Healing broken relationships and building better lives – ClydeStyle.

I’m thankful for…

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.

This has always been a sore spot for me ever since my second year of high school. That’s the time that I learned about the betrayal and almost destruction of an entire race of people at the hands of the Pilgrims.

Since that time, I’ve learn to find good in a day marked to celebrate their evil. Thanksgiving is somewhat like the Trojan horse. Both involved a festive occasion marred by betrayal and a massacre.

But there is hope.

Instead of thinking about the historic events that make this holiday ugly, I choose to be thankful.

I am thankful that I knew to make the most of my opportunities.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have circumstances like abuse, grief, drugs or poverty to hinder me from seeing the potential in myself.

I’m thankful for all the people who are close to me. I’m thankful for their love and understanding. I’m thankful for their friendship and kindness. And mostly I’m thankful that these people formed a hedge around me to ensure that I  knew I was loved and shielded from hurt.

I’m thankful for my parents. I am what I am because of the parents I have. And even though they were not perfect, they turned me into the best me I could be.

I’m thankful for my race. Despite the tragedy and racism that still takes place, I am proud of the contributions of my race, the rich tradition of the African culture and our resilience. I still pray that more African Americans will come to know this truth. #cutitoutFerguson

I am thankful to everyone who has ever disciplined me. I needed it and I realize how evil it is for others to go around not disciplining those in their scope of influence. Every child needs discipline and one of the problems in our school systems is that they lack discipline.

I’m thankful to every man that has been or who is currently in my life. You have taught me about a very diverse brotherhood that I am thankful for. The closeness, intimacy and trust we share has made me the strong heterosexual man I am today. I am blessed to be able to draw from brothers who are White, Indian, Cuban, German and Black.

I’m especially thankful for every woman who has ever built a relationship with me. You taught me love and respect the right way and made me less of a dog. I learned how to be intimate without having sex and I learned to appreciate beauty.

I am very thankful for the three children I have. They are all little models of me. I’m learning so much from them. They make me a better man.

I’ve saved the best for last. I am most thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. All of who I am and who I hope to be rests in Him. Christ, you represent all for me and I love you with every inch of who I am.

Please take time to share your thanks with the people who have earned it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

God’s eyes

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where we always saw eachother through God‘s eyes? Can you imagine it? Having the ability to look past our faults so that we can see what we can become. God tips the potential scale in us all because whatever we are today, God can make us far better tomorrow.

You ever wonder how he does that? I mean how does the creator of the universe look past our faults? Do you think it bothers him to see us as a fallen creature? Do you think he gets tired of taking the high road and suffering certain things to be so in order to bring about his end? When God said he “so loved” the world. He really meant it!

The bible tells us that it was while we were yet sinners, Christ died (Rom. 5:8). That means that in the midst of our sins and at our weakest point, we deserved death, but God sent his son to die instead. When God created “justice” he knew what he was doing. God would not allow justice to be violated by his love for us. Justice demanded death to the guilty and our God satisfied both — Justice got it’s death, we got our salvation and grace and mercy was born.

Because of this, the New Testament writers remind us of what God did as a method of encouraging us to return the favor. God expects our appreciation for what he has done to show in our actions towards one another. God wants us to look beyond someone’s faults and not only see them for what they can become, but start treating and helping them reach that potential.

It’s easy to hold grudges, keep a record of wrongdoings and alienate someone from your life, but it is the true worshipper who has the eyes of God.

Members one of another

The body of Christ is just that: Christ‘s body. And as we have been added to his body, this becomes the framework of how we treat one another. In 1 Cor. 12:12-27, the bible teaches how as the Church we are connected to each other literally comparing us to a physical body. I believe this is the secret to understanding the true fellowship we are supposed to have.

You see, God expects that we will operate like an organism and not an organization. In an organization we show up to meetings, we pay our dues and we abide by the rules of the organization. This is how some churches have decided to teach fellowship. In this model, we are not connected as members one of another, but we have become an organization that does not use righteous judgment. These are virtually man-made groups.

The body of Christ is an organism. This organism has three distinct characteristics that separate it from the organizations that we see in the name of religion. Christ’s body is unified. Eph. 4:3-7 not only tells us to try to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, but it also tells us of the oneness in Christ as there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God.

Christ’s body is not a respecter of persons and neither is God. This means that there are no BIG I’s and little u’s in the Lord’s church. There should be no preferring one over another, but loving the body as Christ loved us. We were even instructed to Love each other this way as proof that we are disciples of Christ (John 13:34, 35).

In addition to unity and equality, the body of Christ is dependant on each other. My thumb cannot decide that it will not work with my fingers any longer. My hands cannot decided that they want to be feet all of a sudden. And my neck cannot decided to go on strike and not lift up or turn my head. God intended that his church members would be dependant on each other. We should be able to count on each other. There should be no doubt as to our loyalty, love, lifestyle and learning. The church should be more than just a form of Godliness. We should be ever learning and coming into the knowledge of the truth.

