How Now Sacred Cow?
April 13, 2004

Sacred cows exist in almost every sphere of life. I can't imagine Christianity to be much different. I too have my sacred realities that I'd like to hold on to. In fact, I still grapple with the reality of Easter or Resurrection Day as it pertains to my own upbringing. We have always celebrated it and my churches have always celebrated it. When I first began to seek more in depth study on the roots of Easter, it troubled me. In fact, it still does. For one, it troubles me because I feel immense responsibility for what I know (this is the burden of those that turn their back on God....the weight of sin on those with the knowledge of Christ is intense). I have always felt accountable to the insight, information, and revelation God has given me. It also troubles me because I am still coming to terms with what this reality means to me and my daily life. It always amazes me how we hold onto the familiar and the sacred with opinion and not scripture (if the Bible is truly to be our foundation for all things let us use that in why we feel we ought to have our holidays).

Consider Kwanzaa, the "African-American" traditional celebration that begins the day after Christmas. The truth about Kwanzaa has caused quite an uproar among many blacks over the last couple years as the drape has slowly been pulled to unveil a not-so-nice holiday. Last year I poked fun at the holiday as being "stupid". The reality is, not only is Kwanzaa stupid, it's also unBiblical, based on humanistic principles, and was founded by a murderer who hated God. The idea is broached every December as to whether or not black Christians should be celebrating Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa does have good principles. I mean, think about it. "Nia: purpose". God has a purpose for our lives. "Imani: faith". Have faith in God. "Ujima: Collective Work & Responsibility" God wants us all to be a part of His family. The body of Christ requires that we bear eachother's burdens and be responsible. In fact, many of Kwanzzas principles could even be considered Biblical. In fact, why can't we just take Kwanzaa and put a spin on it to glorify God? I mean, afterall, the principles are good, and just because its roots are not Biblical doesn't mean we can't observe it in the context of our other Christian celebrations. A likely story...

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The Foolishness of the Message Preached
April 13, 2004

Newsweek covered a story on-line this week titled, 'Get Your Praise On', referring to a new Christian venue called Club 3 Degrees. This "Christian Club" (immediately eliminate all worldly and hyper-religious perceptions of what you think a club entails), is a ministry of Living Word Christian Center in Minneapolis. The article goes on to mention a number of other similar endeavors going on across the United States. These "clubs" give Christians bands, hip-hop groups, dancers and DJ's an opportunity to showcase their talents. The dancing is kept holy and the bar is stocked with smoothies and italian sodas. If you haven't yet been enlightened, venues like this have been up and running for years but are now becoming more popular. When I was in college in Connecticut, there was this place called Club Swords where the local Christian Bands would perform. Club 3 Degrees however, is actually the largest venue I've heard yet boasting 18,000 square feet of a recreational and life-changing atmosphere.

Fundamentalists living under a rock cry bloody murder over the word "Christian" being anywhere near the word "club". I recognize their concern. I agree that it is important that lightness have no fellowship with darkness. I do think however, that we need to take a closer look at this issue. I was once against these establishments. In fact, at age 17, I was probably one of the biggest legalistic and fundamentalist freaks you'd ever meet. I thought everything was wicked. Part of that was my own personal conviction and attempts to overcompensate for the life of sin I'd lead prior to finding God. I thought a "Christian Club" was a bad concept. I actually still do if we're talking about the relative definition. Today, the average club (I've heard) is a meat market. Girls come dressed like skank-ho's seeking fulfillment and approval in meaningless relationships. Guys come looking for the next girl they can "hit it" with and toss to the side. Then there are the people that say they just come "for the music" or "for the dancing". A likely story. Whatever the case may be, there is nothing about the worldly version of a club that can be called Godly, even if you change the music.

