Archive for January, 2008

Empathy for Britney Spears

The past couple of years have been a whirlwind journey for Britney Spears: I empathize for her (if you don’t know what has been going on with her just Google her name).

Now I don’t think that Spears should be a role model for young girls or anyone – I don’t think that most pop stars should be role models-, but I do think that the media needs to give Spears a break. She obviously has issues and recent news questioning whether substances influenced her ill-behavior with her children brings me to think that she perhaps some more severe mental issue.

The media – not only paparazzi – pays so much attention to Ms. Spears that she is not able to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Yes, she doesn’t help her self, but I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to know that everywhere you go that someone will be there watching, taking pictures and asking you questions. We are so enamored by her drama that it seems we perpetuate more theatrics. For Spears, who has been in the limelight virtually her whole life, maintaining that attention may very well supersede truly caring for ones self.

Spears grew up in a Southern Baptist home. I could make assumptions of how religious compared to how Christian her family was, but that is not the point. The point is that Spears knows general things about the Christina faith; David and Goliath, Moses and Egypt, Joshua and Jericho. She is sometimes seen attempting to find refuge in churches and with religious people. The tragic thing is that it seems that she has not been able to find that thing about Christianity that is deep and life changing. She seems to have the knowledge of Jesus, but not the faith in him and the peace that that faith brings.

I see spears as a little girl that is loss in the glamour of the U.S. and pop culture and someone who is desperately seeking something to fill her soul. To me, it seems like she has been doing this ever since she was a small child. I doubt that I will ever have the chance to see Spears in person, let alone have a conversation with her about faith, but I hope that she opens her heart and that the Lord using someone to touch her soul.

I will pray – even if just in passing – for a faithful redemption and reconciliation for Spears.

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“On the DL”

I just finished, “On the Down Low” by J.L. King the book is about black men who have sex with men. The twist is they consider themselves heterosexual, thus, “On the DL”. The book is an interesting mix of biographical,anecdotal and loosely-research based writing. King tells his story of being in the DL world, being seduced – although willingly- by an older man living on the DL (both were churchgoers; the older man a deacon), and loosing his wife and family because of his deceit, and adulterousness. King also tells similar stories of friends and acquaintances who have lost their families, are currently living on the DL or have admitted that they enjoy having sex with men (though they AREN’T homosexual).

The book is easy read and although it is at times uncomfortable read it is also intriguing. The crux of the book is not so much to prove the validity or justify the DL lifestyle – although it is subsequently done- , but rather it is to create awareness for women who may be in relationships with men on the DL or who have caught HIV from a man and do not understand why. King does not want women to become sucked into the same game his wife was sucked into – he genuinely feels remorseful. Nor does he want women to be with a man who is using her to live a DL lifestyle just because she “needs a man.” King argues that part of the reason for the increase in HIV in the African-American community is because these DL men are contracting HIV and then giving it to their wives and girlfriends.

I don’t agree that homosexuality is biblical and I don’t think that it is as simple as being “born this way” – although I believe that claim has some merit. However, reading this book brought up several questions in my mind:

Is it really legitimate for these men to say that they are heterosexual men who sleep with men, rather than homosexual/gay?

If not, how do we classify them?
Why do these men deny the label homosexual/gay?
What role does the church have in reaching these men?
How does the African-American community create awareness without paranoia?

If you have any opinion on these questions, or have any other thoughts
please comment.