We need to take self-examination of the Church where we attend. If it is the body of Christ then unity, equality and dependability will be abundant. If it is worldly then it will be nothing more than an organization.

Remember Jesus said that you would know them by the fruit they bear!

What if there were no mistakes?

When I review my life, I see many colors. Colors which represent the good and the bad. All the good things about my life are the very bright colors – things like the success stories I have, fears I have conquered or the birth of my three children. And then there are the dark colors – things that I regret doing, saying, and falling for. The dark colors represent the times when I was a sucker. They are blemishes that prove I’m not perfect.

I had a thought while I did this review: What if everything that has happened to me was not an accident or a mistake? What if the things that happened to me were my destiny and that a higher power had purposed and set some things in motion to bring me to a certain point? What if the words “accident” and “mistake” were all part of a big conspiracy to make us believe that we had a level of control we don’t really have?

I heard an atheist say once that God, the creator of the universe, was no more than an imaginary friend who we created because we were scared of death and the unknown. He said that everything that has happened was going to happen anyway and because of fear, we invented religion. Religion then gives us something to do when we’re scared.

I believe that there is some truth to what my atheist friend has said.

The truth is that I believe, we have been allowed to believe, that there are accidents and mistakes so as to point blame when something happens. This is not to be confused with things that we cause to happen that were not accidents. For example, another friend of mine lost his job. He started off telling me that his racist boss finally got rid of him. I asked what happened and he said that they made him take a random drug test and the marijuana he smoked last weekend was still in his system. Trying to keep from laughing I said, “So how does this make your boss racist?”

You can probably figure out the rest of the conversation. My friend lost his job because he was careless with it. Smoking illegal substances is a quick way to get fired from most jobs – especially in our economy. Not that it is impossible for his boss to be a racist – it’s still a challenge we face in the 21st century. But even with this scenario, there was a deeper reason – other than stupidity – for him losing his job. When we lose things, there is a lesson in that. For my friend, the lesson was responsibility. More than anything else, he needs to be more responsible. He needs to take responsibility for his actions and stop blaming others. Blaming others is a diversion from learning the personal lessons.

What I want you to see is the beauty of trials and tribulations. I want you to understand the other side of a mistake. The point is that if we take away the concept of a mistake, then we would be clear to see the true destiny in the trial and we could “count it all joy.”

Remember the old record players that required a needle to play the vinyl records? If you are old enough to remember them, you will also remember that sometimes the needle would skip. A CD player will sometimes skip too. And in both cases we would know that either the player or the record or CD needs cleaning. Could I say that the CD or record player made a mistake? Think about it before you answer. Was there a mistake made or is the “skip” just a by-product of usage?

We don’t call it a mistake because we accept that things won’t work properly sometimes and we move on. Why can we not do this with our own mistakes?

I remember years ago when I left one research company to work for another one. The one I was going to was paying me 15K more to leave. I felt unappreciated at the current place, so I left. I worked for this new company for 19 months. I signed off on the construction of the building, I purchased all of the furniture and hired all 44 employees and set this research company up to run like a well-oiled machine. Once that was done, they let me go and hired another person with very little management experience. I have to say, looking back on the experience, that when they let me go it was one of the best things that happened to me. At the time, I thought I made a mistake leaving the other company. I shudder to think that I could still be at that other company, complacent, underpaid and miserable.

It would have been great if I could have taken the word “mistake” out of my vocabulary and automatically thought about the scripture in Romans 8:28.

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Fixing the disconnect

We have a disconnect between what we know of God and what we see in this world.

All who say they believe in God would believe that all things are possible in him. We would say that God is the creator and controller of the universe. We would agree that God had no limitations.

But almost in the same breath, we will look at circumstances in our lives and we will doubt, fear and totally give up when faced with great diversity.

Equally problematic is that we who are finite speak of things sometimes as if we were infinite. We say how we think things are supposed to be. We strong arm people to conform to our way and we act as though we are in charge.

Well, the only way to remedy this is to surrender what little control we think we have and trust in the almighty.

If I believe that the living God is the creator of the universe and the savior of the world, then there should be a level of trust to match the level of belief I have.

We all need to ask ourselves if we really trust God the way we claim to? We need to ask the follow-up question of do we believe what we know of him?

If we do, then we need to take action. Now. We need to live what we believe and not waste any more time with fear and doubt.

Let’s trust God! It will make the rest of this year a whole lot better and much more prosperous!

What Labor Day is all about

For most of my life, Labor Day was the closing of the weekend that I watched the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon and wanted to see how much money was raised. I had no clue as to what Labor Day really was about or how it got started so I decided to see what the United States Department of Labor had to say about it. This department is led by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

The department of labor says, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

“The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.”

