Deez…

Before you finish that thought, take a gander at this.  We find what we are looking for in the least likely places sometimes. Other times the answers are right in front of us.

A few weeks ago I visited another church to hear my brother-in-Christ preach on a beautiful Sunday morning.  I’d made excuses as to why I absolutely needed to serve at my home church unyieldingly.  But I was convinced otherwise.  So many little distractions sought to derail me from hearing this meaningful sermon.  Alas, I arrived unscathed and unrattled.

The humidity was high and the fans were whirling.  The sweaty brows were merely preparing for the message that had been prepared days before.  Days before.  The message was about the days that were left.  The minutes that were left.  And if there was anything that would make a soul sweat, it’s the uncertainty.  “Am I worthy?”  That’s the question that is so often asked.  And the answer is yes!  “Is there time?”  That’s a question that is not easily answered.

Spoiler alert!  Tomorrow is not promised.

He preached on the book of Revelations.  Specifically the tribulations as described in Revelations 6:1  I shall call them the Dees. There was Dominion; the Division that we are witnessing daily with the injustice and civil unrest in our nation and the world; the Deprivation that we can not ignore unless we live far from the urban areas; and the Destruction that is eminent.

This book of the Bible is always fascinating to folks who enjoy science fiction.  However, calling any part of the Bible science fiction is practically blasphemy.  Believers embrace it as truth, but non-believers become intrigued.  If not for the evidence from our history and contemporary proof, agnostics and atheists would debunk every prediction as a scare tactic or as fables and myths. 

Dominion

Simply put, we are ignoring the laws that have been laid before us by God.  Matthew 18:18 provides a rule for adhering to the laws made here on earth.  We are making our own laws that could potentially be recognized in heaven (if we as a culture would adhere to them here on earth).  But we do not.  Romans 13:1-7 speaks a more intense truth.

Our laws are outdated, our law makers are corrupt and distracted, and our prisons are filled.  We have allowed the wrong forces to rule dominion over us.  Only when there is mass oppression is there an uprising.  Where were the rebels when the laws were proposed?  Who spoke up when the votes were cast?  How did we as a people get so distracted?  We’ve sought the world instead of God, and now can not recognize Him and His word unless it is discretely placed on a track in our favorite song. Even then God’s word is misquoted, misrepresented, and misguiding.

With the Bible being the most purchased book in the English language, it is still the least read.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God.  How do we know when scripture is taken out of context?  We don’t.  We defend that it was written by man, translated by man, and facilitated by man to justify man’s will, not God’s.  The southern doctrine of slavery is proof positive of this.  Global missionaries are also facilitated and supported based on the Bible and man’s interpretation that the gospel must be read from the highest mountain.  This is not hypocrisy. This is doctrine.  Without guidance however, mankind too often misinterprets the rules by calling them guidelines.

Division

We witness division daily.  We can not turn on the news without hearing about how “they” have oppressed us; or how “our” rights and liberties are in jeopardy.  Them verses us is the daily argument.  There hasn’t been a week in the past three years that our nation has not seen a steady incline of inequality.  Foreign nations have been dealing with civil unrest for hundreds of years!  The fights over the Holy Land have escalated to the point that the hype of the war-torn regions no longer peaks the interest of media fanatics.  It’s no longer news.

There’s division in race, gender, sexuality, nationality, religion and creed, age, and the list goes on.  The oppressors worry that they will become the oppressed.  The fear is that vengeance will be sought by the righteous.  But it is the meek who shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are the righteous!

Deprivation

We see starving families at all corners of the world.  When we can’t see it, the media surely broadcasts the impoverished nations for profit (either through corporate sponsorship or via fundraising campaigns).  Scandal plagues our world and chips away at what is left of our trust and social conscience.  Even the righteous and giving are left to feel stupid and used as they seek to follow God’s word–to help right the wrongs of the world.  Trust is lost.  The hungry continue to starve as fewer people want to help.  Servants of God dwindle as the true believers struggle all alone.

Our society has no relief for the vacant homes that outnumber the homeless.  The homeless perish in the winds of destruction, the floods, and the oppressive heat that is unpredicted and unexplained.  The leaders rush to make sense of the perilous times as the followers scrutinize every decision. We believe everything that we read.  But we refuse to check our source.  We’ve no longer insisted on checking our facts.  We deprive ourselves of knowledge for the sake of time. We refuse to use that same time that we saved to think about what we are doing.

