a “recess” for about 10 days, from about December 21st through December 31st. (My third grade recesses never lasted that long. How about yours?)   The law-makers will leave Washington, return to their respective home states and celebrate the season with their families and friends. Executive agencies, (that is, those who carry out the laws, rules, regulations, programs, policies and procedures that have been put into place by the law-makers) will close their doors for just two or three days. All of the political work will come to a screeching halt, the problems of government will give way to a collective hush so that we may quiet down for the holidays and put differences aside, all in the name of peace on earth and good will toward men (and women, too!).

But why does the government shut down, especially in light of the fact that when the doors open back up, it will be back to business as usual? The same fight that was being fought before the doors closed will be resumed when the doors open. The same burden that was oppressive before the doors closed will be oppressive when the doors reopen. The same people who were on top when the doors closed with a sign saying, “Gone For The Holidays” will still be on top when the sign is flipped back over to say, “Open For Business.” And the same people who were on the bottom, waiting in line, will still be on the bottom, waiting in line. I don’t know about the rest of the world but in the United States, we have de-politicized Christmas by allowing government to fade into the background for a few days. The truth, however, is that as the shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks on that starry, chilly evening in Bethlehem, politics was thick in the air the night that Christ was born.

In order to under the politics of Christmas, we need to understand a little about the history of the Jews ( the people of Israel) being under foreign rulers. (I promise to keep it painless and simple).

*The Jews had been ruled over by the Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians and Greeks. After the Exodus from Egypt (led by Moses), Israel had been allowed to return to their homeland but they were still ruled by foreign governments. Jesus (who was a Jew) was born during the time the people of Israel were under the Roman ruler, Caesar Augustus.

Statue of Caesar Augustus
Statue of Caesar Augustus

*Now for a little lesson on Caesar Augustus. Augustus was originally named Octavian and was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. After Julius Caesar’s death, Julius was divinized, or elevated to the status of ‘god’. Octavian, Julius’ son, was considered “the son of god” and his name was changed to Augustus, which means “worthy of worship”. Augustus became the object of worship throughout the Roman Empire. He was believed to have been sent by God as a Savior for the people; his birthday was adopted as the new beginning of the year; and his birth was viewed as the beginning of a new era of ‘good news’ (evangelion) and peace (peace, which was by military force) for the whole world.

The Forum of Augustus
The Forum of Augustus

*Caesar Augustus funded his Roman Empire by making the people pay taxes. There were grain taxes, produce taxes, sales taxes, temple taxes, occupational taxes, custom taxes, transit taxes, and many others. Three percent of the elite, like the Roman Senate, along with the Roman soldiers and the citizens of Rome didn’t feel the sting but the people of Israel were part of the 97% of people who were in poverty as a result of the heavy taxation. Caesar Augustus needed to know how many people were in the Roman Empire, in order to make sure the taxes were accurate.

Map of Roman Empire during rule of Caesar Augustus
Map of Roman Empire during rule of Caesar Augustus

*So, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” (Luke 2:1) These were the politics that surrounded Jesus’s birth. Roman officials had declared that Caesar Augustus was the ‘son of god’, the ‘savior’ of the whole earth by bringing ‘peace’ to Rome, and that declaration was heralded as ‘good news.’  This is the same message that the angel gave the shepherds concerning Jesus: a savior is born, he is the Christ or God’s Anointed One and he will bring peace on earth. The difference, however, is that where Caesar Augustus ruled with an iron fist and oppression, Jesus, born in a lowly manger, to an unmarried virgin girl and a working-class carpenter, would establish his Lordship and rule through humility and compassion.  Caesar Augustus was viewed as a cheap imitation, a fake!  But Jesus was the savior on whom the children of Israel and all who were oppressed had been waiting. The gospel writer, Luke, challenges the Roman practices of his day by telling us the story of a baby who was born into a highly charged social and political climate.

Politics is hard work and everyone needs a break. But if Jesus’s birth was seated in the middle of a major political situation, why do our governments shut down and divorce themselves from the true backstory of the Christmas season? Today, in the United States (and perhaps in other countries) governing bodies shut down to take a break from politics. When Caesar Augustus ruled the Roman Empire, politics was the name of the game and the game was in full play the night that Christ was born. But Jesus was not born so that governments could take a brief break from politics or to give people a short recess from oppression and pain. Jesus was born to completely change the political game.