Continue reading "The Foolishness of the Message Preached">>>

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Happy Easter: contending for the faith
April 12, 2004

(p.s. jeans are hot right now, you just have to know how to rock 'em right)

This Sunday, the majority of Christians (and non-Christians) in this nation will pack out churches everywhere to celebrate a pagan ritual called Easter. The thing that always gets me is that most Christians realize the holiday is not Biblical, but we "compromise" and celebrate it anyway. Many pastors and church leaders use this as a prime opportunity to "evangelize the lost". I can't knock that. However, I do have issues when we center our evangelism around "events". And yes, I too have friends who are "Easter Christians" or who got "Easter-saved". The way I see it, God is going to draw people to Him no matter how silly our tactics are. And for those of you who watched Condoleeza Rice's hearing a few days ago, we all know what tactics are right? Other pastors, unfortunately see it as a prime opportunity to "get a big offering". Either way, I continue to be disgusted by church advertisments for "Easter" as though it were something Biblical and deep. Yes, Christ's resurrection is deep, but us getting ourselves worked up over a holiday which historically opposes God cannot possible be pleasing in God's sight. Some churches have stopped calling it "Easter" and started calling it "Resurrection Sunday". We can rename it all we want. We were never commanded by the Bible to celebrate Jesus' resurrection in this manner. Yes, this week is significant in Biblical history, but according to the Hebrew calendar, not our own. Christianity in America is steeped with pagan traditions we need to be ridding ourselves of. We need to do the research to find out what's really behind the holidays we celebrate. I still ecounter Christians who celebrate Halloween. What the hell? (yea that's right I said hell. It only seems applicable here). If we seek to align ourselves more closely with the scriptures, we should actually have celebrated "Passover" this past Tuesday. Some research on the traditions of Passovers reveals a rich Biblical history of symbolism.

I've asked my parter in crime, resident theologian and scholar Andre to write a guest post coupled with his research around why Christians shouldn't be celebrating Easter. That will be up on Saturday morning. Until then, I won't be observing this pagan holiday. I won't be buying a new outfit (in fact, I'll probably wear jeans to church like I did last year), I won't be wearing pastels and I won't be doing anything different but congregating with the believers and praising, worshipping, and celebrating our God. Happy Sunday to you all!

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Why I'll be Wearing Jeans to Church this Sunday
April 9, 2004

(p.s. jeans are hot right now, you just have to know how to rock 'em right)

This Sunday, the majority of Christians (and non-Christians) in this nation will pack out churches everywhere to celebrate a pagan ritual called Easter. The thing that always gets me is that most Christians realize the holiday is not Biblical, but we "compromise" and celebrate it anyway. Many pastors and church leaders use this as a prime opportunity to "evangelize the lost". I can't knock that. However, I do have issues when we center our evangelism around "events". And yes, I too have friends who are "Easter Christians" or who got "Easter-saved". The way I see it, God is going to draw people to Him no matter how silly our tactics are. And for those of you who watched Condoleeza Rice's hearing a few days ago, we all know what tactics are right? Other pastors, unfortunately see it as a prime opportunity to "get a big offering". Either way, I continue to be disgusted by church advertisments for "Easter" as though it were something Biblical and deep. Yes, Christ's resurrection is deep, but us getting ourselves worked up over a holiday which historically opposes God cannot possible be pleasing in God's sight. Some churches have stopped calling it "Easter" and started calling it "Resurrection Sunday". We can rename it all we want. We were never commanded by the Bible to celebrate Jesus' resurrection in this manner. Yes, this week is significant in Biblical history, but according to the Hebrew calendar, not our own. Christianity in America is steeped with pagan traditions we need to be ridding ourselves of. We need to do the research to find out what's really behind the holidays we celebrate. I still ecounter Christians who celebrate Halloween. What the hell? (yea that's right I said hell. It only seems applicable here). If we seek to align ourselves more closely with the scriptures, we should actually have celebrated "Passover" this past Tuesday. Some research on the traditions of Passovers reveals a rich Biblical history of symbolism.

I've asked my parter in crime, resident theologian and scholar Andre to write a guest post coupled with his research around why Christians shouldn't be celebrating Easter. That will be up on Saturday morning. Until then, I won't be observing this pagan holiday. I won't be buying a new outfit (in fact, I'll probably wear jeans to church like I did last year), I won't be wearing pastels and I won't be doing anything different but congregating with the believers and praising, worshipping, and celebrating our God. Happy Sunday to you all!

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April Fashion Critique
April 7, 2004

Well folks, it's been awhile since I last shared some thoughts on the fashion trends of today. And while yes, Uggs are still hot, I've located another nemesis. Well, two.

