“Father God I been betrayed
Feel like they beat me like a slave
But i learn from my mistakes
We living in the last days pray for me and make me cold hearted…”
I write poems when the colors in Nature in my mind come out. For example, these red berries seem more red now in this state of my mind today since Friday.
As a teacher last year at Langston Hughes High School I studied poetry. Obviously, Langston Hughes is great. However, the kids to do relate to him. I had so many students who were talented. One of my gracious students opened up about music. She told me to look at Lil’ Boosie. This was obviously some where I had to go intellectually. You see at Georgia State University and at the Fulton County School training there was this idea that anyone whose name was “Lil” was off limits and “bad.” So obviously, I had to go there. In listening to Lil Boosie latest album I can see songs that talk about the reality of what goes on in the South for some. Some public schools seem to be designed to oppress. I studied the art that gave the kids hope and helped them get out to graduation while listening to music on smartphones. Watch this video to see one of their prophets. For Lil Boosie poetry is his weapon against slavery. It is also mine for spiritual liberation from my past. I see parallels between the emergency of Islamophobia and anti-Middle Eastern sentiments in America with the plight of African-Americans as will become clear in what follows. I hope to articulate this connection more in future posts and poems. For example, I have an idea of a poem about Coca-Cola and The Dome of the Rock as show in the first picture in this post.
As was war in the 20th century for Europe, so the 21st century will be war in the Middle East. I pray for peace, but realize that art and poetry is needed to share understanding and insight as to the real issues. People need to understand the depth of the psyche as to why people are willing to die in war. They need to see the suffering and hear the pain. The cries and sorrow of an oppressed mass must be masked in the veil of art that wakes the spirit and mind to action. Not violence, nonviolence. However, the art must speak the Truth and in that way it may be brutal. Tastefully done obviously, but it must be honest. In that way, Lil Boosie speaks to me. His music and verse speaks to the truth of growing up oppressed and may speak across the divide of the wealth and the poor and build a spiritual bridge that heals and leads to the Kingdom of God on Earth.
The fools like this friend from seminary in the American military play Crusade for fun. They have not seen the Mind of an angry Arab or Turk. I pray for peace, and that all Arabs and Turks can come to a place of perfect peace. However, there is a lot of post-9/11 anger as I have seen in my father that will take time to dissipate. With respect to my experience growing up in the South, there is a lot of material to process. I have found out that my father may be returning home, and in this way may be able to face his past. It will be interesting to share the poems I come up with in my thoughts about the issue of Black Turks and White Turks, a metaphor originally coined by the journalist Ufuk Güldemir is in his 1992 book “Teksas Malatya.” This issue is exactly as it sounds. I identify more with the Black Turk idea, but obviously I look like a White Turk.
Race: America’s Most Challenging Issue.
From a letter written on December, 25, 1938.
We need to heed his advice already.
“Let the white make a supreme effort
in their resolve to contribute their share
to the solution of this problem,
to abandon once for all
their usually inherent and at times subconscious
sense of superiority, to correct their tendency
towards revealing a patronizing attitude
towards the members of the other race,
to persuade them through their intimate,
spontaneous and informal association with them
of the genuineness of their friendship
and the sincerity of their intentions,
and to master their impatience
of any lack of responsiveness
on the part of a people who have received,
for so long a period,
such grievous and slow-healing wounds.”
The racial theme in this poem will be developed into a book about the Turkish-American war to build peace.
It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom,
Mountains do not do politics,
Today, we are creating deserts,
Tomorrow, we will build the mountains peacefully…
“maulvi hargiz na shud maula-e-rum
ta ghulam e shams tabrizi na shud”
I saw a WordPress blog entry entitled “I am a Native American Woman With White Privilege” that resonated with me. There is a tendency to discover aspects of social hierarchy and privilege only after one sees one small crack in it. White Privilege is something that is invisible to many, and unless one has experienced some kind of major setback one may never realized it is real. Based upon some experiences such as that documented in the post entitled “Listening to Biblical History and Qur’anic Recitation, My Heart Beats Faster as Tears Flow” shared on other places on this blog, I faced a several year setback in my science career. I took three years, from 2012-2015, to focus on a spiritual path to develop another aspect of my personality to evolve my spirit after an experience that is perhaps best called a “horrible satori.” The three poems, here, here, and here describe it. In a nutshell, between 2008-2012 I had a couple different visions of horrible war in the Middle East beyond anything that has happened yet.