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*Source: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/articles/unpublished-papers/behind-lukes-gospel-the-roman-empire-during-the-time-of-jesus/#_ftn30

No written portion of any article may be shared without giving credit to the authors.

Copyright © 2015 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

 

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THE 2016 ELECTION IS OVER…NOW WHAT??

20150712_210956_resized-1When we went to bed on November 8, 2016, everyone was hopeful that his or her candidate would win.  When we woke up on November 9, 2016, we found out that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump won the electoral vote.  Donald Trump will be the President of the United States.  This news sent many people into a tailspin!

Mental health professionals reported an increase in calls to crisis hotlines, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-win-is-causing-a-surge-in-demand-for-mental-health-services-2016-11-10

Talkspace.com, an online therapy service, reported a 7-fold spike in online traffic from people who needed therapy because of the election results.  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/14/online-therapy-startup-sees-a-7-fold-spike-in-traffic-after-trump-victory.html

Many people who devoted hours, weeks and months in opposition to “a Trump presidency” were reduced to tears, panic attacks, and some even took to their beds.  In the few days since the election, people have been struggling to make sense of the presidential election result and trying to figure out ‘where do we go from here?’

I’ll tell you where we go from here.  We go to work!  Donald Trump was not the only person elected on November 8, 2016.  On the federal level, representatives for Congress were also elected.  The United States Congress is in session and it’s time for us, WE THE PEOPLE, to get to work.  Here’s what YOU CAN AND MUST do:

  1. KNOW the names of your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives. Here is the link for you to look up your Representatives  https://www.house.gov/representatives/  and your Senators. http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=last_name&Sort=ASC
  2. Visit your Senators and Representatives’ websites and bookmark them as favorites (because you’re going to visit them REGULARLY!)
  3. Visit the website AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK and read about what your senators and representatives are doing.
  4. Send them emails REGULARLY and let them know what you want and what you don’t want!
  5. If they disregard our wishes, during the next election cycle, when it’s time to “renew their contracts”, we will vote them out!
  6. If they honor our requests and they remain on the ballot, we will vote them back in!

This is your life.  This is your country.   It’s time to get off your sickbed and get involved.

“Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead.” Hebrews 12:12-13

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No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

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STOP MAKING EXCUSES: 10 “I’m Not Voting Excuses” You Can No Longer Use

20150712_210956_resized-1Election 2016 is right around the corner.  This may be one of the most important elections of our time.  And yet — many people are giving reasons — no, excuses — for why they aren’t going to vote.  Here are 10 excuses people are using to justify not voting on November 8, 2016.  And here are 10 reasons why these excuses are weak and need to be dismissed.

  1.  I don’t feel inspired by either candidate.

The voting process is not supposed to inspire you.  Voting is how we get people into offices.  Voting is how we hire presidents, congressman and senators on the federal level, and how we hire governors, state senators and representatives, mayors, supervisors, sheriff’s and a slew of other officials on the state and local levels.  Voting is how we pass laws and implement policies that matter to the least than and the left out, and how we make life better for more than just the wealthy and privileged.  The candidate’s job description is not “to inspire the people.”  Stop focusing on personalities and get inspired by the issues that matter to you.  Vote for issues and facts, not emotions and personalities!  Vote for the candidate who has addressed the issues that you care about.

2.  I’m protesting against the Democratic and Republican parties by voting for someone else.

You don’t protest at the polls.  You protest in the streets.  To everything there is a season.  Election Day is not the day to protest.  If you are not voting for the Democratic or Republican candidate on 11/8/16, you have wasted your vote because your someone else is not going to win.  First, not all states will have other candidates on the ballot.  Second, the other candidates will not get enough total electoral votes to win the election.  So, even if you like someone else’s views, if that person is not a major contender and you vote for that person, you’ve just wasted your vote.  Question: Would you pay money to eat at a restaurant that doesn’t have the ability to fill your order and serve you?  No, you wouldn’t.  Don’t waste your vote!

