New Book ‘Sex and the City and Us’ Celebrates 20th Anniversary of the Debut of ‘Sex and the City!’

Hello World,

Do you know what today is? It’s their anniversary…the 20th anniversary of the debut of the now iconic television show Sex and the City…yes, when we first met Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha! My love for the show has been documented in many posts on this blog since the show debuted on HBO Jun 6, 1998! And on today, its 20th anniversary, I must again pay homage to the show that was referred to as a “personal love letter to single women everywhere” and certainly helped me navigate my singlehood days…

Me on Carrie’s stoop when I visited NYC back in 2009!

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who wants to pay homage to the institution that was Sex and the City, journalist and author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is also doing so in her new book Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love.”

By the bestselling author of Seinfeldia, a fascinating retrospective of the iconic and award-winning television series, Sex and the City, to coincide with the show’s twentieth anniversary.

When Candace Bushnell started writing her “Sex and the City” column for the New York Observer, she didn’t think anyone beyond the Upper East Side would care about her adventures among the Hamptons-hopping media elite. But her struggles with singlehood struck a chord, making her a citywide—and soon nationwide—sensation.

Beverly Hills, 90210 creator Darren Star brought Bushnell’s vision to an even wider audience when he adapted the column for an HBO series. His four main characters: Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha, forever branded the actresses that took on the roles, redefined women’s relationship to sex, and elevated the perception of singlehood. With their fashion-forward lifestyle, they launched a barrage of trends, from fabric flower accessories to Manolo Blahnik shoes to Cosmopolitan cocktails.

Read the rest of the description at Amazon.com…

And if you want to support Miranda, I mean Cynthia Nixon (the actress who portrayed Miranda) as she runs for governor of New York (yes, GOVERNOR) particularly as it is SATC’s 20th anniversary, head on over to store.cynthiafornewyork.com!  

Finally, if you’ve never experienced Sex and the City, the vault of treasure that is this show will be opened up on Friday, June 8 on E! Following a special Sex and the City episode at 7 p.m., hold on for the Sex and the City 20th anniversary marathon of every episode ever starting at 7:30 p.m.!

And here is a scene from the last episode of SATC (Spoiler Alert. Don’t watch if you don’t want to know how it all ends…):

Any thoughts?

The Top 10 Blog Posts and or Magazine Articles for Black Christian Women in May 2018

Hello World,

I’m back with my monthly roundup of blog posts and or magazine articles for black Christian women! So below is my Top 10 monthly roundup of blog posts and or magazine/newspaper articles for black Christian women for May ( but you don’t have be a black Christian woman to to check them out 🙂  As usual, let me know if you like my list! Enjoy and share!

2.”How Female Celebrities Used Their Met Gala Outfits to Both Honour and Subvert Religious Norms” by Katie Edwards

Excerpt: Solange Knowles paired her braided golden halo with a black du-rag, pushing back against the notion that heaven is white and reminding onlookers that contemporary African-American sartorial culture is also heavenly. In an interview on the red carpet, Solange stated that she was directly influenced by the Black Madonna and African saints. See more at: independent.co.uk.

3. “Beyoncé And The Intersectionality of Faith” by Sonya Eskridge

Excerpt: By now you have probably heard of the Beyoncé Mass. At first glance, this looks like an entirely blasphemous church service praising Queen Bey, and many people of faith have taken deep offense to the fact that it even exists. Some have outright refused to watch the investigative piece about the service, dismissing whatever value it may have simply because it looks unorthodox on the surface. See more at: madamenoire.com.

4. “Austin Channing Brown: White people are ‘exhausting’” by Emily McFarlan Miller

Excerpt:  “White people can be exhausting.” That’s the first line in Austin Channing Brown’s new book, “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.” Brown, who writes and speaks about justice and racial reconciliation, said she chose those words carefully. “Exhausting” was truer than “frustrating” or any other adjective she tried, and, she said, “In the whole book, I’m trying to be as honest as I can about what it’s like to be a black woman who navigates whiteness on a very regular basis.” Plus, she said, she didn’t intend to write an introduction to racial justice. She wanted to move the conversation forward by sharing her experiences that showed how hard and sometimes dangerous it can be for a black woman navigating white Christian spaces, while also celebrating blackness. See more at: religionnews.com. 

5. “They Were the Only All-Female, All-Black Team in a NASA Science Competition. Then Came the Hackers” by Gianluca Mezzofiore 

Excerpt: Three teenagers came up with an innovative way to clean lead-contaminated drinking water in public schools — an idea so smart it made the finals of NASA’s coveted nationwide high-school science competition. The trio — the only all-female, all-black group in the finals — engineered a filter that purifies drinking water in old public-school buildings by detecting impurities such as chlorine, copper, and bromine.But when NASA opened the contest to online voting, users from 4chan, the image-based online bulletin board, launched a campaign to hack the results, forcing NASA to shut down the voting. See more at: cnn.com. 

