Blind Spots

One of the biggest challenges for Christians is the ability to see themselves. It reminds me of the blind spots while driving.

Blind Spot by Nimish Gogri | Creative Commons

Blind spots are areas of the road (or vehicles) that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors.

What do I mean by blind spots in our Christian walks?

Here are some examples:

Example 1: A father who has been a Christian for many years, graduated Bible school, did missionary work and is a worship leader. He is known to drop everything to do “ministry.” Yet, when his son was down and out, lost his license and vehicle due to a DWI and needed a ride to work, his father told him that he couldn’t give him a ride because it was too much for him.

Example 2: A woman receives a negative health diagnosis and is waiting to have a procedure done. She is alone and anxious. She decides to text a sister in Christ and ask for prayer. She never responds. The following day she texts her again to ask if she had received her text. She responds by saying yes, but that she didn’t have anything to say.

Example 3: A son gets kicked out from where he was living. For all practical purposes, he is homeless. He reaches out to his father and asks if he could stay with him temporarily until he can get himself together. His father says, No.

All three people are believers, who are either doing ministry or serving the Lord. However, when the rubber meets the curve (I’m trying not to use cliches, lol), their words and actions are incongruent. There is a disconnect.

This is what I refer to as blind spots and what others call hypocrisy.

Blind spots are deceptive, dangerous, and destructive. We all need to face the truth about our blind spots. They need to be dealt with, and not ignored, denied, justified, deflected and excused.

How do we face our blind spots?

  1. By accepting that we have them.
  2. By praying, repenting and asking God for awareness, assistance and forgiveness.
  3. By reading and studying the Bible daily, which helps in examining (2 Corinthians 13:5), and judging ourselves. (1 Corinthians 11:31).

Thank the Lord for your truth, love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.

“Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see”

#MeToo

I wasn’t going to write this, I really wasn’t. But, the thoughts kept nagging at me, to the point that I couldn’t sleep. My writing friend and mentor Andi says that when this happens you must write the story that gnaws to be told.

This is going to be difficult for me to write for various reasons. Mostly, because my story will not coincide with many in the #MeToo movement.

The purpose of a writer is to tell the truth and that’s what I am going to attempt to do. For better or for worse.

Around this time in 1983, I was raped by my boyfriend. I was 16 going on 17. I remember it like if it happened yesterday. It changed the trajectory of my life. I was never the same. A part of me died. I fell into a deep depression, was suicidal and started to drink a lot to cope with feelings I didn’t understand.

I was naive as I didn’t even know that what had happened to me at 16 was rape until 10 years later while I was in therapy.

Now that I have told the whole world (I’m exaggerating), I feel so much better now (I’m joking). Actually, telling you or the whole world will not make an ounce of difference nor will it ever change what happened to me.

I am not minimizing any woman’s experience and their needing to come out and speak up about their violation.

There have been several stories I have followed: Dr. Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby, Harry Weinstein, Corey Feldman, and Kevin Spacey.

I was especially touched by Rachael Denhollander’s moving statement.

However, I’m not Rachael or any of these Hollywood celebrities coming out in protest against something that unfortunately happens all the time, especially in high school. Again, I am not minimizing or dismissing their or my experience. I am just stating a fact.

There are various reasons for rape which doesn’t make any of it right, but it does happen. Young boys who are under the influence and go too far. They don’t exhibit the proper self-control. I’m not saying every incident of rape is like this. But, a boy’s raging hormones mixed with alcohol is a dangerous combination. Young boys already struggle with self-control and if there is no male figure in their life to teach them, well, a whole bunch of stupid things can happen at that age, which includes rape.

My coming out and speaking the truth about my experience does nothing to change it. The two men who raped me (yes, unfortunately there was a second time by another “boyfriend”) are six feet under. I can’t go back and undo what happened to me. Even if they were alive and I was able to press charges against them (which I didn’t and wouldn’t), punishing them wouldn’t do anything to change what happened and the damage it caused.

In my case, it doesn’t matter. I am a nobody. I have no influence. I am no one of importance in the big scheme of things. My #MeToo story doesn’t matter and won’t change a single thing.

My point is who cares if I was raped. What difference is it going to make if I told my story? How is my experience actually going to revolutionize some else’s life?