The hungry stay hungry.  Even the rich squander their wealth, risk their health, abuse life, and (stolen) liberty to maintain their privileged lifestyle.  Don’t take my word for it (click on any of the highlighted links above to read more).

Destruction

destruction 2

Although the apocalypse describes characteristics of our culture that are already present, in fact the worse has not yet occurred. We are only getting a glimpse. It took what was described as seven days to create the world (and the scientists translate those “days” into billions of years). Could not the last “days” already be amongst us?

Even the secular world is beginning to see the signs and the impending doom.  I take relief only in knowing that despite the signs of impending doom, the mere prediction is not enough to know for certain.  We won’t know.  We won’t see it coming. And there won’t be anytime to prepare once it has begun.

It’s not too late to get right with The Lord. Tomorrow is not promised, but we still have right now.  This is not a final synopsis.  It’s important to get right today.  Immediately!  But even after salvation, there is much work to be done here on earth.  The saints emphasize serving the Lord.  We serve Him by serving man, but not by serving ourselves individually.  It is the world that makes salvation tricky.  There are no tricks in God’s word.

Be mindful of the D’s.  In a time when we believe everything that we see, most of what we read, and a lot of what we hear, we are gravely at risk.  We’ve given dominion to the wrong authority.  We’ve willingly divided ourselves.  We watched the destruction and simply rebuilt our lives on sinking sand.  Waiting for the destruction makes even less sense.

Advertisements

The New Sneetches

Fairfield Township Committee Meeting (June 16, 2015)

Sneetches

Mayor Byrd expeditiously terminated the meeting before there could be committee reports or comments, further discussion or questions. A commentary is offered here:    

It was announced by the solicitor, coming out of executive session, that there was some discussion about a potential technology/data system breach that is pending investigation.  This is an alarming discovery that must be rectified immediately due to the confidential nature of all sorts of public and privileged documents.

Also handled in public session was the Rice Hearing for the clerk.  Oddly enough the timely passage of Ordinance No. 8-2015 has provided provisions for ANY elected official or APPOINTED official to be covered under the ordinance which provides legal counsel.  Although the amendment to that Ordinance No. 9-2015 has only had its first reading this evening, the changes do not disqualify the clerk from being protected under the ordinance.  In other words, her legal fees are the responsibility of the Township.

This time the public questioned the urgency for another ordinance.  The first reading of Ordinance No. 9-2015 was explained by the solicitor to be necessary because Ordinance No. 8-2015 (which provided legal counsel for any elected or appointment official to be provided by the Township) was presented, voted on, passed by a 3-2 vote, and was written and presented incorrectly!  There was a typographical error that was in fact questioned (by Committeeman Morton) during debate and determined to be a non-issue by the solicitor and the three committeemen that favored the ordinance.  Now the public via the Township Committee is exposed to legal fees and the liability as a result of a committee that has already made a risky judgment.  The committee is now scrambling to correct this error.  The solicitor consented this evening that the erroneous ordinance is in fact in effect; although he affirmed that steps are being taken to correct the oversight.

no

Ordinance No. 8-2015 should not have been passed.  It should be rescinded.  Poor counsel and devious intent may be driving passage of similar misdoings.

Mining ordinance (Ordinance No. 6-2015):  There was a mining ordinance passed but there is some concern in the community that the ordinance has been challenged by another governing authority.  The challenge resulted from a declared conflict-of-interest by the committeemen who voted in favor of the ordinance (Committeeman Pitts, Committeeman Clark, and Mayor Byrd).  Although the conflict was declared, the committee passed the ordinance regardless.  What is the outcome of that error?  Will that ordinance be revisited?

Money in Mining?

Bill list:  It’s difficult to approve a bill list with no time to review it.  But it was approved nonetheless.  Legal fees were disclosed this month only after there was concern that the fees were greater than usual in the past month due to personnel issues (the release of volunteers and an Office of Emergency Management Coordinator) that were initiated without the committees consent.  As an aside, aren’t these appointed officials also entitled to township sponsored legal counsel and fees?

Approval of the minutes:  The committee was asked to approve the minutes from May, but receiving them this evening, there was very little time to verify the accuracy.   If not for the reliability of the clerk’s minutes, I would be concerned.  However, a brief review indicated that there was very lengthy and descriptive discussion about proposed ordinances.  The Mayor and the members of the committee engaged in appropriate discussion that clearly highlighted the dangers of taking certain actions.  But the motions were made to approve despite those discussions that clearly exposed the committee and the public to liability.  Debate is important.  But more important is the value that debate has to the outcome.

