Why Your Worldview is Crucial to Surviving Trump

trump, christians, worldview

In the book Prevailing Worldviews of Western Society Since 1500, Dr. Glenn R. Martin wrote, “It is apparent, moreover, from a historical perspective that, at any given point in time, a relatively small number of people are the prime movers in the affairs. That is, there are only a relatively small number of people who consciously know what they believe and why in contrast to what they do not believe and why. (Most who appear to be leaders today have not thought through what they believe and why but are, rather, trying to put into practice what they have been taught by those few who have done so.)” In theory, those who lead the masses should have a well developed worldview. After all, those who actually run the show from behind the scenes are completely firm in their beliefs. Therefore, public leaders should have similar foundational beliefs and principles.

So why does it seem like leaders in the public eye do not have as much of a solid foundation of beliefs? Some would say that most leaders are motivated by money, making them fluid and willing to go along with whatever ideology will pay them. Others will say that some leaders only seek the illusion of power with no inclination to develop a moral code. Incoming President Donald Trump appears to be one of those leaders who doesn’t have much of a strict worldview, but he may also surprise. Trump seems to have the worldview of a businessman, which tends to be all about materialism, the human will, and infinite growth. While this mindset is appealing to many, it’s not always practical or realistic. Knowing where you stand in life and what your worldview is will be key to surviving the next 8 years under the Trump Administration.

What is a worldview

Whether you believe in a higher power or not, you have contemplated the origins of life and the universe at some point. From there you determined your beliefs on God, or the lack thereof, and what it means for your life. Without knowing it, you have begun the process of developing your worldview. A worldview is made up of four components and their corresponding questions for contemplation:

1. Ontology (Being) – What is the origin of life and the universe? How did we come to be?

2. Epistemology (Knowing) – How do we know this? Science? Spirituality? Biblical revelation? Extraterrestrial contact?

3. Axiology (Value) – What, if anything, is the ultimate value? God? Man? Gnosis?

4. Teleology (Destiny, direction, and purpose) – Why are we here? Where are we going? What is the purpose of life?

While coaches and churches sell you on finding your purpose by answering these questions for you, it is important that you take a step back and seek answers for yourself. Developing your worldview develops your self-confidence, self-awareness, and gives you direction on what your true purpose is in this world.

Using the worldview for survival

Preppers and conspiracy theorists have the worldview that everything came from God, we know this through revelation, we are supposed to be valued in relation to God but the powers that be oppress the masses because of greed, and the end times are upon us, so we all must prepare for the final battle of armageddon. There are surely some conservative Christians who have the same worldview with some variation, but the future includes the rapture or faith that God will provide no matter what. The materialist atheist worldview maintains that all came from nothing, we know this through science and education, we are valued through evolutionary advancement, and the future will consist of the strongest and fittest for survival.

The Trump administration will challenge the worldview of all of us. Christian conservatives have to engage in deep introspection to confirm whether or not the coming actions of the administration truly align with their faith and moral beliefs. Already, we have seen senate Republicans be hesitant on their willingness to repeal Obamacare. Democrats will have to decide on how much they are willing to compromise in order to get things done in congress or if they will attempt to create a gridlock similar to what the Republicans created over the last 8 years. To go high or to go low? That is the question. The ultimate decision boils down to the act of living up to one’s worldview. Will Christians really seek to come together and be Christlike? Will Republicans keep programs that support the constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Will Democrats go high and be inclusive in the congressional work, seeking to only oppose injustices to the citizenry at large?

As for citizens, President-elect Donald Trump is a polarizing character that spawns heated debates in families and social networks alike. His win has brought out the worst in people, but has his win challenged your worldview? Will his administration cause you to lose faith in what you believe in? Will the resurgence of the worst parts of America’s past lead you to go against your morals, character, and vision for the future generations of mankind? Develop and examine your own worldview in depth, live up to it, and never back down.

The Unorthodox Future of America as a Superpower

american religiosityIn 14 days, Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America. This will be the first time since 1928 that the Republican party will hold the Presidency, the House, and the Senate — a historical time indeed. So what does this mean for American exceptionalism on the world stage? To domestic Evangelicals, who tend to be staunch conservatives, this is a time to rejoice, as God has taken back the land that was once dedicated to Him and His precepts. However, the world is not as pleased or impressed with the outcome of the election, except for Vladimir Putin, that is.

Most countries, especially those with multitudes of citizens who have migrated to the United States, see America as a secular nation based on reason. They see America as a country that has historical links to the Christian faith but has never been a complete theocratic society based on Christian rule. America is a country that was founded for all faiths to flourish and prosper so a virtuous nation could stand the test of time through high morals and integrity. However, with the recent wars and the recent election, America has lost credibility as a nation that sets the example and leads the way.