However, for people like Rachael and others, it does matter. Especially given their abusers are serial rapists. Unfortunately, sexual predators will continue to victimize and sexually abuse until they are caught and stopped. It’s an illness. Nowadays, they define help as prison time, which I don’t wholly agree with. But, that’s different topic for another day.

I don’t mean to come across as cold or callous. I have been in rooms with others who were sexually abused much worse than I ever was which made my experiences look petty and insignificant. We all talked and cried until we were blue in the face, and it did nothing to change what happened to us.

Yes, rape is wrong. No one should ever be sexually violated. Yes, it was bad. We were young and innocent. However, there comes a point where we can’t focus or linger on what happened to us.

The pain of our pasts can only be healed by the One who created us, and it comes through forgiveness.

This is why I admire and respect Rachael Denhollander. She did not come across as angry, vengeful and with something to prove. She was peaceful, you could see it in her demeanor and countenance. The peace she possesses comes from her faith in Jesus Christ. She forgave Dr. Larry Nassar. That’s huge.

My healing did not come by fighting or speaking up about my experience or lashing out at men because I was raped. There was a time when I was angry. However, my anger didn’t dissipate by talking about my experience, it came by drawing close to Jesus and through forgiveness. Forgiving them and myself.

I am sure many reading this will think I sound trite and religious. After many years of suffering and not getting answers no matter how many rooms I sat in or how many hours of therapy I had or how many journals I’ve filled, I realized the answer to my pain and suffering was surrender and forgiveness.

The complete opposite of what this world will tell you. This world’s philosophy is to fight back, and shake our fists at whomever goes against what we think or believe.

There are times when justice needs to be served, and God will allow it. Not always though. When all is said and done, as believers, earth is not our home. The ultimate justice will be served when we stand before Jesus Christ and give an account for everything we have said and done.

 

Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Publisher:Algonquin Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Price: $17.67
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

Review

An American Marriage is a beautifully written story which I personally did not like. I know there has been a lot a buzz surrounding this book since Oprah choose it for her book club. However, I had a difficult time identifying and connecting with the characters in general.

There was one element besides the writing that I liked, and that was the premise or main theme of the story. It involved the main protagonist, Roy Jr. and his wrongful conviction of a crime he didn’t do.

Many a black man’s plight in America, being wrongfully convicted based on either the color of their skin and being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Ms. Jones does a great job highlighting this in An American Marriage.

To hear more of my thoughts on this book, please click here.

 

Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, she is spending the 2017-18 academic year as the Shearing Fellow for Distinguished Writers at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Update

I know… it’s been awhile.

So much has happened in the past twelve months between one thing or another. I have not been able to post much, and truthfully, I have not been up to it. But I wanted to update you… my dear subscribers.

I have been reading when I can, but not regularly. Nor am I reviewing books. However, I have been vlogging intermittently. You can feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you would like (please click here or you can  search for Pilar V. Arsenec to subscribe).

It’s been over a year now that I have been struggling with my health which has unfortunately disrupted my life in more than one way. This, mixed with several other things, has adversely affected me. It has been the grace of God and the prayers of the saints that has kept me afloat.

I can honestly say these past two years have been one of the most difficult times of my life. I am getting hit on all sides. No exaggeration.

But through it ALL, the Lord is teaching me about Him, and my faith is slowly growing stronger.

These verses have become real to me,

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

It has been a hard journey, but through the adversity, the Lord is revealing Himself to me in His Word. Not by any mystical experience, but just by the pure simplicity of the gospel.

As much as it has been an unpleasant time in my life, I do believe I would not have the understanding and discernment that I do now had I not gone through the furnace of affliction.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10)

Like the Apostle Paul, I am resigned to glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

So there you have it, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would appreciate your prayers. I pray all is well with you and your loved ones. God bless you. 

If Only For One Night by Victoria Christopher Murray & ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Publisher: Brown Girls Publishing
Price: $15.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Can they be soulmates if they’re married to other people? From the outside, Angelique has the perfect life – a rich husband who adores her and gives her the world, except for what she craves most – his attention. A workaholic, more concerned with his family’s financial situation than emotional stability, Preston doesn’t understand why his wife is so unhappy. Not one to stray, Angelique seeks comfort in the online game, Words With Friends. Blu has been living a life of loneliness since his wife settled into a depression she has no desire to shake. Frustrated and fed up, he loses himself in his favorite game – and the woman that has proven to be a formidable opponent. It’s not long before their online connection turns flirtatious and troubles at home lead them to a face-to-face meeting. And eventually an addictive connection that will have them questioning if they’re truly soulmates or if they were destined for only one night.

