“The Nasty”

Reverend Colin A. Jones is a native of Columbus, OH and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion in 2003 from Morehouse College. He was licensed by New Salem Baptist Church in October of 2005. Reverend Jones entered Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ and received his Master in Divinity degree in 2006. Reverend Jones served Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT as their first youth pastor. Along with his esteemed wife, Pastor Jones is the proud Pastor of Shaker Heights Community Church in Shaker Heights, OH. His deepest desire as a minister of the Gospel is to bring forth real, relevant, and radical ministry to the church, the community, the nation, and the world.

A few years ago, I was privileged to serve as Youth Pastor in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where I facilitated an eight week “Keeping It Real” (KIR) curriculum to approximately thirty youth. One of the defining moments during our time together was a discussion of the term “sexuality” and how to have a more holistic perspective about it. For many of the youth, through no fault of their own, their understanding of sexuality had been limited to the act itself. Through the curriculum and after much dialogue, they began to remove the limitations that often were conveyed by friends, parents, the media, music, marketing and…the church.
Why is this important? When made aware of a broader perspective on sexuality, many of our youth began to have ‘flashback’ memories. That is to say, they began to see where they had missed the mark. As one youth remarked, “Hindsight is 20/20. If I knew then what I know now I would have seen the signs that led me to make unwise decisions.” Continue reading

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Children and Youth: The Invisible Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence

My name is Rev. Aleese Moore-Orbih. I have over 20 years of experience in Pastoral leadership, Women’s Spiritual Discipleship and Direction and 10 years of experience in family violence advocacy and leadership training. Most importantly, I am a Black Christian woman who loves our African American communities and churches.

Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

Okay, what really breaks my heart about domestic violence, beyond the 4 million women beaten and abused and the average of three women murdered by their husbands and boyfriends every day is its impact on children and youth.
On average, 10 million children experience physical violence in their home every year – including by witnessing it, and trying to stop it. This is the sad and true story of many of you reading this blog. But you probably do not talk about it, not because of shame but because it is so normal that it doesn’t seem worth talking about.
Of the 10 million children exposed to domestic and sexual violence every year, 60% are physically and/or sexually abused by their mother’s abuser. 10% get involved, try to defend their mother, or try to physically stop the violence. This is probably why 40% of the teen and young adult males incarcerated for murder and/or assault committed those crimes against their mother’s abuser.

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How Can I Love You If You Tie Up Both My Hands?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The National Black Church Initiative will feature blogs written by Reverend Dr. Aleese Moore- Orbih, CEO and founder of Front Line Consulting and The Lighthouse. Reverend Aleese has more than 10 years experience in family violence advocacy and leadership training. Equally important, she is a Black Christian woman who loves our African American communities and churches.

The first blog will call your attention to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), more specifically Domestic and Situational Violence with the backdrop of the current economic environment. The second blog for the month will provide an understanding of the impact of Domestic and Situational Violence on youth and it’s linkages to juvenile deliquency, disease, disability and early mortality.  Please share your feedback and questions about the issues raised for our communities and the Black Church. We look forward to the dialogue.

 Reverend Dr. Aleese Moore-Orbih

“How Can I Love You If You Tie Up Both My Hands?”                                                              The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin

It’s 2011 and October is still Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Are we still talking about that in the Black communities? What is up with that? I thought it was understood that we don’t experience domestic violence in our communities. We may fuss and fight when times are extremely hard, but we don’t have domestic violence. Ain’t that right?

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Am I, Are You, Are We Sexual Illiterates?

The National Black Church Initiative is excited to feature guest bloggers for the months of July and August. Our guests will include seminarians and pastors from across the country.  We look forward to hearing your feedback and comments.  Our first guest, Minister Lacette Cross is currently a seminarian at Virginia Union Seminary and sexual health educator for the National Black Church Initiative Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project: Generation to Generation.

The following blog was posted previously.

   Minister Lacette Cross

A blossoming womanist theologian in my 2nd year of seminary.  A black woman concerned with the healing of all peoples through the reconciling of sexuality and spirituality.  This blog is a safe space for engaging conversation with people of faith on issues of healthy human sexuality and the intersection of faith-filled living, loving and learning.

The nature of blogging affords me the freedom to find inspiration in what may seem to be unlikely places.  This morning as I was pondering on what to write I perused my twitter account (follow me @Blkbfly_musings) and came across a tweet “Many adults in the dark when it comes to sex ed” and decided to check it out; especially since this is an issue I’m familiar with but rarely see it being discussed.

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Open Letter to My Little Sister As You Graduate from High School

Nelson Jerome Pierce, Jr.

This is the season where many young people are graduating from high school and college, having achieved a major milestone, excited and anxious about the next station in life. Many young people still have not had a caring adult speak with them about navigating the thing that they most think about during these years: love, sex, and relationships. The blogs for BCI this month will be my letters to young women and men as they prepare for their future endeavors. 

I want to congratulate you, my little sister, on your graduation from high school. This is an important and necessary step in your growth and development, and I am very proud that you have taken it successfully. You may or may not have given much thought about what these next few years are going to look like. There are many decisions that you are going to make that will impact the rest of your life. Some decisions you will know, even as you are making them, are life-changing decisions, while you may only realize the major impact of other decisions on your life many years later. One of the biggest decisions you will repeatedly have to make is the decision whether or not to have sex, and if you choose to have sex, with whom and under what circumstances. As you well know, one of the Continue reading

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Courages Words and Bold Actions: Black Women and Reproductive Justice

Rev. Antoinette Kemp

Over the past couple of days I have been watching all the commentary given on the President’s speech regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.  In my opinion, the position that our President has taken is a bold step to move this country forward and to set the wheels of transformation in motion for global justice.  Many people have become distracted by the rhetoric, spending their time and energy talking more about what his statement means for his future as President rather than the essence of the message which is a call to responsible action.  I believe that there ought to be some acknowledgement for President Obama for having the courage to take a stand on a highly contentious issue.  It takes tremendous courage and integrity to publically confront political regimes and special interests in order to take a stand for justice, goodness and righteousness.  Taking a stand for that which is in the interest of all humankind is never an easy thing to do, particularly when it will be unpopular with particular interest group.  Like the President I think it is high time that we, the Black women and men in these United Stated of America take a stand take a risk for something bigger and greater than ourselves.

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Rev. Antoinette Kemp

I don’t know about you, but I’m a dreamer. Sometimes I can be in the middle of something intense and all of a sudden out of somewhere a vision or a dream drops into my spirit.  Now when this happens I try my best to acknowledge its presence and agency in my heart, because God is continuing to give us dreams.

Once I get wind of something, I can dream about it so much until I see it, feel it and know it like the back of my own hand. I can even get to the point where I just might need someone to bring me back to reality! Do you know what I mean? It’s like once God gives you a passion for something, you just can’t seem let it go.

Well, it is often like that for me as it relates to many different topics of humanity and social justice.  When I dream, I often dream of justice.  April is National STD Awareness Month, but it is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and in light of that I want to take this opportunity to spread the awareness about Human Trafficking and sexual exploitation.

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