The best way for America to maintain any sense of integrity is for the population to become open to being a religious pluralist nation that legally focuses on the rule of law and the rights of all citizens. This may prove to be a difficult feat for the country, as the Christian conservative base who sees the least has made sure to scream the loudest and win the election. Now, their representatives have already made strides in reversing important, progressive legislation such as Obamacare. This week, the Senate voted with results of 51-48 in favor of repealing Obamacare. This is a move that will restore pre-existing conditions for insurance companies to discriminate against and cancel healthcare for millions of citizens. One must contemplate how such an action can be in alignment with that of a righteous, generous, faithful Christian mindset. How can America continue as a leading superpower when it has a government that claims to be a virtuous union operating under separation of church and state, and yet allows religious fundamentalists to take over the government and enact policies that are contrary to the foundation of their beliefs?

America is quickly becoming an unexceptional nation. As foreign nations develop constitutions and make room for religious freedom in the face of American Islamophobia and widespread discrimination, America can no longer claim to be a beacon of light and the city upon a hill that leads the way to the kingdom of God. The widespread discrimination and hatred in this country completely discredit the theory of American Exceptionalism. Only radical change in the American paradigm can save the reputation of this country. Only an unorthodox approach to life and government can move the country forward in a positive direction.

America’s religiosity was once a noble cause and admirable success story. Now it is the country’s downfall. Read my latest paper on American Religiosity and the future of America as a beacon of light on the world stage. You can download your copy here.

Demons and Medicine: The Social Problem of Mental Illness

religion and mental illness

What I enjoy most about my studies at Liberty University is the opportunity to fully flesh out and express my spiritual worldview in conjunction with practical realities and social issues. Majoring in Government – Politics and Policy, has challenged me to explore real solutions to the everyday problems that manifest in the streets and in our homes. For one of my classes, Social Problems, I was challenged to write a research paper on a particular social problem of interest.  I chose the social problem of mental illness.

Mental illness is a commonly controversial topic. From conspiracy theories of doctors acting in collusion with pharmaceutical companies to social communities flat out seeing mental illness as a stigma of weakness, it is hard to find common ground on the issue that will lead to proactive and productive movements to bring the social problem under control. My intent with this paper was to go into the darkness of the mentally ill world, find sources of the ailment, and explore solutions. In my paper, I explored the spiritual and practical sources of mental illness including demonic possession, traumatic childhood experiences, and children in the care of adults suffering from substance abuse. Researched treatments include exorcism, spiritual counseling, and professional medical treatment. Also researched was the implementation of public programs — mainly conducted in European countries — that seek to reduce the effects of mental illness through changing the social stigma — the collective consciousness of mental illness.

What I learned from this assignment was the effort by religious communities, sociologists, and psychologists when taking on the social problem of mental illness. While Pentecostal Christians seek to keep their diagnoses and treatments within the church, Jewish Rabbis and Muslim Imams incorporate more worldly understanding of the sources of mental illness in balance with spiritual influences, suggesting professional medical treatment as an option when appropriate. Sociologists and psychologists are working with marketing groups to launch campaigns that change the stigma of mental illness and promote a new collective mindset based on “social desirability”, which influences a socially acceptable form of human decency when it comes to mental illness.

As this paper will show, when we change the collective consciousness about the various social problems of the world, from mental illness to human trafficking, we will reduce the stigma of many social problems. This reduction of stigma will lead to the empowerment of the suffering, giving them the space and courage to seek treatment and healing. Everything in life starts with the mind, and solving the many social problems of today will depend upon how we can influence the collective consciousness of mankind.

You can download and read the PDF version of this paper here. The assignment required incorporation of scripture and a biblical worldview, but my personal, spiritual beliefs transcend basic, literal biblical interpretation by far. For anyone who is curious, I received 100% credit/grade on this work.

Why the Spiritual Community Should Engage Social and Political Issues

intersection-of-spirituality-and-politicsOver the years, there has been a debate in the spiritual community about whether or not one should engage in discussions about politics and controversial social issues. The consensus among many in the spiritual community is that engaging these issues “lowers you vibration” and takes the mind away from the importance of personal, spiritual growth. It was widely assumed and taken for granted that the law of attraction is a magical principle that will automatically change the earth, and if one simply meditates and only focuses on spiritual things, then the world will simply transmute itself due to our continued meditation and incessant positive thinking. The recent U.S. election has proven such thinking to be inadequate and served as a huge wake up call for the spiritual community. Now, more spiritual teachers are coming to understand that being involved with everyday issues and discussing these “taboo topics” are actually needed to bring about world progress. Real change takes real work, and that work is often grueling, controversial, and filled with shadows.