 

***Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/4YfS54ZbnB4***

Review

If Only For One Night was an interesting read. It was entertaining as well as challenging. I love reading fiction that makes you think. This story covers important topics such as marriage, love, soulmates, and mental illness, to name a few.

The story is about two married couples; Angelique and Preston, and Blu and Monica. Angelique loved her husband Preston, but paid more attention to his business than her. Blu loved his wife Angelique, but after having children, she was diagnosed with mental illness which negatively impacted their marriage.

Angelique and Blu were lonely and found solace playing an online game called, “Words With Friends.” It is there that they connected, flirted and eventually met in person.

Many things transpired after their initial meeting which kept you guessing. And, not for nothing, I did not see that ending coming. It was definitely a surprise.

I loved that it is clean fiction, and there is no profanity or graphic scenes. When someone is a good writer, all of that isn’t necessary to get the point across.

I am impressed by how the authors wove this story. The dynamic duo have a mean pen game and exceeded my expectations with, If Only For One NightI highly recommend it.

Please be sure to click on the above link and check out my vlog review, where I go into more details about the story.

Between them, National Bestselling and NAACP Award-Winning authors, ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray have more than two million books in print. The dynamic duo decided to combine their respective talents writing a number of books together, while maintaining their successful solo careers. Victoria, a former successful entrepreneur, also holds an MBA from New York University. ReShonda is a former TV journalist and marketing professional with over 25 years of experience.

 

 

Good Riddance 2017…

I don’t know about you, but this year was probably the most difficult one for me. I won’t get into the details, but suffice it to say, it was hard beyond words.

To be honest, I am a bit apprehensive about 2018.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

But, even though it was a tough year, there was still a lot to be thankful for. And three things come to mind: faith, family and friends.

Faith

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

I drew closer to God this year. I believe it was the hardship that brought me closer to Him. Which reminds me of this verse…

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10)

Our faith grows not when everything goes right or our way, but through suffering. Pain, loss, suffering helps us grow and mature as Christians. Pain certainly doesn’t feel good, but sometimes it is necessary for us to see things clearly and change our perspective and priorities in life.

Family

…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

One of the things I am most grateful for is my family and that we are serving the Lord together. I am also grateful for my family in Christ, the few close sisters who have stood by me and prayed for me.

Friends

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NLT)

A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NASB)

I have been blessed to know many people in my life, and to call them friends. However, this year has taught me who my real friends are.

First and foremost, it is Jesus Christ. Second, my husband, who has had a million excuses to leave, but chose to stay. He is my example of strength, character, integrity and tenacity in the face of difficulties, obstacles and opposition. He is loyal, committed and a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I realize that sometimes it takes falling and failing to distinguish truth from lies. To recognize who is actually for you, not just when the sun is shining, but when the sky is grey for days. The gift of being able to see beyond the smoke screens, fakes, phonies, and politically correct, the ones who only know how to smile in your face, and stab you in the back

I have had plenty of those kinds of friends. More than my fair share. But I thank God for all of them, my dear frenemies, because they taught me so much. So many valuable and priceless lessons. They have no idea how much they’ve served me.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result…” (Genesis 50:20 NASB)

When you are told so many lies… they begin to sound like the truth. Until the facade evaporates, and the ugly truth remains.

I’d rather know the hard truth than believe a bunch of lies. Those saccharine laced words, so sweet at first, leaving a nasty aftertaste. I thank God for delivering me from the web of deception, and for the pain I’ve endured at the hands of people I’ve cared about and loved, because I am no longer enslaved to them. I am free. Thank you, Jesus.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NASB)

This is my prayer for you:

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Happy New Year!

 

Why Is There So Much Evil?

Hello my friends,

I haven’t been blogging or vlogging much and the first video will explain why.

In the second video entitled “Does God Still Heal?,” I share some personal experiences which I hope blesses you.