The spiritual journey to recover and find a healthy balanced path included seminary, working with refugees, and teaching public school in an urban environment. The three part journey was extremely healing and gave me an incredible perspective on both the theory of religion and deep insight into what is needed to really make a difference in education of people outside the Ivory Tower. I believe for the rest of my life I will draw on this experience as a metric for the merit of a task. The experience gave me great insight into the nature of American religion and culture that I would not have had if I had stayed in the cloistered position of upper level academia and in the research enterprise. Long term, I wish more people with my backgrounds would do something similar to give them perspective about how to heal society with their knowledge of their respective fields. This is an example, become an Uber driver as the president of a university.
With Turkey as of yesterday now bombing the PKK and ISIL and the discovery that my father may return to his home town Bursa to retire after being crushed by the financial crash of 2008, it is now time to start sharing it openly because the vision really is coming true. Let me make it clear, I am not deluded to think that I am a prophet. However, I do understand the Middle Eastern mind to some extent from my father’s impact on me in my life. I hope to work to build peace based on this insight. I have found that it is helpful to write my thoughts out in this blog to find balance in times of complexity to resolve a path to make peace with my heart and mind. I am passionate about the idea of my story opening up rays of hope in others who are struggling with similar issues. Particularly, those with a parent or close friend who does not understand what the medical community calls bipolar disorder I. The moral of the story is you have to keep the cut grass. In other words, process the issues in ways that are productive and positive. I am really happy with the new found openness that I have with other God conscious people on the issue. We talked about Mark 5:1-19 and I wrote this back to a friend in a Bible study.
Thank you Chris for sending around this extremely balanced and well written article. It is clear that you have good judgement in the selecting this article to send around. I am only down to the second point, “Sin is a Condition, Not Just Actions,” and am extremely impressed by the perspective that the article’s author presents. I am particularly impressed by the following statement under this second section:
“But even in conservative churches where Pentecostal excesses are eschewed, there is often a tendency to blame physical suffering on specific sins. We can be like Job’s counselors, assuming that he had done something to deserve his calamities. If he would only ferret out the sin and come clean with it, then God would restore his fortunes. But neither Job nor his friends had access to the first chapter, where God permitted Satan to test Job so that something greater than physical health, wealth, and happiness would appear. Satan meant it for evil, but God intended it for good. Job’s suffering brought him to the confidence he expressed in chapter 19: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!” (vv. 25-27). Neither his friends nor a modern naturalism would be able to explain the ultimate purpose for Job’s suffering from the available data. And in our own suffering, we do not have access to “chapter 1″ either. All we see are the natural causes and the divine revelation that God works all things together for our good, because he has already triumphed over sin and death in Jesus Christ.”
This statement provides a great starting point for a Bible study of Job. The book of Job is perhaps the ultimate Biblical example of how to consider how to build a Christian perspective of suffering. It presents how we should properly think about the relationship of Good and Evil. Chapter 1 of the book of Job is a good place to have a discussion for this week. How about discussing this chapter tomorrow at lunch time?
I would like to share the approach to Job that was given to me as a great gift by one of my professors at Princeton Seminary, Professor Seow. You can see him talk about his approach here:
While obviously careful linguistic analysis and exegesis of a Biblical text can be useful, Seow was very big on the idea that the arts and humanities can shed light on a Biblical text. The Book of Job has inspired myriad art forms of all types.