Former Mayor Viola Thomas-Hughes inquired this evening for a second time about the line items in the budget that defined and warranted the recent tax increase.  For a second time, the Mayor indicated that he had the information but he “forgot” to bring it with him.  His appropriate response could have been that one of the committeemen discussed three of those line items at the last meeting, but the Mayor may have forgotten that as well.

There were rumors circulating that there might be a pending resignation by a member of the committee.  There has been neither a confirmation nor denial of any such resignation.

As a result of the actions taken by the Mayor and his three-fifths, the meeting was adjourned.  This left no remedies for pressing issues and no direction for the new Administrator or current Clerk on how to resolve pending controversies.  In his finality, Mayor Byrd motioned to have these matters referred to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in Trenton.  Surely, a governmental review of the impartiality, racial bias, and political corruption in Fairfield Township will shine a spotlight on the entire organization.

Michael Morton is your Delegate to the 2015 National Education Association Representative Assembly

Hello to all of my friends, colleagues, and fellow educators.

As you may be aware, you have selected me for the sixth time to attend the National Education Association Representative Assembly.  The first time that I attended, the venue was in Washington D.C. back in 2008.  As you may recall,  I was selected to attend after I was RIFed from my teaching position in Millville for the second time.   When I was hired as an 8th Grade Civics & Inclusion Teacher in Bridgeton the following September, I’d been awakened professionally and politically.  I was ready to take on new endeavors.  Since then, I have attended the NEA RA in Chicago (2011) and the NEA RA in Washington D.C. again (2012).  Two years ago, I was fortunately enough to attend the NEA RA in Atlanta (2013). And last year I was your delegate to the Denver NEA RA. With each opportunity, I advocate for you and our colleagues.

Besides representing the professional issues that we as educators face, I’ve been networking with educators across the nation.  I’ve developed a sufficient knowledge of the issues that our fellow educators are dealing with in various regions.  I’ve also become proficient at conveying our needs and concerns through social media.  I’ll be tweeting live from Orlando this year. Connected to many of you through Facebook and Twitter already, I’d like to take my interactions with you to another level. Hashtagging is where it’s at this year.  It has proven very effective in rallying educators and confronting our legislators in Trenton with the impending pension crisis.

elmo

A little humor helps sometimes…

Each time that I am asked to represent New Jersey, Cumberland County, Millville, or Bridgeton at the Representative Assembly I am required to make a mandatory $180 political action committee (PAC) contribution.  I am encouraged, of course, to raise more.  This year, I was challenged to raise $200 or more.  The PAC gives the organization lobbying power which is necessary to ensure our voices are heard.

NEA_fund

In years past, I’ve asked you to help me raise these funds.  Not this year! Although I still have to meet my $200 goal, many of you have offered without the request.  Thank you!  A generous offer from Rossi Honda of Vineland will allow me to defray some of my cost too.

hondaNea ra

This year I ask for your prayers.  My colleague Larry Blake and I will be driving the entire trip to Orlando.  Rather than flying, driving will offer us time for fellowship as we transcend the east coast.  We will be meeting plenty of interesting folks along the way, and we will be sharing our concerns as we look for answers.   It’s a long trip!  But we’ve been called to make it.  Prayers for a swift and safe journey is all that we ask.  Can you help us?

Committeeman Morton           Blake

I will be posting to Twitter (@ocelot74) and Facebook (New Jersey Teachers Unite) every step of the way to Orlando.  I’ll be using #neara15 and#RossiHonda2NEAra to keep you informed.  As we arrive in the “Happiest City on Earth” we’d like your support and most importantly your prayers…as we remain focused on the fundamentals of quality education.

Thanks for your support,

Mike Morton

Delegate,

NEA Representative Assembly 2015

P.S.   If you haven’t already checked out our “teacher idea exchanges” pages, click on the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/260709270637998/

https://twitter.com/Ocelot74/status/613483274665484288

Dear Dad…

When there are so many things to write about and so many things to reflect on, today is a day that my focus shifts.  As a father and a son, Father’s Day is a day when I can do what ever I like (in theory).  However, it is the day that I represent all that is important to me.  Not too many fathers will admit, but the truth is that we are far more important than we are given credit for.  This is not to diminish mothers or grandmothers or even grandfathers, aunts, uncles, or anyone else that helps raise up a child.  But on this day we focus on the importance of fathers.