6. “From Dating to Marriage, He Had a 5-Prong Plan” by Vincent M. Mallozzi

Excerpt:  “Both Elizabeth and Michael are really gracious, hospitable and friendly people, each with a wacky sense of humor,” Ms. Augustin said. “They are also very much grounded in their Christian faith, which is why I thought they would be perfect for each other. But as it turned out, the timing just wasn’t right for them as both were going through difficult times, so there was absolutely no spark.” See more at nytimes.com. 

7. Tuskegee Names Lily D. McNair as its 8th President by Michael Tullier

Excerpt:  Dr. Lily D. McNair will become Tuskegee University’s eighth president after being unanimously selected by its Board of Trustees. She will serve as the first female president of the institution in its 136-year history. McNair currently is provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Wagner College in New York City…Since Tuskegee University’s founding in 1881, it has been under the leadership of seven presidents — the first of which was Booker T. Washington, who led the institution from 1881 to 91915. See more at: tuskegee.edu. 

8. “White Woman Who Called Cops on Black BBQ in Oakland is Now a Meme” by Jessica Lipsky 

Excerpt: A woman in Oakland, California, who called the police on two black men barbecuing along Lake Merritt and became the subject of a now-viral video is now proliferating social media as a meme.  The woman hurled several racial epithets at the group and told them they’d soon be going to prison for their Sunday afternoon cookout, Newsweek earlier reported. In the video, the woman said her call had “nothing to do with their race.” The woman spoke with police, who arrived on scene to find both parties complaining of harassment. The officers wrote a report but issued no citations, made no arrests and allowed the barbecue to continue. In response, Oakland residents held a huge cookout on the same site on May 10. See more at: newsweek.com. 

9. “‘I Love Hate Speech’: Sarah Braasch, the White Woman Who Called Police on Black Yale Grad Student for Napping in Dorm, Defends Slavery and Supports Burqa Ban in Writings” by The Grio

Excerpt: “I was placed on the pro-slavery side of the argument. I remember spending many an hour in the local public library poring over Time Life books… And then I had a eureka moment. Some—not many, but some—of the slaves didn’t want to stop being slaves. A small number wanted to remain with their owners or return even after being freed. I knew I had just won the debate. And indeed, I did. I led our team to victory. The pro-slavery contingent defeated the abolitionists because, in a democracy, in the land of the free, who are we to tell people that they can’t be slaves if they want to be? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be free? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be regarded as fully human?” See more at: thegrio.com. 

10. “Black Ministry Students At Duke Say They Face Unequal Treatment And Racism” by Nick Chiles

Excerpt: “One of my classmates was sitting in a class, and she texted me and asked me to come to her class because a student was in her class saying, ‘N****** like you come here and think that you can just change everything. Why don’t you just learn what Jesus is really about?’ ” said Amber Burgin, president of the Black Seminarians Union, who is in her third year at Duke Divinity. “We are in classes trying to pull each other out of class to hear people making inappropriate slurs, like a white student calling someone a jigaboo and then claiming they didn’t know what that means. Or a white classmate calling a black classmate ‘ghetto.’ … I’ve had classmates who have had to take leave; I’ve had classmates who have left the program because they were tired of being treated in such a way.” See more at: npr.org.

If you know of any black Christian women bloggers and or writers, please e-mail me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com as I’m always interested in expanding my community of black Christian women blogs and websites. As I noted before, while this is a roundup of interesting blog posts and or magazine and newspaper articles for black Christian women, you don’t have to be one to appreciate these pieces  🙂.

Any thoughts?

 

Dancing in No Man’s Land: Moving with Peace and Truth in a Hostile World – NEW BOOK ALERT!!!

Hello World,

Are you tired of the conflict all around you?

It happens over and over again. A political argument with a friend, a fight about racial issues on the internet, a disagreement with a coworker―at the first sign of conflict, we flee to a bunker with people who think like us and attack everyone else. We feel safe there, but it’s killing us: killing families, friendships, civility, and discourse.

Our fractured world desperately needs a different way: people who will speak gently, value truth, and think clearly. Dancing in No Man’s Land is a rallying cry, a life-giving and practical journey into the way of Jesus that will revolutionize how you view conflict. You can choose to speak both truth and peace in the midst of war. You can step out of our bunkers and into no-man’s land, where only brave souls tread. It may look like you’re dodging cultural landmines. But you might just be learning how to dance.

What you just read is a description of my friend Brian Jennings’ new book Dancing in No Man’s Land: Moving with Peace and Truth in a Hostile World. Please see my interview with him below!

Why did you write this book?

Three things happened all in the span of one week, five and a half years ago (I know, I’m a slow writer).