Run Away and Namaste’

It seems as if the New Age, spiritual community has been promoting putting one’s head in the sand as a way to enlightenment and righteousness. Don’t get me wrong, personal and spiritual growth are important, but if the goal is to make change in the world and bring about the utopian society that we all desire — to a point — then the spiritual community has to get real.  The luxuries of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have made some people self-absorbed and unconscious of the world around them. So many have followed empty pseudo-philosophies about making world change through mediation, online courses, and talking about ancient history without bringing it all into context with the real world today. Politics and social issues equally influence the collective consciousness as the alternate realities of spirits and metaphysics. We cannot outrun the shadow aspect of society. As within, so without. If personal change comes from facing the inner shadow, then societal change will come through facing the collective shadow.

Overcoming Dangerous Delusion

It is unrealistic to believe that change will come without hard work in the physical world. For some reason, it seems like the spiritual community mystifies processes that are actually very mundane in practice. There is so much focus on the mind that followers have the potential to be mislead into believing that no physical work has to be done. All things work best in balance and moderation. It is important to retrain the mind in thought patterns and belief systems, but it is equally important to do physical work in making changes in the outer world.

After training the mind to believe that things can change, there are good people in the world, and love is the key to moving things toward the utopian age, you must then develop a practical worldview. Your worldview leads to the development of your philosophy, and then you can learn to live the philosophy through taking on projects that are in alignment with one’s worldview and philosophy. After the thought, there must be a will. With the will, you can change the thoughts. When the balance of active thought meets active will, physical action can then manifest to create new realities on the material plane.

Making the Change

The spiritual community is at a great advantage in bringing about the utopian age. Millions of people all over the world are awakening to the metaphysical aspects of life and actively engaging what appears to be magic to the unconscious mind. Taking this position of leadership in pioneering the evolution of consciousness must be applied to the political world and humanitarian issues. Conscious thought influencing public policy will lead to a greater movement to bring forth a time of peace, truth, and conflict resolution.

The meditation groups, conferences, and online courses will help us to develop our intuition, evolve our mental capacities, and make important contacts to support the collective effort to not only transmute consciousness on the metaphysical plane but also bring about tangible change in the physical world. As we network and learn from each other, we will then develop action plans to start projects that move consciousness evolution into the mainstream where news is truthful, laws are conscious, and society works towards peace. Come down from the throne of light and illuminate the darkness of the mundane world!

 

Cicily Janus: Documenting Her Last Days

 

Credit: Cicily Janus Facebook page

Credit: Cicily Janus Facebook page

It  was February 2013 and I was doing my usual social media promotion of a blog post I had written. I was growing my audience slowly but surely and receiving plenty of positive feedback from my readers. Then I got a direct message from someone with the name @jazzwriterchick. The message read, “Call me 719-***-****.” That was it, and I had no idea why she would want me to call her. I replied asking why I should and received no response. Then it hit me: important people willing to give you an opportunity don’t have time to explain things to you. When they tell you to show up, you just do it. So I called her. I recall her telling me that she was a literary agent and the job entailed scouring through blogs to find quality writers to offer opportunities to. I remember her remarks about my works, “Your words.. Your words and the way you use them.” She was impressed to find such creative skill in the mucky swamp of blogs. She asked me if I had any manuscripts ready, and I had to be honest and say no. I could hear the disappointment as she sighed, as she was ready to pitch my work and get me a 6-figure book deal somewhere. She gave me a few tips on what is required of a non-fiction book and told me to keep in touch as I put something together.

Connecting with Cicily Janus

The literary agent that found me on Twitter was Cicily Janus, Random House author of the best-selling book, The New Face of Jazz. To this day I can kick myself for not believing in my talents enough to focus on a manuscript. Since that time, I have continued to write and blog. I also remained in contact with Cicily via email and social media, gaining more advice and feedback as I worked on my growth as a writer. I greatly enjoyed reading her Facebook posts and keeping up with the inspiring musings of a successful writer and literary agent. Then, in 2015, her tone began to change. She posted more and more about being in the hospital and her frustration with being unable to work. At first I thought it was just a chronic condition that she would bounce back from, but her tone began to become more ominous over time.