As an educator, I spend very little time discussing any of the “holidays” because of the need to focus on everything else.  I don’t place a high priority on any holiday because I end up having to justify and dance around beliefs systems. Otherwise I’d try to make a way to incorporate the meaning of the holiday into a bonafide lesson.  And because Father’s Day usually falls so close to the end of the school year that it gets overlooked anyway, no one complains–not even the dads.  The mayor of a local town recently posted to his Facebook page that he is so proud that 15 dads came out to the “Annual Donuts with Dad Breakfast. ” This kind of puzzled me.  I certainly could address that, but I’d like this story to take a different direction.

As a social worker, my focus on dads was minimal because mothers usually accepted all the responsibility in the household. For court, counseling, and intake interviews moms carry the load.  Sure there’s mention of dad but there’s always a compelling reason that he could not attend.  And although there’s a shared responsibility of raising a child, there are usually responsibilities that are often overlooked that dad is actually fulfilling.   Dad is not there to defend himself.

As a father, I do not need to defend myself.   As a son, my father’s absence had an explanation.  I never questioned it.  I knew and I understood.  But because the moms of the world were always there to offer an explanation, the real reasons were diluted.  Our world has two sides to it–the explained and the unexplained.  This is a balance that is necessary to keep things in check.  Although we might not be comfortable, please understand that balance is required in everything.  The ying to the yang, the male to the female, the rational to the irrational, and the list goes on…

But we force an inequality.  We demand more than we should and accept less than is acceptable.  It’s a paradox!  We overlook the need for balance.  Mother Nature will find the balance though; just like Father Time will never cease (even though we don’t see him until it’s too late).

My father is no longer here.  My mother is.  Balance.  I miss him.  My mother demands that I miss her.  Irony.  I have to laugh to keep from crying.  Today I celebrate the fathers who can no longer be there with their children.  I recognize the reasons.  I embrace those reasons even though I may not endorse them.

In this world full of so much tragedy, we manage to find some happiness.  Balance.  When the scales are tipped too much in one direction there is chaos.  We’ve come to accept certain arguments and conditions. Someone might suggest that the scales need to be re-calibrated.  This rings true in just about every aspect of our natural world–and probably in the supernatural realm as well.  Let’s explore that for a moment.

I spoke to one of my pastors yesterday who suggested that our role in the church has become antiquated. Men don’t come out to church as often as they should because the church is perceived as effeminate.  We refer to our Savior as a man who is caring and compassionate, who counsels and nurtures, who provides and heals.  This sounds more like a mother than a father.  I replied that “We call Him Father, but treat Him like a mother…”  Make of that what you will.  I’m certain that it will become a preaching point in today’s sermon.

My father was no mother.   As caring and compassionate as he was, he was still assertive and stubborn in his ways.  He provided resources that the family happily consumed.  He provided for several families and raised more children than he conceived.  He married more often than his wives would have preferred, but he was respected by each until the relationship had ended.  He loved his trucks and his sailboats.  He loved his projects and his books.  And he loved his children.  He was riddled with the guilt that he hadn’t enough love to give–even though he had given all that he had.  That’s not effeminate. That’s the type of man he raised me to be.  That’s the type of man that all of his son’s have turned out to be.  These are traits that I am modeling for my son.

dad

In his absence, I’ve learned the meaning of balance.  I only had him as a constant in my life for 13 years.  Too short?  No way!  That’s way longer than than I’ve been in my son’s life (so far); and way longer than most children have their fathers in their lives.  I am blessed to have been conceived by him, to be supported by him, and to have him there to show his love to me.  My father demonstrated balance in his life.  He was a poet and a sailor.  He lived his life like a well-narrated story, filled with comedy and tragedy.  He rarely completed a project, and his ultimate demise mimicked his projects.  This was no accident.  As I said, he was a poet.  Had he been a painter I’d suggest that all of his brush strokes were deliberate.  Instead, I confirm that all of his “I’s” were dotted and all of his “T’s” were crossed.  He left this earth of his own free will.  It’s been impossible to grieve his death because I daily celebrate his life.  Although I’m criticized for my perception of my father, I will learn from his model.  I will live my life the way I know best and I will teach my children how to LIVE life to the fullest.

