May you and your family continue to grow in love, excellence, kindness, and compassion!
May you become more relational and sensitive to human needs and suffering!
May you use your seat of power and privilege to do good and contribute to the common good!
May you strive to be a better brother, sister, father, mother, friend, co-worker, and a companion!
May the Most Merciful and the Most Gracious & Sovereign God bless every step you take, guide every decision you make, and radically transform you to imitate his most excellent communicable attributes and moral virtues in the new year!
On behalf of the popular blog, Haiti Then and Now, from January to August 2022, I interviewed ten scholars for the well-known series called “Haitian & Haitianist Thinkers in the Public Space: An Interview Series.”
Wifey and I vacationed in Dominican Republic in March.
Family Trip/Vacation in Paris (France) and Lisbon (Portugal) in June.
My little book on Christian catechism was translated in Spanish in June: “El Catecismo de la Nueva Vida para Niños” (English title: “The New Life Catechism for Children: 100 Questions and Answers to Teach Us to Live in Peace and Good Relationships in the World”).
Katia and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in August, and we traveled to New York.
My first book of poetry was published in August: “Pearls of Light in the Raindrops: Love Poems.”
Josh got his Learner’s Permit in August.
One of my most important books on theological education and Christian theology was published in September: “Theological Education and Christian Scholarship for Human Flourishing: Hermeneutics, Knowledge, and Multiculturalism” (Pickwick Publications).
In October, I attended the 34th annual conference of Haitian Studies Association at Howard University and in November, was elected as the organization’s Vice President.
This poem celebrates the influence of a Father in his son’s life, even after he’s gone. As a father of two sons, this poem is very personal to me.
“Voice of My Father”
Powerful and loud, redirecting his steps by the sea Holding on to the promise of hope to be the father’s charm To follow his steps ahead, he will be the star above The father’s words claim a wandering son
This life below wanders away from the father’s truth Painful is tomorrow’s joy Hope is far when he is not near to tie up the bow The father’s voice follows the run-a-away son
I wrote this new poem for those who are lamenting over a past love or a negative experience in the past. At the end of the poem, the poet is optimistic about the possibility of a future romance or a bright new adventure.
“Farewell to an Old Lover”
I flirt with life I end up with Love, the garden of earthly delights Endurance subdues my heart Like a lion in the forest
I flirt with life I let go of all my worries Life is now cool Like a flowing river at dawn
I flirt with life I know it is true You can’t tell me otherwise The rose on the other side of the river will bloom again
Love is a practice. Rest is a practice. Peace(making) is a practice. Empathy is a practice. Kindness is a practice. Doing good to others is a practice. Forgiveness is a practice. Transformation is a practice. Tolerance is a practice. Humility is a practice.
None of these human virtues or qualities is natural to any human being in the world. In other words, each individual is responsible to learn how to rest, love, make peace, and show empathy and kindness toward other people. We do not naturally prompt to forgive those who’ve wronged us nor do we automatically demonstrate acts of goodness and compassion toward all people. Growing is natural to our evolution and experience in life, and we must grow always toward these ideals and perfections.
However, we can love and forgive people by seeing how it’s done to others. While we may have the disposition to perform or demonstrate any of these human qualities, it might require an external force, an influencer in our lives from whom we can learn, lean on, or look up to practice the good life and humanize all aspects of life. Sometimes, all we need is the heart of a mentor and the will of a role model. Remember that every virtue is connected to humility as an everyday practice.
Therefore, surround yourself with individuals who are known for practicing good virtues and others who strive daily to live in community and harmony with others, act relationally, and have the intentionality to make living more humane–toward the common good and human flourishing in the world. Having a good mentor and role model is vital for character development and the radically-transformed life.
Learn to be a “practitioner,” and a “doer” of all these things for the sake of all people. A practitioner understands that good virtues are part of the different processes and phases of life that make individuals more humane, and that these ideals are in-tune with the reality of life and human experience. As you continue to grow toward these virtues, be patient with yourself so you could also mark people’s lives through your radical kindness and love.
I have just been informed that my new book on Jean-Bertrand Aristide, “Aristide: A Theological & Political Introduction” (Fortress Academic), which is set to come out on Feb. 15, 2023, can be pre-ordered online:
The Divine touched the earth by giving us a star to behold and light our path. Its origin is as ancient as the oldest galaxy, greater than the big bang of life force. Securing in its hands are many gifts for all God’s children: Bethlehem joy in the time of sorrow Mighty comfort in moments of trouble Just liberation for tomorrow. We followed its lead and learned to walk by its side: one step toward its love, two steps to touch its heart, three steps until we become one.
Our eyes were watching the star not to overcome it, but to welcome its joy into our homes. We became anxious by its proximity, and willingness to find another home. It moved gently and kissed the dust tracks of life, transforming them to glory on high, birthing new children of grace to the Father on high, with the gentle touch of the Spirit of love.
We marvelled and lost track of time. It holds eternity in its right hand, our life through time that will never end. The star filled the vast space in which it migrated: abandoned corners of the earth renewed, hidden spaces made visible, erased sins with the pencil of God. Our eyes were watching God, Three in One, becoming a star to give us light and redemption.
“Love and Commitment Among Young People: Year 2023 and Beyond”
Commitment to relationship in the twenty-first century is progressively becoming something of the past; it is indeed a rare occurrence between young people in the American culture and of this generation, especially among young American males.
Let’s hope in the new year (2023), young people will give love another chance, will love more passionately and more actively, and will commit to each love more faithfully in loving relationships and marital bond.
Nonetheless, it gives me great joy and delight to see many young men in this generation are making more marriage proposals to their future spouses, and they’re celebrating them openly on social media and with their friends. This attitude toward love gives me abundant hope as many young men in this generation are often afraid to love and worry about deliberate permanent commitment to relationships and intentional long-term marriages.
Here are my five words of advice to you:
Do not rush to love when the moment is not favorable.
Do not postpone love when it is the right time and most beautiful thing to do at the moment.
Genuine love and sustaining commitment work together, and they should never be separated in relationships or marriages.
Love and desire are not the same, but desire fuels love toward beauty, kindness, passion, and reciprocity.
Love should always link to passion to make it more envious, enticing, and delightful.
Love is an imitation. Learn from those, including your parents, friends, and family members, who have cultivated years of strong bond of love and nurtured a life-commitment to endless love and fidelity.
Always remember that love still remains the highest form of human virtue and the most desirable emotion among people, as well as the highest expression of self-giving, life-commitment, and human openness/hospitality.
Farewell 2022: 5 Things to do before the end of the Year!
Send off the final manuscript to the publisher: I am co-editing with the amazing scholars of religion Drs. Charlene Desir and Lewis A. Clormeus a book entitled “Interreligious Dialogue Between Vodou and Christianity”
Publish Op-ed on Haiti Intervention situation: the readers of Haiti Then and Now will be happy to read this excellent piece by a well-known scholar and award-winning novelist.
Contact several scholars for our interview series entitled: “Haitian/Haitianist Scholars in the Public Space: An Interview Series” (to read our most recent interviews, click on this link: https://haitithenandnow.wordpress.com/interviews/). I hope to welcome the new year 2023 with one of these published interviews.
Finish writing a book chapter: this essay is on Haitian feminist activism and intellectual tradition for my forthcoming book “Haiti in a Global Frame: An Intellectual History” (University Press of Mississippi). I determine to finish this book in 2023. The book is two years past due!
Finish writing a book proposal on the Greatest Black Theologian in the 20th century: It will be a book on the intellectual and theological life of James H. Cone.
I hope you have a restful and happy holiday season!