Survival Tip: How to Handle Failing Faith

Posted in Religion, Religion/History on July 15, 2014 by khalf

Recently, as a result of coursework, sermons and personal interactions, a great deal of my focus is on survival. My attention has been turn to the matters of testing and trial. After an unsettling conversation with a friend in which the only comfort I could provide her was to just be on the call, I followed up with my Co-Editor over at the ICU, Joshua “the Uppity Negro” Lazard and said this:

“Anyone that says that faith can waver but it mustn’t fail has not truly been tried by fire. There are times when faith must falter/fail in order to be rebuilt/restructured.” (K. Halford, Personal Text Message July 2014).

I realize that my words seem a little shaky but there is a destination to which I’m traveling if you stay with me. Throughout my life, especially within the last 15 years I have been not merely at the brink of losing faith but I have virtually lost it all on more that one occasion. I’ll confess, I have considered suicide on more than one occasion. Why? Because the circumstances of my discord, sorrow, disappointment, and unhappiness conflicted in drastic significance to my theological understanding and caused me to question the very foundations of my faith. Have you ever been in a place where your life has become so unrecognizable and your circumstances so seemingly unbearable that you no longer recognize yourself, your God, or anyone or anything else for that matter? Have you ever been in a place where all of that caused you to be wholly unrecognizable to others? I consider this because, quite frankly, biblically there is pretty much only one character with a story that could speak to the totality of this predicament in any holistic way his name is Job. While some say Job’s faith didn’t fail. Allow me this indulgence. Imagine faith as a building. A disaster (perhaps an earthquake) comes and does all but level the building. In fact, the quake decimated the foundations, the structural walls and even the façade of the building in such a way that the building is unrecognizable. Now imagine that the building is too valuable to completely destroy, rather it must be rebuilt and restructured and perhaps even reoriented in such a way that it can withstand a similar disaster in the future.

I am a student of language, paying attention to what is said as much as what is left unsaid but perhaps described. I simply must say that watching Job lament and curse the day he was born drives me into the place of remembrance. When you’re in that place of failing faith while you may not “charge God foolishly” you will make declarations like ” I wish I had never been born” or “I seem to only bring misery on the people I love I should just end it all”. If you’re not careful and if you’re not allowed the space to be able to honestly feel these feelings without judgment or condemnation your recovery time is going to take a while. The people who know me best know that one of my critiques of the family of faith aka the church is that we don’t make space for people to be honest. Perhaps peril, tribulation and sword are second only to the matters of initial belief to begin with. It is unsafe to admit that life has put you in a position that is so emotionally and spiritually complex that you question faith. That’s a difficult thing to admit. It is even more difficult when those who would attempt to be your confidantes and provide comfort insist that your feelings are hogwash.

So in my moment of having revelation about myself I have come to the place of wanting to share with you a tidbit that I’ve learned; sometimes faith crumbles in order to be rebuilt. Prior to Job’s experience the primary belief and therefore spiritual absolute was that bad things only happen when you have done wrong (retribution theology). It was not until Job’s experience taught him otherwise and therefore changed the parameters (rebuilt/restructured/reoriented) his faith that it became an established and immutable fact that sometimes bad things happen even when you’ve done everything right. In essence Job’s faith before his trial had to fail for it to be rebuilt strong enough to face whatever the future held. You see faith is beyond a mere belief in a transcendent God, it is also the practical application of what that belief means (to any faith system not just Christianity). Sometimes those practical applications change when knowledge and understanding of that God or of the meaning of the belief changes but before that change can happen what was gets disheveled and destroyed.

Be encouraged that you can grow and mature and regain a stronger faith from this!

So My Breasts Offend You? Get Over It!

Posted in Current Events/Pop Culture, Feminism, Gender, Parenting, Womanism on June 10, 2014 by khalf

black-women-world-breastfeeding-week1Recently, there has been much ado about a natural nothing, well it’s something but only to a small few. Speaking as a mother of two proudly breastfed children, I’m so over people being offended by a woman using her “God-given” mammary glands to perform the function for which they were intended. Providing milk to an infant is the primary purpose for breasts. Not sexual stimulation. Not to be drooled on and lusted after by a man. The purpose of breasts is to fed the next generation. And not just feed them by the way but to provide them with the necessary antibodies that give the best possible chance of a thriving existence in the most crucial stage of infant development. So excuse me when I pull my left or right breast out to allow my child to nurse. The fact is because of the way our society is set up there is a discomfort on the part of the breastfeeding mom already. We understand that people are uncomfortable with our nakedness. As a black woman, that discomfort is “on 10.” Ultimately, the issue is not that breastfeeding is wrong and it’s not even that breastfeeding in public is wrong. It’s not! How may Nat Geo programs and photographs have we seen of native/aboriginal women breastfeeding their young and not reacted? The issue isn’t even the nakedness of the human body. The issue is the exposure of a bare breasts. Why? Because of the objectification of the female form. How many times have I heard “at least she should have respect for her husband” when referencing a married woman breastfeeding? It makes me scream! Why are you looking? Would you like some? Personally, I covered myself when in very public circumstances (i.e. no lactation room) but that was due to my discomfort with gawking eyes. But for every mother that I have gazed upon who has opted to sit on a waiting bench or snack counter at a department store or restaurant and feed her child in the open I say “More power to you!” If it is indecent to breastfeed a child in public it should be equally indecent to give a child a bottle of formula. After all, the last thing a mom is doing is seeking sexual gratification by way of breastfeeding. For the first few days and even the first couple of weeks it’s painful but that pain is beautifully natural. To continue to view breastfeeding when ever and where ever it occurs as unnatural and borderline criminal is to perpetuate ignorance! So if my breasts offend you I shout a bombastic “Get Over It.” To the self-righteous cohort that would say there is a such thing as dignity I ask, What, exactly, is undignified about breastfeeding?