Please feel free to subscribe to my channel and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

God bless you and thanks for watching.

Perennials by Julie Cantrell

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 14, 2017)
Price: $15.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

Eva Sutherland—known to all as Lovey—grew up safe and secure in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother’s stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries it caused, changed everything. Her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. Bitsy became the homecoming queen and the perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.

At eighteen, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona. Free from Bitsy’s vicious lies, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself. But at forty-five, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that led her here.

When her father calls insisting she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th anniversary, Lovey is at her wits’ end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, and there’s a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her father’s words, “Family First,” draw her back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.

Lovey is drawn in to a secret project—a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.

Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she’s returned, she’s realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.

* * * Vlog Review: ***

Review

I have read every single book written by this author, and I can attest that she is a very talented writer. Like I said in my vlog review above, Julie Cantrell happens to be one of my favorite writers. I loved reading and reviewing all of her books and Perennials was no exception.

Although I would not classify this book as Christian, Perennials is wholesome, with a meaningful message. If I had to some it up in a few words, I would say it is about love and forgiveness.

My favorite character is Eva, who is also referred to as Lovey. She is the main protagonist whom I liked and related to. This book may be fiction, but it spoke volumes to me about overcoming and starting over.

I was honored to receive an advanced copy of Perennials in exchange for an honest review. Please be sure to preorder your copy now. You won’t be disappointed.

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, Julie Cantrell is known for writing inspirational novels that explore the hard truths women typically keep secret. While she delves into emotional issues, she does so with a compassionate and open heart, always bringing readers through to a hopeful path for peace, empathy, and healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KJV Know The Word Study Bible

Paperback: 1824 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Price: $27.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

The KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Bible. You can choose to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic; each path offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God’s Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

Features Include:

  • King James Version Bible text
  • Three easy approaches to study the Bible: 1. Book by Book; 2. Verse by Verse; 3. Topic by Topic
  • Insightful introductions for each book of Scripture
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Beautiful two-color interior page design
  • Comprehensive list of theological notes
  • Concordance
  • Full-color maps
  • 8-point type size

Review

I love Bibles, and my favorite version is the King James Bible. So, I was eager to review Know The Word Study Bible.

The pros: I liked the book by book, verse by verse and topic by topic sections, and the fact that it is compact enough to carry around with you. My personal favorite is the Introduction and Notes.

The cons: The print is too small for me and I found it limited. What I mean by limited, is that it’s not like a Life Application Study Bible or ESV Study Bible.

Overall, I like the Know The Word Study Bible and would recommend it. It does offer more features than any other compact study bible I’ve seen. I believe this bible would work best for a new believer as it’s not too intimidating or overwhelming.

Disclaimer: I want to thank Litfuse Publishing Group for sending me a complimentary bible in exchange for an honest review.

Love Big Be Well by Winn Collier

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Eerdmans (October 27, 2017)
Price: $16.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description 

Jonas McAnn is a weary pastor without a congregation, trapped in a dead-end insurance job. Granby Presbyterian is a weary congregation without a pastor, overwhelmed by the prospect of finding someone who actually wants to be a pastor—not a manager, coach, or CEO.

When Granby’s pastoral search committee and Jonas connect through handwritten letters passed back and forth, something sparks between them—something so real and refreshing that even after Jonas and his family move to Granby, he continues the regular practice of writing letters to his congregation.

Spanning seven years of his ministry at Granby Presbyterian, Jonas’s letters ruminate on everything from fly-fishing to the Nicene Creed. They reveal the earthy spirituality woven into the joys and sorrows of the people of Granby, the community of the church, and Jonas’s own unfolding story.

Readers will discover what it means for a pastor and a church to do the slow work of ministry in community—anchored by a common place and buoyed by a life of faith that is meaningful, rooted, and true.

Review

Love Big Be Well is a beautiful little book full of letters from a pastor named Jonas to his congregation.

Can I keep it real with you? This book was so realistic I actually thought it was nonfiction.

Winn Collier writing is full of wisdom. The book makes you ponder the simple truths of life. Love Big Be Well touches on living as a Christian, but not in a preachy or in your face kind of way.

