Get Ready to be Rejected!

Get Ready to Be Rejected!

Rejection is natural to human Life and Experience.

  1. Got rejected to the PhD program at Princeton University, Northwestern University, and University of Chicago; interestingly, I persevered and went on to earn three Masters degrees and two PhDs.
  2. After I earned my PhD at #UT Dallas, during my first year as a PhD holder, I applied to over 50 academic positions, including both assistant professorships and postdoctoral fellowships; I didn’t get any of those positions. The good people at #IRSC – Indian River State College believed in me and gave me a job. Currently, I’m an Associate Professor there.
  3. My first book proposal got rejected by at least five publishers before it found a home; second book proposal by at least three publishers before it was published; and third book proposal by at least four presses before it came out. Since then, I have published eight academic books in some good presses.
  4. My first academic essay on the role of religion in the Haitian Revolution was rejected by my favorite academic Journal; a second essay on the religious philosophy of Price-Mars was first rejected by another favorite academic Journal; another essay on Jean-Bertrand Aristide was rejected by two journals. Since I’ve gotten my PhD, I’ve published more than a three-dozen peer-reviewed articles.
  5. I’ve been rejected numerous times by people I call friends and those whom I truly loved, and even by pretty girls I really liked in High School and College; finally, one whom I really loved dumped me, hurt me badly, and left me behind for another boy 🙂

***The point of this post is not to lose heart and be discouraged after a rejection or many rejections, but to learn from them and improve yourself. A rejection is not a failure, nor does it say anything about your worth or that you are incapable of performing the task. Sometimes, rejections are good for your mental stability, psychological and emotional growth, and ultimately your success and welfare in this journey we call life.

The Proofs Are Here: “Aristide: A Theological and Political Introduction”

Breaking News, Folks!!!

Finally, the good people at Fortress Academic sent me the proofs for my forthcoming book on Haiti’s first democratically-elected president and liberation theologian Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The book is entitled “Aristide: A Theological and Political Introduction” (Fortress Academic, 2023). The book is pp. 346 + index.

The proofs and the index are due to the publisher in two weeks. I am so thrilled about the publication of this important work.

Can’t wait to see the book cover 🙂

“The First Human Group and the First Theology about God”

“The First Human Group and the First Theology about God”

The first human group in human history is the first recipient of divine revelation, and it is to these human beings, not any religious system, God first revealed himself as Loving-Creator & Sustainer of the world. In other words, this first human group articulated the first theology about God. What we know about God (the knowledge of God) has its source in the theology of the first people of the world. We must also remember that the first people of the world were not Jews (Judaism), Christians (Christianity), nor Muslims (Islam). This is the first question about God Christian theology must respond to in the twenty-first millennium in order to get a proper understanding of God’s movements in the world and active engagements with his human creation.

The first theology about God by the first human group was a revealed theology that created a community of human proximity and a people whose vision of God did not embrace the logic of colonialism and human exploitation. The first (revealed) theology about God is (was) the theology of divine love and divine proximity because God’s first revelation to the first human beings was “love” and “presence.” God is love and loves human beings. God is present and near his creation.

“For a Thousand Suns”: A New Poem

I am not sure if this is an appropriate time to write a “love poem,” as we who live in Florida are facing a terrible storm: Mr. Ian. Well, love always wins, even in the midst of life’s greatest storms. Thus, I wrote this poem, “For a Thousand Suns,” to celebrate the infinite value and endurance of love. Love is stronger than a thousand hurricanes.

“For a Thousand Suns”

I love you with the fire of a thousand suns
When darkness grows darker like the disappearing moon,
You calm the storms of Jupiter
You, the eternal fire, become a companion in the night
When my days, were filled with woe
You became my true champion in battle

I love you with the fire of a thousand suns
By your pure, august ray,
I may still sing the beauty of may
When all the yellow suns shall go away from sight,
Your eternal beauty shall transform the night

I love you with the fire of a thousand suns
Your touch my shackled soul will save
Your voice, proud, tender, is sacred
Shine on me, you, abounding in kindness and glory
In humble obedience, I shall learn your story

I love you with the fire of a thousand suns
Ten thousand more years of youthful moments,
Will you still love me freely?
You, cabin warm and welcoming, cradle me in balm
Of unforgettable dreams and delightful envies
Our destiny? Who will dare limit our histories?

I love you with the fire of a thousand suns
You, bearer of eternal beauty and unruly love,
You, become my hopes, my prayers, and my visions
Gone the pain thereof,
For you I see, for a thousand years,
And your voice I hear, from a thousand ears.

“Theological Education and Christian Scholarship for Human Flourishing” is Published!

I just received word today from the Marketing Department that my new book “Theological Education and Christian Scholarship for Human Flourishing: Hermeneutics, Knowledge, and Multiculturalism” (Pickwick Publications: September 2022) has been published and can be ordered online.

Book Details

Book Description:

This book explores the interconnection of theological education and Christian scholarship, cultural and theological hermeneutics, pedagogy and community knowledge, democracy and citizenship. Yet, the three major disciplines or discourses covered in this work include multicultural education, theology, and hermeneutics through the lens of human flourishing and the concept of the good life. From this angle, this project is written from three different methods and approaches that intersect with each other: a theology of contextualization, a hermeneutics of interculturality, and a pedagogy of cultural literacy and transformative community knowledge. The book advances the idea that theological education should be the starting point to foster candid conversations about the importance of democracy and human rights, civic engagement and the political life, inclusion and diversity, and pluralism and difference in our multicultural society. The book uses the tools of multicultural education and cultural knowledge to enhance democracy and promote fundamental human virtues that would sustain the good life and human flourishing in the world–in the Aristotelian sense and in the Socratic idea of local and world citizenship. Finally, this text offers an alternative vision to contemporary theological education, to deconstruct the white, male, and Eurocentric narratives of theological education and Christian scholarship.