What made me go on this rant?  Well, I read about Karlesha Thurman a recent graduate of California State University Long Beach here:  http://madamenoire.com/436873/breastfeeding-college-graduate-shamed-on-the-internet/#sthash.oRyubB5R.dpufhttp://ow.ly/xNtyo

Karlesha posted a beautiful photo of her breastfeeding her daughter during commencement exercises on the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page.  The page is committed to encouraging and empowering minority mothers to breastfeed their children.  Black Women Do Breastfeed is also committed to making breastfeeding in the black community visible.  I believe these are both worthy and noble ambitions.  How often do we talk about the story of women having babies and never having any other ambition for themselves especially one of education.  When I read about how the photo went viral I do not know or care but the “slut shaming” and body shaming that ensued was deplorable.  I know there are those that would say, “well she could have expressed the milk?” Well to them I say, why?  I would thoroughly ask those who squirm at the notion of a woman and especially a black woman breastfeeding in public to ask themselves why they are uncomfortable.

Apparently, there is no place of comfort for a woman especially a black woman who breastfeeds her baby and still completes her immediate education goal.  So we’re still in a place of either educate yourself or have a kid but never both?  What antiquated thinking is that.  Regardless of the circumstance surrounding Karlesha’s relationship status the act is she is a mother and a college graduate; her future and that of her child are bright.

So, if my breasts offend you?  You’re the one with the problem not me.  If my breasts offend you GET OVER IT!

Accountability: An Editor’s Response

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2014 by khalf

khalf:

Come check us out at Intellectual Consortium Uncoverd

Originally posted on Intellectual Consortium Uncovered:

On behalf of Uppity and Antagonist, I thank Kawana Williams for her submission. I must say this is an excellent way to progress with this open collective. In our first submission, we let you all know who we are and how we function. We have endless conversations about any and everything under the sun. Kawana’s submission was one such topic. As an editor, I felt it necessary to respond. There are at least two reasons I elected to write this response. I am the only member of the ICU that has been married or divorced, for that matter. I am also the only woman, obviously.

A few years ago I worked in customer service and one of the key factors to providing customers with a quality experience was for the customer service representative to “take ownership” of the call. So what is ownership and how does it factor into this…

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My husband is not my soul mate.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2013 by khalf

khalf:

Right perspective!

Originally posted on The Art in Life:

It might seem odd that on this, our one-year anniversary, I am beginning a post with the declaration that my husband is not my soul mate. But he isn’t.WegmannWedding161

I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him. I wouldn’t want to married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to let me die first.

But I reject the entire premise of soul mates.

WegmannWedding294Do you remember those awesome Evangelical 90’s/ early 2000’s where Jesus was kind of like our boyfriend and we all kissed dating good-bye because we just knew that God was going to bring us THE ONE and then life…

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The White Female Privilege of Juror B37

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2013 by khalf

khalf:

Check out my brother’s post. Excellent work from the Uppity Negro!

Originally posted on Uppity Negro Network™:

juror b37

Our racial prejudices, the ones that we heard the older people in our family say, the racial jokes about Mexicans without regard for Latino and Hispanic ancestry that isn’t just from one country, or about Chinese or the Koh-reeans to the Aa-rabs, they all inform our worldview.  The offspring of these people are forced to navigate murky social waters seeing as how this society becomes more and more pluralistic, it could easily make going to a diverse high school even more challenging if being raised in a household where a certain ethnic group or nationality is constantly looked down upon for everything.

That being said, I’ll never forget a conversation in high school either my sophomore or junior year of high school in which a classmate, black and male made a comment about a teacher he wasn’t too fond of and he said “She got WWS.”  Naturally, I asked “What’s…

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Lesson 2: Perspective

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2012 by khalf

Lesson 2: Perspective.

Lesson 1: After

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2012 by khalf

Lesson 1: After.

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