3.  My vote doesn’t matter.

In 2012, President Barak Obama won the state of Pennsylvania by 300,000 votes – that’s three hundred thousand votes!  It sounds like a lot but it really came down to only 17 extra votes per precinct.  One vote here, two votes there – they add up!  Every vote matters!

4.  I’m tired of career politicians.

No one ever complains about a doctor being a career doctor.  No one ever complains about a teacher being a career teacher.  No one has ever complained about a soldier or a marine being a career military person.  No one ever complains about career chefs, mechanics or singers.  Stop complaining about politicians being career politicians.  Politicians are public service workers.  What better person to work for public citizens than someone who has experience working for and with the public.

5.  Voting doesn’t change anything.

Voting is a step in the process of change.  Change takes time and it takes multiple steps.  Unless your goal is only one step away, one step will not get you to your goal.  Contrary to what many people have said, I don’t believe Black people died for the right to vote.  I believe they died for change.  They died for the right to be self-determinant.  They died for the right to have a say in their lives.  Voting was one way they could be self-determinant.  Voting was one way they could change the conditions of their lives.  So they voted – and they protested injustice – and they marched and rallied for civil rights for all people – and they proposed legislation – and slowly but surely, change happened.  Change is a crock-pot process, not a microwave process.  Voting is one step in the process of change.

kevin-gyure-leggo-vote
Courtesy of Kevin Gyure: Lego Vote

6.  I don’t understand the electoral process

Learn about the process.  Click on this link: https://www.usa.gov/election#item-36072

7. I don’t know who to vote for.

List five issues (or more) that are important to you.  Then go to the candidate’s website (president, vice president, senator, congressman, county supervisor – whoever is on the ballot) and read!  Find out whether what’s important to you, is important to them.  The candidate whose beliefs, values and policies are similar or close to your beliefs and values is the candidate you should vote for.

 8. I don’t know what’s on the ballot

Do a Google search using your state’s name and “State Board of Elections” or something similar.  When you get to the website, click Elections.  You should be able to find out who and what is on the ballot in your state.  Knowledge and information is just a click away.

9. I’m not a registered voter, I don’t know if I have the right voter ID, I don’t know where my voting precinct is located.

Find out how to become registered, what ID you need and where your poll is located.  Click on this link and follow the instructions. http://www.canivote.org

10.  I have physical limitations and getting inside the polling precinct is difficult.

The precinct workers will provide car-side service for you.  Just pull up and someone will bring your ballot to you.  How’s that for service!

NO MORE EXCUSES.  VOTE!

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No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

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WHAT WILL YOU PREACH ON SUNDAY?

20150712_210956_resized-1Sunday’s comin’, gotta preach.

So what will you preach on Sunday?

Bullets flyin’, people dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter, blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what will you PREACH on Sunday?

 

Will you stick with your script, YOUR message, prepared to SLAY?

Or will you challenge your lips to give voice to what the Spirit has to say?

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So WHAT will you preach on Sunday?

 

Sunday’s comin’, gotta pray.

So what will you PRAY on Sunday?

Will you pray “The Our Father”, ask for forgiveness of sins,

Petition Jehovah Shalom, “God of peace, we’re waiting for YOU to step in?”

Or will you open the altar and just let the people weep,

Tear their clothes, lay in the aisle and let their broken hearts speak?

 

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what will you PRAY on Sunday?

 

Sunday’s comin’, gotta sing.

So what will you SING on Sunday?

Will you sing of a sweet bye and bye,

Golden streets, starry crowns, long white robes, mansions on high?

Will you sing of blessings on earth,

Of prosperity and riches and excessive personal girth?

Or will you sing a dirge,

Or maybe just hum and moan, for the dearly departed who will nevermore this earth roam?

 

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what will you SING on Sunday?

 

Sunday’s comin’, gotta give.

So what will you GIVE on Sunday?

Will you give an offering and a tithe,

Then leave the building to continue with your merry life?

Or will you become a gift, a prayer, a song,

The healing for the hurt, the right for a wrong?

For we are LIVING epistles,

“not written in ink, but with the Spirit of the living God,

And not on stone tablets but on human hearts.”

And the wounded are waiting for our sermon to end,

For the song to conclude and the prayer’s “AMEN”.

 

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what we gon’ DO on Sunday?