——–

I am thankful to all the amazing and insightful scholars who first read the manuscript of the book in its early phase.

I am grateful to a group of thinkers and theologians who reviewed and endorsed the book.

I am grateful to all my seminary professors who introduced me to the world of Christian academia and theological education, and who invested in me as a Christian thinker, writer, and theologian.

I am thankful to the various churches, both white and black churches, that I have attended and served as member, leader, preacher, and teacher. The people of God in these various multiethnic and multicultural congregations have opened my eyes and given me a new and fresh perspective about the enormous value of diversity (ethnic, cultural, gender, racial), inclusion, and multiculturalism in theological education and in the training of both men and women for Christian ministry and academic vocation.

Finally, my patient and very generous wife has given me the freedom and flexibility to think, write, and research for this book. This is very important to me because I spent 20 years working spontaneously on this book, as my initial research for this book began in my second semester of seminary in 2002. This incredible woman was by my side and provided unconditional support when I started seminary in Louisville, Kentucky 20 years ago.

To the praise, glory, and excellency of the most gracious, the most beautiful, and the most merciful triune God!!!

“Betrayal”

“Betrayal”

How old is your soul?
You are struck by the slap of love
You crave attention and cover the pain with a mask
He does not know the beauty in the dark,
but I care about the fantasy of your pleasure
Could his hands be a healing balm for your soul?

How old is your soul?
You open your wings to the breathing sunrise
He hides away from the beating sound of your heart
He does not buy you heirloom roses in summer seasons,
but I will cover your feet in the raging winter.
Will he hold your hands when it rains?

How old is your soul?
You are searching for the lyrics that make you smile
and the home where you belong
He does not know the story of your life,
but I know the language of your love
and will bring back the memories
Will he carry you when it snows outside?

“Desire”: A New Poem

For the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to put in poetic imagination what happens when someone is taken away by desires and overwhelmed by passion. So today, my words and feelings are expressed in a poem called “desire.” Let me know what you think.

“Desire”

You grow in me, the sweet flame that burns
I turn to you and am overwhelmed by your stormy gale
You claim my parts and forge a steady path toward sacred passions
Give me vision, I will be your faithful companion
Lead me, I will be your intimate prostitute.

You move within me, the river whose streams make glad the face behind the veil
You become the precious fruit in the garden of my heart and the loudest sound in the night
I touch with care and step to the edge to gather love
You rule my days and command my nights
Teach me, I will be filled with the knowledge of beauty.

You live in me, the city with infinite candles of light
I climb the stairway to heaven to find you
You raise your lamp up high to see my world below
Tears roll down, mixed with vague delights,
I become your forever gaze,
It is your feelings that become my remote control
Dance with me, I will be your daring adventure.

“Scent in the Wind”: A New Poem

“Scent in the Wind”

Fresh, colorful scent in the wind
that carries away the news of a renewed romance
Written in purple letters, “Nous aimerons toujours”
So long hidden in the secret of the pit
So far away from the delight of an unending love
Scent of wind, wind of scent!
Come and bring down the rain to shower the eyes of the heart.

Like a glasswing butterfly, we can see the pain through your wings
You live away where the moon greets the stars with morning peace
You escape the rise of the healing sun
You reach the destiny where love is cold,
the place wherein passion declines like the movement of the wind.
Scent of wind, wind of scent!
Come down and restore the world’s broken wings
With sporting brilliant color displays, you will make lovers fly again in strength and power,

Fresh, colorful scent in the wind
that stops the clock of human suffering
We breathe again through your seven scents that give us sweet dreams
We are strong again through the sense of your smell
Like a curator in an art museum, you are curating every day the fragments of our life
To behold as a revealed treasure,
a new and beautiful story that runs at the speed of the wind
Carrier of healing in your clear-sighted wings, you will bring beauty and life to the wounded soul of the world.

“Love Flows in the Smile: A Poem”

“Love Flows in the Smile”

Love words flow from our lips
like rain that falls from the beautiful sky
Our words are musical notes that play in perfect harmony with our hearts’ beats
Tap, tap, drum, drum, beep, beep
as we dance to the unceasing beat of our love
our very own love song,
we smile
We  have each other
We smile through the rain.
Our love affair will last an eternity
as long we don’t forget to smile
dance to our hearts’ beats, and sing like the rain on the beautiful bluest sky.

“Blue Note in New York City: A Poem”

Here is a new poem I wrote about New York. Hope you like it 🙂

“Blue Note in New York City”

The city of pleasure, the city of filthy rags
The city of all senses, the place of madness
Human creativity fills up its sides
boys & girls look up to its skies
lovers caress under its infinite lights, when the sun makes its bed in the West.

The city of pleasure, the city of divine regards
The Harlemites sing its joys verse by verse, when the moon refuses to give up its smile
The Caribbeans made the Yankee life their own, but street birds remind them of their uprootedness and new home.

The city of pleasure, the city of human links
Newcomers learn its tricks in comedy clubs
Men and women understand its slangs through
the melody of Blues and Jazz delights
The Lady of Liberty reminds the world about the paradox of American freedom & hospitality.