The Miniskirt Trend
So if you're alive and breathing, I'm certain you've been to the mall or at least in a public setting recently. I also don't doubt you've spotted the resurgence of one of the most horrific trends of the 21st century: The miniskirt. And might I add, it's the mini mini skirt trend. These skirts are so short you'd mistake them for belts. Though this trend is not new, I have a hard time believing miniskirts of the 70's were as short as these hootchie-fly skirts girls (and GROWN women) are wearing these days. My usual comment to ladies who feel the need to expose the upper fatty part of their legs (AKA their butt) while wearing these skirts is, "Don't bend over sweetie." And to think that sane mothers actually let their daughters leave the HOUSE with these things on is just sickening to me. Think I'm being too conservative? Now look, I am a 22-year-old single woman with a severe addiction to spending money in retail clothing and shoe establishments. I won't lie, I love fashion, and I love certain trends and styling. Though I have arguably crossed the line on "ultra-conservative dress" in the minds of most of the women in my church born before 1861, I certainly am modest. Always. That's the least a lot of young women can say these days. If you've entered the doors of most fashion retailers, these little scraps of fabric they call skirts are EVERYWHERE. Once the trend subsides, perhaps stores can sell them as dishrags.

The Low-Rise Pants Trend
"Hey you! Yeah you over there with the oh-so-cute Abercrombie & Fitch courderoys on. Nice pants, I like the color, but I can see your THONG! Please kindly adjust yourself so I do not have to stare at your undergarments." I cannot recall the number of times my enjoyment of a very good double bacon cheeseburger has been ruined by some chick bending over to tie her shoe and exposing her hind parts to me. At first I thought people just didn't know, but now it has become a full-blown trend to expose your underwear. Seriously. People do this intentionally and it is slutty and floosie-like behavior at best. There is a proper way to wear low-rise pants, and if you can't abide by the rules, then don't wear them at all. Oh, and another thing. For all you women who have a cellulite dilemma in the lower waist back and frontal areas (not judging the dilemma, just stating the facts), please refrain from wearing low-rise pants PERIOD. They are not for everyone. Trust me, this is for your own good. It does not make you look your best. Whew, okay, there I said it.

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News from the Nykola.com Headquarters
April 6, 2004

I feel like an idiot for having begun my weblog via blogger. I just didn't think. Blogger's served me well, but it's time to move on. My vision for this website is much bigger than my measley little personal journal. It is my goal by the end of April to completely re-design my site and transfer to Movable Type. The thought of this terrifies me. How in the world am I going to convert 4 months' worth of posts? Anyone with insight on how to do this, please let me know. I would like to make it out of this transition without needing therapy for my trauma.

I've also got another blog/website in the works with some other folks that I'm very excited about launching. We're shooting for mid-Spring so be on the lookout for that too.

I am also announcing that I am hereby kicking my lame sister off the writing team. Her little "one-post-back-in-January" self can get lost. I still love her, and hopefully once she graduates in June, she will have more time to be a worthwhile contributer. She's very smart that girl. I'm sure others would like to hear, err..read, her insight. Until then, she's banned.

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Born Lucky?
April 5, 2004

A study out of the UK seeks to scientifically attach a "luck factor" to why some people succeed in life and why others don't. The end goal is to help to "Develop techniques that enable others to enhance their own good fortune". The project also includes a "luck school" where you can enroll yourself and be aided in your "good fortune". Can we say wicked silliness? I suppose humanity would seek to attach some measure of "fate" to why some people are successful (which has a loose definition by the way) and why others aren't. I've generally found that most people do this as an excuse for why their lives aren't up to the standard they think they should be. The "leaders are born" message has hurt human potential. People sit back and discount their ability to be a leader in life because they're been indoctrinated with the philosophy of old that there are certain people born into leadership. Are leaders born? Absolutely. Can leaders be made? Absolutely. The potential for leadership is in every human being. People will of course lead in different capacities, but they WILL lead nonetheless. People can be born into great influence and that of course, automatically propels them into leadership whether they choose it or not. If only celebrities and prominent political figures offspring could understand this. If your last name is Bush, don't do stupid things. You are a leader. Deal with it.