*****

No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

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When A Sin Becomes A Crime

20150712_210956_resized-1The church has long taught that sex outside of marriage is a sin.   People who’ve spent any amount of time in evangelical, apostolic, or fundamentalist churches are familiar with verses like, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.”  (I Thessalonians 4:3 KJV)   Forget hunger, poverty, and unemployment.   Sex outside of marriage is what makes the church cringe on any given Sunday.   For the record, the word “fornication” used in the biblical text is taken from the Greek word porneia, which means selling off or surrendering sexual purity and promiscuity of any and every type’.   Marital status isn’t mentioned in the original Greek definition of fornication.

You’ll notice that I’ve highlighted the words surrendering and promiscuity.   That’s because some people don’t seem to understand that “promiscuously surrendering” is NOT the same as being forced to engage in sexual activity.   Being forced to engage in sexual activity is sexual assault at the least, and rape at most.

Why am I making this distinction?   Well, in case you haven’t heard, a major Christian organization has come under fire for overlooking reports of rape and sexual assault.   No, the organization isn’t a mega church or a religious denomination’s national or state conference.   The major Christian organization I’m talking about is Baylor University, the nation’s largest Baptist University.Baylor_University_Athletics_(logo).svg

Over the course of the last several years, several female students have come forward and reported being sexually assaulted or raped by members of the Baylor University football team.   The university, however, didn’t appropriately investigate these reports.   In fact, according to one news report, the University didn’t look into the allegations made by at least one young lady until 2 years after she reported the assault!  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/05/26/baylor-reportedly-fires-football-coach-art-briles-amid-teams-sexual-assault-allegations/

A columnist, who is also a member of a prominent family, many of whom are Baylor graduates, recently wrote that for religious schools like Baylor, “the question is how to balance the country’s encouragement of sexual assault victims to come forward with the school’s rules that restrict sexual behavior.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/25/the-ken-starr-baylor-story-shows-the-struggle-of-religious-schools-to-deal-with-sex-assault/

According to Baylor’s sexual conduct policy students, faculty and staff are expected to express sexual intimacy in the context of marital fidelity.   http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=39247

Surely, this prominent columnist can’t be suggesting that sexual assault is an act of intimacy.  But it sounds like this is exactly what he is implying: that because the policy prohibits sexual intimacy outside of marriage, persons who are sexually assaulted are reluctant to report these actions to campus leaders because they have engaged in a prohibited sexual intimacy.  No they haven’t engaged in an intimacy!  They’ve been criminally assaulted.  Sexual assault is NOT the sexual behavior that is addressed in Baylor’s policy on sexual conduct.   This is a bunch of double talk.  And quite frankly, it’s a bunch of bull.

I believe (and some might even agree) that Baylor’s leadership failed to appropriately address the reports of these young ladies who alleged to have been sexually assaulted by members of the football team for one reason.  MONEY!  When the football team started winning and finished with a championship win in 2010 under head coach Art Briles, big bucks started rolling in for Baylor!  The leaders of this prominent Christian university didn’t just delay looking into a sexual conduct policy violation between consenting adults. These leaders turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to sexual crimes on their Christian campus!  And an attempt to reframe the issue of a crime in terms of a policy violation is an epic fail.  https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/05/25/baylor-university-prepares-fire-president-over-handling-assaultshandcuffed

Sexual activity outside of marriage may be a sin.  But sexual assault is a crime.  It’s time for Baylor and the many faces of the faith community including colleges, universities, secondary schools, churches, fellowships and religious conferences to put as much attention on crime as they do on sin.

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No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

 

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A Presidential Appointment or A PROVIDENTIAL Appointment

20150712_210956_resized-1Have you ever wondered whether God cares about who wins a Grammy, an Oscar or a Super Bowl? When the winners make their “Thank You” speeches, many times they thank God but does Providence have anything to do with their victories? What about politics? Does Providence care about who wins an election or who receives a political appointment? Does God have a preference for who becomes a mayor, governor, president or a judge? Is God a Democrat or a Republican? Of course, I’m being somewhat silly with that last question. But the events of the last few days really have me wondering about the place of, and maybe even the preference of, Providence in politics.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Just a few days ago, on February 13, 2016, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, unexpectedly and to the shock of everyone who is involved in or keeps up with politics. Immediately and literally within hours of the news of his passing, politicians started speculating about his replacement. But the uproar wasn’t about who would be his replacement. The uproar was about who should do the replacing.