My favorite chapter is Conviction. I actually went to look it up a book title mentioned in this chapter on Amazon, but it does not exist. I hope Winn Collier considers writing “Dirt and Thunder.” Trust me, once you read this book, you will know what I mean and will want him to write it, too.

I honestly enjoyed Love Big Be Well, it had many gems to ruminate on. I look forward to reading more by this author. If you want to read a book that makes you slow down and see life differently, I highly recommend you read this book.

***Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book by publisher in exchanged for an honest review.***

Winn Collier is a pastor, columnist, and author of several books, including Holy Curiosity. With his wife, Miska, a spiritual director, and two sons, Collier lives in Virginia, where he serves the good people of All Souls Charlottesville. Collier holds a PhD from the University of Virginia, focused on the intersection of religion and literary fiction.

 

 

 

Why I Stopped Watching “Power”

Do you watch “Power” on Starz? I did. I got hooked when it first came out. I was fascinated by the story of a drug lord wanting out of the game.

They say anything 50 Cent touches turns to gold, and I have to say, he did good with this series, as far as viewership and money is concerned. I believe much of the story correlates to his humble beginnings on the streets of Southside Jamaica Queens, which is where he is from.

The first two seasons were great. Recently, I caught up with Season 3 and 4.

I am not sure if they hired a different writer, but I saw a change in Season 3. It was darker and more violent.

As a Christian, I struggled through the episodes, fast forwarding through the soft porn and violent scenes. All you see is a bunch of different characters being killed a variety of ways. It doesn’t take much genius or creativity to kill a bunch of characters off.

I wrote to “Power” directly and expressed my thoughts on the change. As artists, we have a responsibility for what we put out there for the masses to consume. Life is inundated with senseless killings and untimely deaths, must we then replicate it for television? Especially in this instance, where the youth who admire and emulate 50 Cent are watching?

There are famous rappers speaking out against drugs, guns and gang violence, but then we have those who don’t, who produce shows like “Power” which propagate and glorify it. I understand it is just a show, and it’s for entertainment, but unfortunately, art imitates life and life imitates art. As embellished as it may be, stories like “Power” happen in real life, which is why it can be written about in the first place. As I mentioned above, 50 Cent has input and plenty of material to pull from his own life.

The only thing I liked about Season 4 was the scene where Kanan (50 Cent), who is a stone cold killer, develops genuine feelings for Tariq (Ghost’s son), who he was going to kill to get back at Ghost. That was about it, the rest was a disappointment. “Power” went from being unique and well-written, to being a vehicle of exploitation, violence and greed.

Listen, I am all for truth and good stories, but there is a fine line being crossed, when it’s riddled with sex, murder, and violence. We wonder why our society is disintegrating, and our youth are becoming more disrespectful. The reason is because what our society is ingesting. You are what you eat. If you are only ingesting garbage, then that’s what is going to come out.

The Bible says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Whomever we associate with rubs off on us, whether good or bad. It can come by way of what we read and watch, too.

Gang violence, bullying, cyber bullying, disrespect, bad attitudes, suicides… are part of the framework. The only ones untouched are those who produce shows like “Power,” and are afforded the ability to be insulated from that reality.

At a certain point, we must ask ourselves, is writing and producing shows like “Power” necessary? The visuals that multitudes ingest weekly, don’t go away. There must be accountability. Greed can not override responsibility. As artists we must be concerned with what we are putting out there and how it is going to affect the minds of impressionable youth; our future generation.

As a believer, I had to take a step back and look at it from a spiritual standpoint. How is watching fornication and murder going to benefit our broken society? We blame our government, our President, but as artists, we are just as responsible for what is happening around us, by what we contribute and produce to feed millions of viewers by way of flat screen televisions across America.

Those who write books, produce television programs and make movies have a greater responsibility. We as artists owe it to our youth to produce substance. What we make or produce directly affects the climate of our society.

We have a choice to make. I made one. I am no longer going to partake in watching senseless violence. As an artist, there are ways of conveying things without being graphic, explicit or violent.

As much as I loved “Power,” I will no longer be watching it. I won’t judge those who do, as it is a personal decision. But I’m afraid if we continue moving in the same direction, things will only get worse.

Artists have the privilege of using their gifts which God blessed them with as a way to inspire and motivate change in our society. We are the voice. Change begins with us.