Documenting her last days

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Credit: Cicily Janus Facebook page

Eventually it became more clear what Cicily was going through. She was fighting a hard battle against cancer. Her posts became more journaling of contemplating death; the mission to live life with passion and vigor before a painful demise; and leaving behind love, a strong legacy, and guidance for her daughters. She utilized Facebook live video and traditional written posts to communicate the final adventures and thoughts of her life, sharing inspiring and emotional content for her friends, family, colleagues, and fans to engage as she made her way to the other side of conscious life. On November 23, 2016 — the day before Thanksgiving — Cicily died at home. However, her transition did not come before I had the opportunity to interview her and create another outlet for her to engage in reflective thought and give an inspiring word to all.

Below you will find the interview, which begins very basic and becomes more in-depth with each subsequent question. Cicily was a magnificent soul who has a passion for life, family, success, and music. She will be remembered in the hearts of many, and I know her spirit is freely floating around not only caring for her family but also helping her clients and potential clients in ways she couldn’t have imagined to be possible in the physical world.

Enjoy!

The Interview

Q: What is your full name, age, and birthplace? 

A: Cicily Janus, 39, Virginia

Q: How did you begin your journey as a writer?

A: I’ve been writing since I can remember being able to spell my name. Always a heavy, heavy reader, too. But my career as a writer didn’t take off until I was in my mid-twenties. I fully believe you HAVE to spend 10k hours on any craft before you can call it anything more than a hobby.

Q: Why did you choose to write about music instead of becoming a musician?

A: I was a musician first. Studied jazz trumpet at university of north Florida. Then when I started writing heavily, I focused on the adage of writing what you know.

Q: What was your most memorable piece?

A: Hmmm. Tough one. I would have to say the “last words” section of my book, The New Face of Jazz. Sonny Rollins and I derived this from his interview. It made the front page of the LA Times. I still live by his words.

Q: How did you become a literary agent?

A: I became a literary agent because I love, love, LOVE making dreams come true. There are so many talented writers out there that deserve the exposure.

Q: Who were your most inspirational clients?

A: Allison Gruber, Chris Tarry and Tommy Daugherty.

Q: Who were your mentors throughout your life and career?

A: Hands down, Kate Gale, Scott Hoffman and Jeff Kleinman.

Q: How did your unique work influence your parenting techniques?

A: It definitely taught me to listen to what my kids were actually saying instead of hurrying them up and trying to get them out of my way. I learned who they were as humans instead of kids and we’ve had a considerable close bond.

Q: Do any of your children want to be like you when they grow up? 

A: Ha. Good question. They’re all very musical. Margo wants to learn to cook and sell/write books so she can take over my writing retreats. The LLC is in her name in my will. The other two ladies…they do, but in their own way..Natalie, I think will cure cancer. Ella…she’s off to France or Japan the second her butt turns 18 to go study fashion. They’re all very, very, very, very driven and awesome kids.

Q: How long have you been battling cancer, and how has this challenge affected your professional and personal life? 

A: Tough. Technically, I’ve been battling Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia since May/June 2015. I’m in end stage and am on hospice at home. I wouldn’t even call cancer a challenge; it’s a bear that tears through the garbage the cancer has made of your innards searching for signs of live meat. The second it finds it….Yep, it gets sucked down too. Cancer turned me into a soft spoken (mostly) quiet and often scared person that attempted suicide more than once.

As far as my career? Ha. What career? I miss my day-to-day work, fast paced phone calls, plans on taking over the world, etc. Now, I just sit and keep myself busy in any way I can. If I can still help clients, I do so. But chemo for months and months on months makes it really hard to concentrate or just really exist in my normal brain power/overdrive. I keep thinking that one day, I’ll get up and I’ll be fine. And there are some days like that, they’re just not nearly as frequent as they used to be..one to two good days a week and I’m on top of the world.

Q: What kind of coping mechanisms do you use during tough and stressful times? 

A: Music, art, drawing and friends that visit. They’re my lifelines.

Q: If there is anything about your life or career that you could do differently, what would it be?

A: Get a bag of new bone marrow? Lol. I would have stayed much earlier in my life knowing that it’s getting cut short rapidly. I would have told my clients to listen up more and connected them to each other more.

Q: What inspiring words of advice do you have for writers, publishers, and agents building their careers now?

A: First…write what you know and incorporate all five senses in every chapter and surrounding you can. Second, you are not guaranteed tomorrow. Work on your work today..give everyone a chance in your heart and never, ever dismiss a soul as beneath you. Humans are the most surprising creatures on earth and I’m one of the luckiest alive. Hands down.