The idea of "luck" is I suppose the counterfeit version of what I call "the favor of God". God's favor is for those who serve Him. The truth of the matter is, the equation for success in life is quite simple: serve God. That was free. No $200 "Grow-your life" Seminars, or scientific studies on the "luck factor". Plain and simple, serve God.

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An Open Letter to American Idol
April 5, 2004
*Warning. Lame, shallow, and remorsefully pitiful post*

To Whom It May Concern:

Last year I made perhaps one of the biggest mistakes of my life: I started watching your show, American Idol. Here I was, a renegade supporter of anti-reality television ideals and I fell off the proverbial television-addict wagon. I was never on the wagon to begin with so I suppose that's a bad expression. Let's just say, I was "run over" by the wagon. In fact, not only did the wagon run over me, it also dragged my body a couple miles and left me for dead. I'm not really much of a television watcher. I'm actually the nerd that watches Animal Planet, C-SPAN, and Nickelodeon (for Cosby Show re-runs of course). When the American Idol bug hit me last spring, Tuesday evenings at 8pm quickly became "very serious" to me. I found myself doing strange things like not answering my phone, cutting off communication with my friends and family, getting into perhaps one too many non-work-related debates on whether or not "Ruben will beat Clay", yelling at my television, eating dinner on the couch so I could be closer to the idol action, and running to get second servings during commercials. Don't be mistaken. I still got my dose of commercial indoctrination. Your show is a major corporation's dream. It's a beast of consumerism you've created, and it's also made one very washed up psuedo-celebrity, one British playboy, and one hokey black guy mighty rich. This third season of your show really had me hooked.

Well, I've done some flesh-searching (that'd be the even more carnal version of "soul-searching"), and it has ocurred to me that I can no longer worship at the idol (no pun intended) of Fox's Talent Trippery. Time is a rather precious thing and I once again "re-discovered" my need of every bit of it (including that 1 hour time slot on Tuesday nights). I also "re-discovered" the fact that said television show will in fact, not save my soul, increase my finances, nor help my productivity for the Kingdom of God; and unless I have high aspirations of being a female vocalist (a false dream I am certain my family and friends would plead that I not pursue), American Idol is making more money off of me than I it; and therefore I must make perhaps what has been the biggest of decision over the last two hours of my life.

It is with mixed emotions that I announce to you and my relative world, that I, Ambra (last name witheld), am kicking American Idol to the curb. I have nothing against your show personally. In fact, I quite like your show very much. It is time however, that we depart. It's been "real" and "fake" all at the same time. I shall remember you always and forever recall how you singlehandedly turned a tiny, nobody, Asian boy, UC Berkley student, named William Hung and might I add perhaps one of the worst singers I've ever heard, into a pop-culture superstar. You're brilliant you idol people. You truly are.


An Avid WatcherCoke Sucks,
Ambra Nykol
Seattle, Washington

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Caption This Please...
April 2, 2004

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That's It! I'm Becoming a Smoker
April 2, 2004

When a company looks at its sucess I assume there's a number of things they use to measure productivity. I doubt companies are tracking the number of their employees who are smokers. If I owned a company, I sure would. Many of the "smokers" in my company spend approximatey 20% of their work day outside of the building, on the loading dock, smoking like chimneys. Do keep in mind that this is above and beyond their normal breaks. One would think an employee who's stepping away from their desk every 45 minutes is not the most productive -- especially if their job is not analyitcal, but more systematic. I don't doubt they're good people and good workers, but they sure do cost the company a lot of money while they're outside feeding their addictions.

When I was in college I worked as a waitress (a job that singlehandedly beat the crap out of me and made me a more compassionate person), and EVERYONE on staff was a chain smoker. Keep in mind, this was actually a somewhat good thing since they had all once been alcoholics and drug addicts (it's one addiction for another I guess). I know it sounds odd, but understand, the restaurant manager was a former alcoholic and invited most of her AA meeting buddies to come on staff. When I noticed that I was being shafted in my break time because I didn't smoke, I started demanding "clean-air breaks". I'd go outside and just breathe. This of course, bothered my co-workers, but they took the hint. Employees and their "issues" can most certainly have an impact on the bottom-line. Like for example, the number of employees who have personal weblogs. Now that could really affect productivity.

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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
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Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
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