President Obama has appointed two Justices to the SCOTUS: Justice Sonia Sotomayor who replaced Justice David Souter and Justice Elena Kagan who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Sotomayor has been unofficially placed in the “more liberal” category in her court opinions while Justice Kagan has been unofficially placed in the “moderate to liberal” category in her court opinions.

Justice Scalia was one of the most conservative Justices on the court. President Obama’s next appointment has the potential to tip the court to the “moderate to liberal” side. And this is why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and those who think like him want to block President Obama from doing his job to appoint the next Justice to SCOTUS. But the Republicans aren’t the only ones who have been looking for strategies about SCOTUS judicial appointments. Even politicians on the Democratic side have tried, in the not too distant past, to stack the deck in their favor.

U. S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the “most” liberal Justices on SCOTUS.  At 82 years old, (83 on March 15, 2016), she is also the oldest, active member of SCOTUS and, not that it’s related to her age, she has had some health challenges. In 1999, Justice Ginsburg was diagnosed and successfully treated for colon cancer. In 2009, she was diagnosed and successfully treated for pancreatic cancer. And in 2014, she underwent a cardiac procedure. For all of these reasons (age and health), many people hinted at the possibility, and some have just outright declared, that Justice Ginsburg might be on the verge of retiring or perhaps that she needed to retire. Her health issues aside, some Democrats even advocated and urged that she should retire while President Obama is still in office so that he can appoint another liberal-minded Justice. Justice Ginsburg, however, has emphatically said that she has no plans to retire.

Seal of the Supreme Court of the United States

Proverbs 21:1 says: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” And the psalmist wrote (in Psalms 31:15), “My times are in your hands…”  While politicians on both the Democratic and Republican side are busy plotting strategies and scheming on who should retire and who should and shouldn’t appoint the next Justice, the hand of Providence has been busy moving and proving, in the words of the old Sunday School song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”  With all of her health challenges, Justice Ginsburg is still here! And Justice Scalia, who appeared to be relatively healthy, is no more!

When a person who has no apparent health issues passes, the spiritual side of us prompts us to say, “It was his time.” And when a person who has challenge after challenge, rises up from each challenge, the spiritual side of us is prompted to say, “It’s not her time yet.” But when the one who passes and the one who lives will have such a tremendous impact on who will be the next one to sit on the SCOTUS bench, it leaves me with a few questions:

No disrespect or offense intended but could Justice Scalia’s passing be considered an “act of God”? And for that matter, can Justice Ginsburg’s life beyond her health challenges be considered an “act of God”? Is this the permissive will or the perfect will of Providence? Does the fact that Justice Scalia has passed away and the fact that Justice Ginsburg is still alive, active and productive mean that Providence has a preference how the scales of justice are tipped and about the laws that humanity is to abide by? Last question: If God is active in ALL aspects of life, does that mean that the next appointment to SCOTUS isn’t necessarily a presidential appointment but a PROVIDENTIAL appointment?

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No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

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THE DOORS OF THE CHURCH…ARE CLOSED??

20150712_210956_resized-1Let’s just jump right in. Many people reading this blog are tired of or know someone who is tired of church! This is not to be confused with being tired of God. God and church are two different things. People love God. In fact, if it wasn’t for their love of God, they would have given up on “church” a long time ago. Still, they’re tired of church. And this is not to be confused with The Church: that invisible and universal, timeless and eternal “body of Christ”, group of believers who have professed Christ as God’s son and their Savior and Lord. People are not tired of The Church with a big C, they’re tired of church with a little c.

I’m not making this up. And I’m not speaking solely out of my own personal frustrations. I have hard facts, first-hand knowledge, that people are tired of church. These hard facts are conversations with people who have said point blank, “I’m tired of church” or “I’m all churched out!”