I was reading this book this morning and this jumped out at me:
“When it became useful in educational circles in the United States to group various university disciplines under the name “The Humanities,” it seems to have been tacitly decided that philosophy and history would be cast as the core of this grouping, and that other forms of learning-the study of languages, literature, religion, and the arts – would be relegated to subordinate positions. Philosophy, conceived as embodying truth, and history, conceived of as a factual record of the past, were proposed as the principal embodiments of Western culture, and given pride of place in general education programs.
But this confidence in a reliable factual record, not to speak of faith in a reliable philosophical synthesis, has undergone considerable erosion. Historical and philosophical assertions issue, it seems, from particular vantage points, and are no less contestable than the assertions of other disciplines. The day of limiting cultural education to Western culture alone is over. There are losses here, of course – losses in depth of learning, losses in coherence – but these very changes have thrown open the question of how the humanities should now be conceived, and how the study of the humanities should, in this moment, be encouraged.
I want to propose that the humanities should take, as their central objects of study, not the texts of historians and philosophers, but the products of aesthetic endeavors: art, dance, music, literature, theater, architecture, and so on. After all, it is by their arts that cultures are principally remembered. For every person who has read a Platonic dialogue, there are probably ten who have seen a Greek marble in a museum; or if not a Greek marble, at least a Roman copy; or if not a Roman copy, at least a photograph. Around the arts there exist, in orbit, the commentaries on art produced by scholars: musicology, and music criticism, art history and art criticism, literary and linguistic studies. At the periphery might set the other humanistic disciplines – philosophy, history, and the study of religion. The arts would justify a broad philosophical interest in ontology, phenomenology, and ethics; they would bring in their train a richer history than one which, in its treatment of mass phenomena, can lose sight of individual human uniqueness – the quality most prized in artists, and most salient, and most valued, in the arts.”
Indeed, the book of Job is like this. Take William Blake’s work on Job. One figure is attached. Blake’s art given meaning to the book and expresses the feeling of Blake as he reads it. Job is someone to meditate on. I love Prophet Job and try to emulate him perfectly in my life now.
Stumbled across a Science article. Curious about what she has to say about gender, ethnic, racial, and national identity. “Much of the rest of my work has focused on generics, which are generalizations like “tigers are striped”, “ducks lay eggs”, and “mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus”. These sentences pose difficulties for traditional formal semantics, but are acquired and processed quickly and easily by young children. This research project seeks to understand the features of our psychology that make this possible, and to explore the consequences of these features for philosophy more generally.” Sarah-Jane Leslie’s data is what I have been looking for for a couple of years as support for arguments about the idea about how to confront racial discrimination, gender segregation, and most importantly to me the soul crushing demon of stigma due to mental illness. An Angel of Light opened Science Magazine for me on Friday and a fascinating study was revealed. This woman is also looking at racial bias in education in her work on what is called “generics.” I want to share the article I saw by her in Science Magazine later today when I get to campus. I see her work as extremely helpful to truly understanding the psychology of racism. Obviously, this is at this point pure theory. However, every great change starts with the insight into the truth. Application is the next phase and in that I need your help. I will write more later. Together we will raise up our kids in education, inshallah.
I had the thought on Sunday, “Want to come to the Baha’i Center to listen to me play Lil Boosie to tell the story of the ‘Atl? When I listen to this song entitled “Black Heaven” by Lil Boosie, I dream about a King like space in the afterlife where his dream is real. Where the wolf lays down with the lamb and there are no guns. On this earth, however, you have to fight for what is right. You have to fight a war if it is right. White Supremacy is something that can be dealt with in art and verse. Give people hope and a vision for what is to come. The Mystical artists in touch with what is needed for Life on earth need to make art for inspire movements like #blacklivesmatter. Let the people march. The poet needs to explore the issues inside to reveal their fuel. In this way, I am thankful for yoga and meditation.” I shared Black Heaven with the Baha’i Congregation last Sunday and it was received warmly. I may have discovered a way to work on the issue of racism within the Baha’i community as long as I do these presentations carefully. What a miracle! 🙂
InnerLight Enlightenment by Dr. William Kaya Erbil is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.