Today, I also celebrate my children.   They were conceived in love and are nurtured daily by a mother and father who want nothing more than for them to be healthy and happy. Our children’s lives are not traditional.  However, “traditional” is no longer the norm. Therefore, their existence is actually better than most–and certainly better than what they could have had–no father.  I am the best father that my children will ever have! That’s as easy as affirming that I am the only father they will ever have.  I had a step-father for a few years who once told me, “you only get one mother…” Puzzled, I asked him if the same was true for fathers.  He had no answer.

034IMG_0001kids and me

Dear Dad, I love you.  Knowing that I will never see you again, I am happy for those years we had together.  You will live on in me as I provide for my children.  And one day when I too have left this earth, my children will be great people and live happy lives.

Umi

One of my all time favorite Mos Def Songs, “Umi”Positive Change

I don’t wanna write this down,
I wanna tell you how I feel right now
I don’t wanna take no time to write this down,
wanna tell you how I feel right now…

Tomorrow may never come…

For you or me, Life is not promised…

Tomorrow may never show up…

For you and me…

This life is not promised

I ain’t no perfect man. I’m trying to do, the best that I can,

With what it is I have.

I ain’t no perfect man. I’m trying to do, the best that I can,

With what it is I have

Put my heart and soul into this song.

I hope you feel me.

From where I am, to wherever you are…

I mean that sincerely.

Tomorrow may never come…

For you and me…

Life is not promised…

Tomorrow may never appear…

You better hold this very moment very close to you [right now]

Very close to you [right now]

So close to you, So- close to you

[your moment in history is right now!]

Don’t be affraid, to let it shine

My Umi said shine your light on the world.

Shine your light for the world to see.

My Abi said shine your light on the world.

Shine your light for the world to see[I want black people to be free, to be free, to be free].

My Abi said shine your light on the world [Want black people to be free, to be free, to be free].

Shine your light for the world to see

[Want black people to be free, to be free, to be free].

My Umi said shine your light on the world

[Want black people to be free, to be free, to be free]

Shine your light for the world to see

[Want black people to be free, to be free…]

Sometimes I get discouraged.

I look around and, things are so weak.

People are so weak

Sometimes;  Sometimes I feel like crying.

Sometimes my heart gets heavy.

Sometimes I just want to leave and fly away [fly fly fly, like a dove].

Sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself [ow!]

Passion takes over me.

I feel like a man Going insane Losing my brain…

Trying to maintain…Doing my thang.

Hey hey hey hey hey.

Put my heart and soul into this y’all.

I hope you feel me.

Where I am, to wherever you are…

Sometimes I don’t want to be bothered.

Sometimes I just want a quiet life,

with Me and my babies, me and my lady.

Sometimes I don’t want to get into no war

[Black people to be free, to be free…].

Sometimes I don’t wanna be a soldier.

Sometimes I just wanna be a man, but

Umi said shine your light on the world.

Shine your light for the world to see.

My Abi said shine your light on the world.

Shine your light for the world to see

[I want black people to be free, to be free, to be free].

My dreamers(?) said shine your light on the world

[Want black people to be free, to be free, to be free].

Shine your light for the world to see

[Want black people]My elders said shine your light on the world

[Hey hey]Shine your light for the world to see

I want black people to be free, to be free, to be free.

All my people to be free, to be free, to be free.

Oh black people to be free, to be free, to be free.

Oh black people to be free, to be free, to be free

That’s all that matters to me

Black people unite and let’s all get down.

Gotta have what,Gotta have that love,

Peace and understanding.

One God, one light, One man, one voice, one mic.

Black people unite come on and do it right.

Black people unite come on and do it right.

Black people unite come on and get down.

Gotta have what,Love, peace and understanding.

One God, one voice, one life, One man, gon’ shine my light

Black people unite, now hop up and do it right.

Black people unite, now come on and do it right.

Yeah baby that’s what I like.

Yeah baby that’s what I like.

Yeah baby that’s what I like…

Umi

NJ pro-gun law protesters post up on Sweeney’s front lawn

If more voting citizens took to confronting elected officials, the rate of change would be impacted.

New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis

Screenshot 2015-06-08 at 10.17.04

A cadre of protesters calling for modernized gun laws in the state took their case to Woodbury yesterday, where they marched outside the home of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3).

The top Democrat, they argued, is holding up certain gun control reforms that could help protect residents.

NBC Philly has the story.

View original post