First, I was reading about World War I. As the French and Germans battled each other, both sides dug into the earth. This was the beginning of widespread trench/bunker warfare. Neither side could advance without heavy casualties. The war was stalemated because of this tactic. The bunkers and trenches were full of rats, disease, mud, and sometimes dead bodies. Occupants dared not exit, because to do so would mean likely death. The land between the bunkers was called no man’s land.

Secondly, heated arguments erupted about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Some clambered to a bunker that accused, “If you support this bill, you hate our country.” Others shot back from an opposing bunker, “If you do not support this bill, you hate the poor.” People said these things in many different ways, but the message was clear: “You are either with me or against me.” I left many conversations thinking about bunkers. I didn’t want to hate anyone, which meant I needed to choose no man’s land – which meant I might get shot by both sides!

Thirdly, God taught me something from the book of Daniel. Daniel had been enslaved by King Nebuchadnezzar. He served the wicked king faithfully but, along with all the other wise men, was unfairly sentenced to death. Most of us would’ve plotted some form of revenge, defense, or attack. But Daniel 2:14 lept off the page to me: “Daniel responded with wisdom and tack.” Who does that? Throughout his life, Daniel never sacrificed a commitment to God’s truth or a desire to be at peace with people – even his oppressors. He lived in no man’s land.

The more I studied Scripture, I saw how Jesus also lived in no man’s land. I wanted to learn how to do the same, and I wanted to help the church learn how to pursue truth without assaulting those who disagree with us.

Why does the Church particularly need this message now?

Our culture is polarized, and the church has sometimes added to the mess. It’s possible for the church to, in its defense of truth, mistreat others. This only pushes them further into their bunkers, where they’ll attack back at us. It’s a never-ending cycle.

It’s also possible for the church to, in its desire for peace, to disregard truth – God’s truth. But every time mankind abandons God’s truth, they destroy themselves. God is loving and his ways are always best for our relationships, jobs, lives, and eternities. If the best the church can do is “be tolerant,” that’s a miserable existence. I hope you can more than tolerate me. I hope you will love me. I hope I can love you. Tolerance is cheap, but love costs a lot. If we separate God’s truth from our lives, we’re left with a powerless religion and a bunch of aimless lives.

When a woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus (John 8), he said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He showed unmatched grace to this woman. He offered her a path to peace with God. But before she left, he said, “Go and sin no more.” Truth still mattered to Jesus. This book is a call for the church to pursue truth and peace – at the same time. If we don’t, we’ll wound people, close doors, and wreck lives.

How have people reacted to the book so far? Was there a personal cost in being so direct?

Last week I spoke to 150 Middle and High School students about the book. Two days later, I spoke to about 150 seasoned Christians who work for a large Christian organization. It struck me that both groups equally resonated with the topic. Numerous people, at both events, told me afterward that this topic hit them square between the eyes. They told stories about family fights, social media fiascoes, and how they were so troubled at our divisions. I can’t find anyone who doesn’t feel the repercussions of our world’s bunker-living.

Living in no man’s land does come with a price, but the rewards are far greater. People won’t be happy when you refuse to join their bunker. We all like people to be on “our side.” What’s been most startling to me is when I’ve been accused of being something that I’m not. I’ve been lumped with far-right-wingers and far-left-wingers. That stings, but the reward is that I have doors open with many people. I haven’t forfeited relationships for the sake of winning an argument. In fact, we’re able to have productive discussions about serious topics without beating each other up.

I joked earlier about what a slow writer I am, but the truth is that God has impeccable timing. I believe he’s working in many ways to help the church pursue both truth and peace, and I’m humbled that he chose to let me be a small part of it.

What do you hope readers will do with what you’ve written?

My prayer has been that this book will help people find their way to no man’s land. The bunker metaphor has helped me a lot. When a heated news story breaks, I now see people running for their bunker and firing at those not with them. Then I pray about where Jesus would be. He’d hold onto truth (regardless of what others thought of him), but he’d make every effort to also show love, peace, gentleness, and kindness to people. If we can do this, we can actually help people have their hearts changed by Christ, and we can develop both compassion and wisdom too. For a while, it may feel like we’re dodging lots of bullets, but if enough of us commit to the way of Jesus, it will begin to feel more like a dance.

Brian has graciously agreed to give away one free book! The first person to comment on this blog post will get a free book! After you comment, send an e-mail to me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com so that I can get your mailing address.

Brian lives in Tulsa with his wife, Beth, and their four children. Brian preaches at Highland Park Christian Church and serves on the boards of Blackbox International (help for trafficked boys) and Ozark Christian College. He has written for Lookout Magazine, Christian Standard, and What’s In The Bible. You can learn about his books, Lead Your Family and Dancing in No Man’s Land: Moving With Peace And Truth In A Hostile World (May, 2018) at brianjenningsblog.com.

Any thoughts?