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Credit: Cicily Janus Facebook page

In her last stretch, Cicily also promoted and supported the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you would like to learn more about the organization and make a donation in Cicily’s name and help the fight against cancer, then you can do so here.

 

Young M.A., Misogyny, and the Reality of Hip-Hop

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This week The Root shared an op-ed by black-queer-feminist activist, Samantha Master, critiquing the content of aggressive lesbian rap artist, Young M.A The piece expressed Master’s concerns about misogynistic lyrics in Young M.A’s music and attempted to highlight the social responsibility Young M.A. has to the LGBT community when it comes to her art. While Master’s concerns are warranted, there is an opportunity to take a deeper look at Young M.A’s misogyny and the reality of the hip-hop industry.

Young M.A’s inadvertent movement

It is definitely ground breaking to see a young aggressive lesbian in the spotlight in the music industry. Having grown up in Atlanta — and lived the LGBT lifestyle — I have met and dated my share of hip-hop industry hopefuls who were also aggressive lesbians. The common sentiment was that of disappointment and feeling that their dreams would never come true due to their sexual orientation and demeanor. Now, things are beginning to change, and thanks to Young M.A, other aggressive lesbians of color can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So why the outcry about the musical content? It sounds like the typical defensive, feminist argument that eventually commands lyrical content be changed to suit their personal standards. While it is true that much of the mainstream hip-hop music found today is degrading, we also have to accept the fact that mainstream hip-hop is not nearly as positive as it could or should be. This is not a call to settlement but to acceptance of reality so that we can be constructive in changing it.

Misogyny or nah

Young M.A’s lyrics in the song, “OOOUUU,” which has received over 100 million views on YouTube since its release in May 2016, can be bit more perplexing than they are misogynistic.

“Baby gave me head, that’s a low blow (That’s a low blow)/
And she make me weak when she deepthroat/”

Well, that’s interesting commentary coming from a woman. What exactly is the woman about to “deepthroat” when engaging another woman in oral sex? Is she seriously going to suck on a strap on? I have dated studs in my life who actually wore strap ons all day and became aroused at the sight of a woman sucking it, mentally experiencing the thrill of getting one’s penis sucked. As a woman who loves women, this makes even me uncomfortable. However, the reality is that these are the kind of lyrics that accurately reflect the mindset of many aggressive lesbians and are common in mainstream hip-hop today. Young M.A is simply producing the content that is performing well in the industry, allowing herself the achieve what many of her counterparts in the LGBT community have yet to.

More lyrics from the song include:

“If that’s ya chick, then why she texting me?
Why she keep calling my phone speaking sexually?”

This is a common occurrence in the often toxic and unacknowledged reality of lesbian dating. LGBT persons are no different from heterosexuals when it comes to promiscuity and disrespect of relationships.

“I don’t open doors for a hoe (Not at all!)
I just want the neck, nothin’ more (Nothin’ more)”

Self-respecting women have this issue of being short-sighted in their analysis of music and current events. From Donald Trump’s comments about grabbing women by the pussy to the lyrics by Young M.A, the reality is that there are despicable whores that walk among us, and many of them deserve the most basic levels of respect, if that. In the end, are these lyrics any different from what a man would say in the mainstream? Are they really untrue? Not at all.

The dark reality of hip-hop

Young M.A has climbed to her peak by putting out music that sells via capitalizing on the darker realities of urban life, even if her lyrics don’t always make much sense in terms of imagery. One can critique the lyrics of a song day and night, but the bigger issue is with the music executives who push this content into the forefront. Kanye West pointed this out in his recent rant during his Saint Pablo tour. In February, Azealia Banks shared her sentiments on the issue tweeting, “all these fucking pill popping divas doing the LEAST and the shit is boring. Get these hoes a coffee and a pair of Gloves… Bring out the real artists!” Hip-hop artist B.o.B. has been tweeting the latest mainstream and music industry conspiracy realities as well. Some of his most recent are below:

B.o.B.

 

Moving forward

While it is valid to desire quality content from our artists, especially those who are in a position to blaze trails and open doors for so many others who aspire to be like them, we have to be realistic in our expectations and the bigger machine that we and the artists are wrestling with. It’s hard enough to build a successful platform or make it into the mainstream. There are things one has to be willing to work through or give up in order to gain the fortune and fame. The new opportunity for black lesbians at large is to get active and create content that can get them onto the big stage with a cause in their back pockets.

Move beyond the romanticism of being the first — that was what killed Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning — and move into the space of learning from the mistakes of the one who went first. Get out there and be the change you want to see, and then thank Young M.A, Ellen DeGeneres, and all other successful LGBT persons for opening the door for you to do it.