This celebration is supposed to be honoring our country’s labor achievements. In the 40 years I have been aware of this holiday I never knew what it was for. I don’t recall us doing anything to celebrate working, except by taking the day off which seems like an oxymoron to me.

This reminds me of the Martin Luther King holiday. I disagree with children having the day off from school. I would think Dr. King would want more learning on this day. What if in celebration of Dr. King’s commitment to excellence, why not have a marathon of learning. Or even have academic challenges where kids can earn bonds for scholarships. Or maybe it’s a day where the kids who excel in school assist those students who have trouble. Having no class for the King holiday proves we have no class.

Back to labor day:

I think on this day we should have a rally and an incredibly large career fair for those who are unemployed. Maybe we should also have the working class donate professional clothing, resources and their time to spend giving advice to those who are not working. I don’t have the greatest ideas, but I just think we could be doing more with this day. Labor Day could be so much more than it is. Maybe the only telethon on this weekend should be a fundraiser to replace the money given out by each state for unemployment or aid for those not working.

I love the scene in the movie Cinderella Man where the main character is shown giving money back to the welfare office because he didn’t want to have to take the aid anyway. What if this was happening all across the country as people got jobs, they thought to pay some part of the money they received back. This to me is what Labor Day should be about.

The modern miracle of love

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Love has got to be one of the most misused words in our language. It’s been so watered down that we use it for like, lust, greed (as in I would love to have that car or that purse or those shoes), and definitely religious practices.

The scriptures say for us to love one another. It’s not a suggestion. Love one another for love is of God. This means whoever loves is born of and knows God (1 john 4:7).

The same chapter in 1 John gives you the converse and the conditions thereof. If you don’t love, you do not know God for God is love.

If this is to be understood correctly, one must take from this that the result of your encounter with God would give you this quality forever. You would exercise love simply because you now know God and have been born of him.

Please understand that if every so-called church today really loved as this scripture in 1 John 4 teaches, they wouldn’t have the room to hold the amount of people that would come.

Your greatest modern day miracle is your ability to love. Not raise the dead or speak in tongues or heal anyone. First Corinthians 13 says the greatest (of these gifts) is love.

Therefore, we help unconditionally, we never meet strangers and we put expectations only on ourselves.

All we need to do is love like God loves and we’ll change the world.

Can you guess why I told you this?

I get by with a little help from my friends

Everybody needs a friend.

The word friend comes from the Old English word “Freond” and it means to love or to favor. This beautiful word has become so watered down as with the very loose interpretation found on Facebook. In 2005 Facebook coined the phrase ” to friend someone” changing our noun to a verb and look what happened. The word has lost its power. It’s lost its spunk! It’s lost its vitality!! Now this generation goes around calling anyone who walks around bipedal a friend. It seems Facebook has given insecure people a venue to prove their self-worth. They say with a smile, “I have 1000 friends on Facebook!”


We don’t know it, but we are being robbed of one of the most powerful bonds of our day. Take away the true meaning of the word friend and what kind of place would this world be? Every Fred needs a Barney. Every Lucy needs an Ethel. Every Burt needs an Ernie. Secrets are shared among friends. Loneliness can be destroyed by a good friend. True friends don’t allow suicides. Who else could tell you that you are wrong? True friendship breathes honesty, integrity, truth, solidarity and true love. We truly get by with a little help from our friends.

A true friend can look at you and you know what that look means. Friends allow us to be ourselves when the rest of the world says we can’t. Friends give us a sense of belonging. Friends make us feel like someone gives a damn about us.

So you see, contrary to Facebook’s zeal for the word only, I’m attempting to show you a more excellent way. I’ve noticed that instead of having tons of “friends” online, I have a close circle of people, who I can count on one hand, that I know will run through a fire for me. It’s through that circle that we’ve created trust. My closest friends only know of each other through me. They are not friends, but will do things for each other at my request. To have money, cars, support and love at my disposal whenever I need it is what true friendship means to me. And the coolest thing about it is that I get to reciprocate.

I get to be there when they need me. I get to rush to the bank when they need money. I get to tell them the truth when no one else will. I get to make sure they never spend a birthday alone or never have to worry about being homeless. Their children don’t have to worry about what if something happened to mommy or daddy.

We see this type of camaraderie among police officers, gang-bangers, sports teams,wise guys and military troops. We need a few more folks in the world willing to step up and be a true friend and not a foe. If you don’t know friendship like this, you must investigate why and I promise you will learn something very important about yourself.

Here’s to friendship! May everyone have the chance to experience its purity, truthfulness and honor like I do. So to my bosom buddies, chums, companions, comrades, consorts, partners and soul mates … well, you know.

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