All Articles Tagged "judging"
Does gospel get a bad rap?
If you grew up in a “praying house,” as some call it, chances are you were required to go to church all the time – probably three times during the week and all day on Sunday. At home, the Bible may have been centrally located and the gospel music playing was a constant. Your parents and grandparents played all the goodies like Shirley Caesar, Mississippi Mass Choir, Mahalia Jackson (if you really want to take it back) and James Cleveland – they were the real music stars. So it was church and gospel music. That’s all there was back in the day. That’s it.
But that was then.
Today, gospel is a booming business that goes way beyond praising God in song. Many artists are doing reality shows, making songs that sound really close to secular music and other becoming involved in other business ventures that some may consider attempts to be more mainstream. It’s almost become a gift and a curse.
When it was first revealed that Mary Mary would be getting their own reality show early last year, I admit to being one of the people staunchly opposed to the entire idea. Like, of course, Mary Mary are really just two women who lead very regular lives outside of music but as they are gospel artists, I was nervous about how much they would show of their lives. I, like many others, were worried they’d be “ungodly” in their personal lives and it would turn me off. Sure, I was prejudging them and as judgment is a part of life (despite what many of us might say), I don’t really apologize for it. As it turns out, the show isn’t that bad (aside from the occasional very “angry” moment from one of the sisters) and I enjoy watching. They’ll be on season three soon so I guess so does everyone else.
The music is becoming a little more “interesting” as well. While many of us who know and sometimes enjoy gospel music may recall it being traditional – mostly slow and literally almost just like church – in its sound, a lot of today’s music is quite…hip. Kirk Franklin led that wave in the late 90s with “Stomp.” Artists like Mary Mary, Tye Tribbett and others are continuing the trend. While these artists are continuing to deliver “the word” in song, some feel they’ve gotten too secular (if you recall, “God In Me sounded a lot like “Blame It On The Alcohol”). New artist Lecrae (who actually won a Grammy earlier this year) is a young gospel rapper – and a great one, at that – who grew up with hip-hop music did not initially “know God.” He surrounded himself with a party lifestyle full of drugs, alcohol and women. He finally had an epiphany of sorts and decided to turn his life over to God. But he raps; should he not be allowed to perform his praise in the way he knows how?
The question becomes: Is today’s Gospel just getting bad rap? Are people too uptight and caught up in what gospel artists “should” be? If you think about it, a lot of these artists grew up in not only a hip hop era, but also a media based one. They’re gospel singers, not blind singers who don’t know what’s happening outside of their genre. Shouldn’t they have a right to express themselves in a way they see fit without being disrespectful to their message? It seems like many people who are familiar with gospel would like to see it stay in this “box” that’s full of choir robes and hymns. Admittedly, I’m a person who likes gospel music in spurts and am fairly conservative in what I like. But as I recently watched an episode of “The Sheards” while wondering why they would even bother with reality television, I thought, “They have a right to show their lives too. Stop being so critical.” It may not stop me in full from being critical but I’ll watch with more openness.
Gospel artists seemingly will never catch a break unless they stick to this mold of only singing and speaking about God, heaven and the like. Perhaps that’s too much responsibility and as we know, you can’t please everyone.
What do you think? Are people too hard on the gospel artists or should some gospel artists be more mindful of the product their releasing?
A few years ago I found myself perusing a friend’s Facebook photo album when I noticed one of her attractive sorority sisters. I did what most men do, I asked my friend to arrange an introduction. I thought nothing of it at the time, but a simple question, “Why is she single?” turned into the inevitable end of my interest. My friend explained that she had been in an on-and-off again situation with a man for the last two years. She ended with, “Thank God!” Her response raised a flag with me, I asked a few more questions until she shot back at me, “He was just very controlling and jealous.”
My reply: “That’s okay, not interested.”
I knew it was wrong to pass judgment on dating her because she spent two years in a relationship with an emotionally abusive partner, but I knew I’d always keep going back to that past experience of hers. I wasn’t able to understand what would make a person endure that behavior for so long. I concluded that she needed time to grow before I could ever consider dating her.
Now that the secret is out, I’ll admit to women that men definitely take into consideration the past of our potential partners. At times, it’s a good thing to know that you’re in good company and at other times, a questionable ex could be a sign of character flaws that are easily hidden during the courting phase. Below, I categorize a woman’s past partners into five categories and the negative impact it can have on you as as a potential partner.
1. The Control Freak feels a need to always exert control over their significant others. As I stated above, I have never been able to understand why someone would endure this behavior. Perhaps, they have a secret desire to be submissive or fear being placed in the position of a decision maker. Men don’t ask their women to be combative or argumentative. We just like to know that she has her own wants and desires and the backbone to be heard.
2. The Doormat allows himself to be placed in the submissive position of his significant other, always electing her needs while compromising all of his. When a man notices a woman has The Doormat in her relationship history he recognizes her almost immediately as, “High Maintenance.” It makes you question the character of the woman who takes advantage of the weak. It’s the epitome of “kicking them while they’re down.”
3. The Greeks called Adonis, the god of Beauty and Desire. From head to toe, Adonis makes her mouth water. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all he brings to the table. Depending on how long you choose to stay with a man like Adonis, it can be an indicator of how many of your expectations you are willing to sacrifice for good looks. Men have been known to date airheads solely on the basis of looks. It’s never been good for them, it’s never going to be good for women either.
4. The Outlier is the man who resembles none of the men a woman dated in her past. The Outlier strikes everyone as odd, he’s the one her friends refer to as, “I don’t know what she was thinking with him.” However, The Outlier is almost always an act of desperation. Acts of desperation are strong indicators of a person’s propensity to quit when things get tough or seem impossible to accomplish. Men want women who identify goals and achieve them.
5. Men are taught to beware of the The One That Got Away. Chances are she’s still in love with him. All of these situations didn’t end in cheating or some huge blowout. Sometimes, it was just bad timing and looking back on it, she realizes she would have been better off if they had worked things out. Men fear The One That Got Away because he’ll likely be lingering around forever, causing us to wonder if he’ll ever reappear.
There is an outside chance that a woman’s ex does not fall into these categories. It makes men wonder why they still aren’t together anymore. If they don’t fall into these five categories, chances are they just weren’t compatible. That’s fair, I’ve always felt that it’s possible for two great people to meet, date, and later on realize that there is no emotional or romantic connection there. Those people typically part as friends, no harm, no foul. However, women must beware of the exes that reveal negative traits or flaws in their character. It’s an opportunity for growth and reflection, but unattended it’s a recipe for disaster in your next relationship.
Dr. J is a writer for the men’s blog Single Black Male. Dr. J’s inspiration and motivation for writing comes from a desire to provide real and honest advice to all. His approach is no nonsense and rarely sugarcoated. Follow him on twitter @DrJayJack.
“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Do you think more highly of yourself than you should? Are you the girl who’s always right? Or the brutally honest friend full of judgment and unwanted advice?
Many of us have jaded views of ourselves, because our personal truths are rooted more deeply in opinion than reality. It’s not you, it’s them. No, wait…it is you. We tend to think of ourselves as the people we want to be when, in many instances, that is not how people see us. Self-deception is the worst kind and it only prevents you from operating at your best. In order to live life authentically and to the fullest, we have to be honest with the woman in the mirror: