Life

Bullying is WRONG on Every Level

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A new music video by the amazing group BYU Vocal Point released on their YouTube channel on 2 May 2017, appropriately illustrates the effects that being bullied can have on an individual. The video is an excellent a cappella cover of “You Will Be Found” from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Often when the topic of bullying is discussed, it is about a student bullying another student or students on the school campus. However, that is not the only place that bullying occurs. It also occurs in the workplace, in the public square, oftentimes in secret, and sadly, it also occurs within the walls of churches. Regardless of where it occurs, the point is that it is wrong.

10 Important Things I Would Teach My Children About Racism, Bigotry, and Hatred

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Children of Different Races

1. Never label any particular “race” of people as being stupid, ignorant, or bigoted. Stupidity, ignorance, and bigotry comes in all shades.

2. “Race” is a man-made term used to divide groups of people and often to build walls of division, derision, degradation, belittlement, and even hatred.

3. Accept all people for whom God created them to be, and always try to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.

4. To judge a person by the color of his or her skin is to prove your level of misguided ignorance, and not necessarily your level of intelligence. Intelligent people do not allow the color of a person’s skin to create walls of division, but rather they work together, regardless of “race,” to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and understanding.

5. Never make rash and hasty decisions or opinions about any person until you have tried to walk a mile in his or her shoes, and have strived to make some effort to at least understand what makes him or her who they are. In other words, at least try to view the world through their eyes and not always your own.

6. Never be quick to criticize another person, or quick to point out their shortcomings and faults, unless you have seriously taken the time to look carefully at the individual who looks back at you in your mirror and can honestly declare that person whom you see as being “perfect.”

7. Judge no person by the color of his or her skin, but only by the content of his or her character. The color of the skin has nothing to do with intelligence levels or anything else for that matter.

8. Be quick to show love, patience, and understanding, and slow and careful to despise or reject another because of supposed differences. Strive to find the commonalities that can bind you as brothers and sisters, and focus less on the differences that supposedly cause division between you.

9. Treat all humanity as persons of dignity and self-worth, and strive to eradicate the words “hate” and “hatred” from your vocabularies. For to hate another often, in turn, leads to more hatred, which eventually leads to a bloody battlefield of contention and strife. Always remember, hatred only begets more hatred. We need not be at war with one another, but should try to find ways to live together as brothers and sisters.

10. Those who are incessant to use the “race” card for every situation, or to judge another person according to the color of his or her skin or “race” are in and of themselves racist and bigots regardless of the color of their skin. Beware of being numbered among their ranks.

 

Where do you place your priorities?

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What are your priorities?

At times we all can plead guilty to setting our priorities of life in an order that proves ineffective. Sometimes we become so entangled in the web of the mundane things of the world that we find ourselves hopelessly trapped in an abyss, always groping for the proverbial rope to pull us out, but never seem able to find it or gain a hold on it.

We have a tendency to become so ensnared in the clamor and continual chatter in life that our ears become deafened to the things that they should listen to. We often find ourselves running into proverbial walls of trivial matters that vie for our time and attention, diverting our focus away from the more weightier matters of life. As a result, we begin to overemphasize things that are the least important in our lives and devalue those things that implore us to give our immediate consideration.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and if necessary revise and revamp our priorities. By so doing we will be able to sharpen our focus and look beyond the proverbial trees that often block our view, thus gaining a broader view of the entire proverbial forest. We will also be able to adjust our listening frequency to squelch out the static of the world and become more attuned to those things which beckon us for sagacious considerations of what is important and what is not. Additionally, we will be able to escape from the dismal abyss in which we may presently find ourselves, affording us the opportunity to stop and smell the roses along the way, and enhance our overall vision for our life.

We are All Uniquely Different

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We are All Uniquely Different

I am neither better than nor superior to you. You are not better than nor superior to me. We were both created in the image of the same Divine Creator. However, when this Master Potter took a lump of clay to design each of our molds, He lovingly and meticulously worked at the potter’s wheel to shape each of us into something that is wondrously unique. Therefore, we are the same in that we were fashioned and designed by the hands of the same Master, but we are different in that each of our designs are intricately different.

Each of us were fearfully and wonderfully made with a specific purpose and mission in mind. Included within the makeup of each of us are the talents and abilities that the Master saw fit to include to enable us to fulfill that purpose and mission which would ultimately bring praise and glory to His name. Therefore, it proffer us absolutely nothing to harbor malice, envy, jealousy, or deliberate hatred towards others because we have not been blessed in our lives with the same things that they have been blessed with in their lives.

In short, instead of being overly concerned about the things that are growing in our neighbor’s fields and the crops that he will eventually harvest, we perhaps should spend more time tending our own fields and giving thanks for the crops that we will eventually harvest. When we learn to show our gratitude for the bounteous harvest that the Master blesses us to receive, He will in turn bless our fields to yield even greater harvests.

The Master is not a respecter of persons. He does not give a greater measure of blessings to any person because He has a more abiding love for that person. But rather, those blessings are meted to him predicated upon his faithfulness and obedience, as well as, the measure of gratitude that He shows for those things which he has already been abundantly blessed with.

Dare to Dream!

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Dare to Dream

He who dares to dream is an adventurous soul who yearns to explore the unknown to unearth treasures that will prove of immense worth to him. Through his diligence and perseverance, what once seemed an impossibility, becomes a reality.

He who dares to dream keeps hope alive by never giving up or giving in, even when faced by naysayers who believe his dreams are futile and foolish. His glowing embers of hope never die out because his astute determination to press on keeps them ever glowing brightly.

He who dares to dream is never satisfied with the mediocrity of life, but rather he reaches for heights unknown. Defeatism is not a part of his daily vocabulary. But rather, he views each obstacle in his path as mere stepping-stones in helping him to see his dreams come to full fruition, and his watch word of the day is “Victory!”

 

Who art thou to judge another?

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Man in the Mirror

Who art thou, O’ man, that thou canst proclaim thyself to be the righteous judge of all Israel? Who art thou to sit in judgment upon the condition of the house of thy brother or sister, when it is apparent that thine own house is in dire need of repairs?

Judge not so quickly what thou perceive to be the grave sins of others, when thou also art a sinner who is oft found weighing in the balances in need of a Savior.

Nay, instead of criticizing and condemning another, first take a long hard look at thyself in thine own mirror, and then render an honest answer as to whether you are justified in being so harsh in your words and actions towards others.

Be slow to tear down, but haste to encourage and edify your brothers and sisters that they may through thine own light that glows, seek after that light to illumine their own lives.

Peace on Earth, Good Will to All Men

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Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men

At this blessed season of the year people greet one another with Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays and the like, and it seems that no one gets offended. However, as soon as someone says Merry Christmas or puts a sign out that says “Merry Christmas,” there are some people who seem to become enraged and claim that it offends them.

I will make no apologies to anyone for wishing everyone that I meet during this blessed season of the year with Merry Christmas. Yes, CHRISTMAS! I do not celebrate another holiday. I celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, God’s Precious Gift to the world, the very reason not only for this season, but for our very existence.

I respect everyone for their beliefs and traditions and only ask that they reciprocate by showing me the same respect. If we would spend more time concentrating on the things that should unite us as brothers and sisters, and less time tearing each other apart because of our cultural differences and belief systems, truly there would be peace on earth and goodwill to all men. 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Do More Than Just Exist. . . .

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Do More Than Just Exist

Today, 17 October 2015, is my 57th birthday. Where have the years gone? Am I really that old?

When I was born at 10:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, 17 October 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. It is hard to believe that in the span of my short life, I have witnessed the election and administration of 10 presidents.

I was born in what was then known as the town of Salisbury, Maryland. I remember as a boy when out with my parents riding in the car going to different places, people would stop and ask them where Salisbury was, and my parents would always reply, “You just drove through it!” Today Salisbury is a major city on the Delmarva Peninsula. The hospital where I was born was known simply as the Salisbury Hospital. It has long since been remodeled into what is now the Salisbury Regional Medical Center. When I started school in 1963 at the age of 5, I attended an all Black elementary school. I would not experience integration of public schools until I was in high school and was bused across town to attend one of the local high schools.

In the same year that I started school, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, 22 November 1963, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. I can still recall watching his funeral procession on television, and the image of John Jr. saluting his father’s flag-draped casket as it passed by. The Civil Rights Movement was still at the forefront of the news, and just three short months before the assassination of President Kennedy, on 28 August 1963, America was listening to Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his timeless “I Have A Dream” speech to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. In his immortal speech which became a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King called for an end to racism in the United States. I would have never imagined that at the young age of 9,  on 4 April 1968, I would hear the television announcer say that Martin Luther King, Jr., at the age of 39, had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05PM that evening. I also remember watching his funeral services on television, and the image of his endearing wife, Coretta Scott King, and their young children.

Yes, many things have changed since 17 October 1958, but some things have also remained the same on many levels. What I have admired about the people aforementioned, as well as other greats that have influenced my young life is that none of them lived their life just to be living it. Each of them worked hard to make even a small difference and to make the world a better place for everyone to live in. It is because of that inspiration that at the start of another year of life, I have decided to adopt the following as a new motto: “Anima plus est quam esse diem. Verum cum cupiam vivere incipiat qualitercumque porrexeris plenam potentiam quique ante destinatum est.” (Translation: Life is more than just existing from day-to-day. You truly begin to live when you yearn to reach for your full potential and become who you were meant to be.) I hope that you too will resolve to do more than just exist.

Bridging the Chasms that Cause A Great Divide

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Winnie the Pooh and Friends

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you. — Winnie the Pooh

It Does Not Matter What Anyone Really Thinks About Us

It does not matter what anyone really thinks about us. They have their opinion, whether it be right or wrong. What does matter is that we know who we are, and more importantly, Whose we are. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. It is His stamp of approval that we should seek, and not the approval or disapproval of man.

None of us are exempt from life’s trials and challenges. We all face our own battles – our own Goliath – as we travel on this pilgrim journey. Whether or not people understand our struggles ought not be our main concern.

I have come to realize that those who truly care and want to understand will do their best to understand, and those who don’t care are not worth spending the time and energy to extend an explanation, as no explanation would suffice anyway.

At the end of the day, whether we are true to ourselves is what matters, and not being overly concerned about what others say about us, or think about us. God, our Heavenly Father loves each of us, and to Him, we are all special.

~ Keith Lionel Brown

Coca-Cola Gay Anti-bullying Campaign

Coca Cola Gay Anti-bullying Campaign

The short video below will not get any air time in the United States, nevertheless, Coca-Cola is making a big gay bold statement in Latin America with a new short film and advertisement called “The Text.” The film, written and directed by Dustin Lance Black for Coca-Cola, centers on bullying and two gay teens in love.

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black EngagedDustin Lance Black is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer and LGBT rights activist. He has won a Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for the 2008 film “Milk.” Dustin, 41, and his long-term boyfriend, Tom Daley, 21, have recently announced their engagement. Tom is an English diver and television celebrity. His specialty is the 10 metre platform event, and he was the 2009 FINA World Champion in the event at the age of 15. He started diving at the age of seven and is a member of Plymouth Diving Club. You can read an article in the Huffington Post where Tom sat down with The Guardian for a revealing interview in which he discusses coming to terms with his gay identity in the public eye, his relationship with Dustin Lance Black, and his life as an athlete.

Coca-Cola recruited Black to direct three short films for the company to air in Latin America that would challenge young people to choose compassion over bullying. He told AdWeek that one of the campaigns was specifically “aimed at the LGBT community.” He further stated that the intent was to show “a crossroads moment where you’ve got to make a decision: Are you going to go the way of kindness, or are you going to go for the easy joke when someone’s having a tough time?” The moral, he says, “If you do something with acceptance and kindness, you can create a true friendship.”

Source: Best Gay News; Category – Youth

Gay Youth Coming Out Stories

Let's treat each other with respect

No importa lo que realmente piensa de nosotros

No importa lo que alguien realmente piensa acerca de nosotros. Ellos tienen su opinión, ya sea bueno o malo. Lo que importa es que sabemos lo que somos, y lo más importante, de quién somos. Todos somos hijos de un amoroso Padre Celestial. Es su sello de aprobación que debemos buscar, y no a la aprobación o desaprobación del hombre.

Ninguno de nosotros está exento de pruebas y desafíos de la vida. Todos nos enfrentamos a nuestras propias batallas – nuestro propio Goliat – mientras viajamos en esta peregrinación. Sea o no la gente a entender nuestras luchas no deben ser nuestra principal preocupación.

Me he dado cuenta de que los que realmente se preocupan y quieren entender lo hará su mejor esfuerzo para entender, y los que no les importa, no vale la pena gastar el tiempo y la energía para extender una explicación, ya que no hay explicación sería suficiente de todos modos.

Al final del día, si somos fieles a nosotros mismos es lo que importa, y no estar demasiado preocupado por lo que otros dicen de nosotros, o piensan de nosotros. Dios, nuestro Padre Celestial ama a cada uno de nosotros, y para él, todos somos especiales.

~ Keith Lionel Brown

Love is love, and gay is OK

Judging Another Person