You need more facts? Here they are: Look around your church over the course of the next month or so and you’ll notice some people are missing. The Baby Boomers (ages 51 to 69, give or take a year or two) and Generation X (ages 35 to 50, give or take a year or two) who have been raised in the church, who have been faithful in talent, time and tithe are taking sabbaticals from being overworked, uninspired and unmotivated (not to mention being under and unappreciated). These long time church members who usually show up every time the doors of the church open are going on hiatus from that Sunday morning same old, same old.  They’re finding reasons and excuses to not show up on Sunday morning.

A Faithful Few

These Old Faithfuls, as I’ll call them, have grown tired of routine and scripted Sunday morning worship and weekly activities and they’re slowing stepping away. Sometimes it’s not apparent because they’re still showing up but just not as frequently as before. They’re still showing up, but they’re not as active or as vocal as before. And little by little, one service at a time, one hymn at a time, one collection plate at a time, “Old Faithful” is inching towards the door and they’re just one pew away from being one of The Dones.

The Dones is a phrase coined by the research of Josh Packard, a sociologist at the University of Northern Colorado. The Dones are those people who are done with church. The Dones have not (I repeat, HAVE NOT) abandoned their faith, or their belief in God or God’s son, Jesus, but they’re ‘done’ with church as usual. The Dones may attend a service every now and then. After all, community and connection are still important to them. But don’t look for them every week singing a rousing chorus of “give me that old time religion.” It may have been good for their dear mother or father, and it may have been good for the Hebrew children, and Paul and Silas, but don’t get it twisted…it’s NOT good enough for The Dones. They’re done with that!

Empty Pews

And as Old Faithful inches closer and closer to becoming part of The Dones and giving less and less time inside the four walls of the church, along with Old Faithful goes a big portion of the church’s talent and tithe because Millennials (ages 18 to 34, give or take a year or two) aren’t waiting in line to be pew members. They aren’t interested in being “seat-fillers”, like people who are hired to attend television, theatre and movie award shows so that the house looks packed. Millennials (and those whom I’ll call millennial-minded) want to be involved and active. They love good music, preaching and teaching but they’d rather spend half of the day doing service and outreach projects and not half of the day being benchwarmers. To borrow from the words of Thom Schultz of the Group Publishing and Lifetree Café, like The Dones, The Millennials don’t want to “plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate.”

And then there is Generation Z also known as “Generation V” (for virtual), the “Internet Generation”, or the “Google Generation”. These are the ‘tweens and teens who are still dependent on adults to provide for their every need. These are the children who often sit through church services and activities that are geared towards adults and they either end up falling asleep or playing with electronic games. And before the Google Generation becomes part of the Millennials and they decide that it’s more beneficial to get a job and work rather than worship on Sundays, church as usual has got to change.

Corporate worship is important and I (for the most part) enjoy it. But attending church services and activities shouldn’t be the highlight of our existence as Christians. And attending church services and activities shouldn’t be the requirement that people have to meet in order to prove that they are “living right”.

Years ago a friend of mine asked the question: “why are we [the same people who’ve been coming to bible study for 20 years] still coming to bible study and still talking about the same thing?  At some point we should be going out and putting into action what we’ve learned!” I think she has a valid point. Church should be a place where we enter to worship and depart to serve.

The gospel writer Matthew said that after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples went to Galilee, just as Jesus had instructed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him;… Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:17-20)

Depart To Serve
Depart to serve

This is the Great Commission! It’s short and it’s sweet. It tells us that when people see Jesus, they will worship! And after we have worshiped, we are instructed to GO! GO into the world! GO and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! GO and teach people everything that Jesus taught.

The world has changed! And yet, some of our churches are doing the same things they’ve done for the last 20, 50, 75 and even 100 years. We can no longer continue to do church as usual. We can’t afford it! It’s time for us to stop doing church and it’s time for us to start being the CHURCH! Worship extends beyond the one, two or three hours that we spend in church on the Sabbath. In fact, the magnitude, the demonstration and the evidence of our worship should be what we do after the benediction…on our jobs, in our homes, in our communities. Instead of putting so much emphasis on “coming to church”, perhaps it’s time for us to give the benediction, close the doors of the church and GO!

…And by the way…relax…Jesus promised that He’d be with us.

 

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Sources: *https://baptistnews.com/culture/item/29535-new-term-recognizes-christians-who-are-simply-done-with-church

**http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/177144-thom-schultz-rise-of-the-done-with-church-population.html

No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

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