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beautiful feet

How lovely on the mountains  Are the feet of him who brings good news,  Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness,  W...

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Psalms 23 (TPT)

God is my Best friend and my Shepherd. 
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me 
In His luxurious love.
His tracks take me to the quiet brooks of bliss, 
The oasis of peace.
That’s where He restores and revives my life.
He opens before me the pathways to God’s pleasure,
Leading me along in His footsteps of righteousness,
So that I can bring honor to His Name.
Lord, even when Your path takes me through 
The valley of deepest darkness
Fear will never conquer me, for You already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of Your love takes away my fear. 
I’ll never be lonely for You are near. 
You become my delicious feast 
Even when my enemies dare to fight.
You anoint me with the fragrance of Your Holy Spirit, 
You give me all I can drink of You until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future? 
For I’m being pursued only by 
Your goodness and unfailing love!
Then afterwards— when my life is through
I’ll return to Your glorious presence 
To be forever with You!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

p r o m i s e d 2 0 1 6

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! 
— Luke 1:45

Wow so another year has just passed by. And we are at the very last days of 2016. As I bid 2016 good bye, I would like to continue this tradition of making a final blog post of the year. So here goes. Well maybe a little too late since i've postponed this post for the longest time.

I stayed up last night thinking. This past year has been scattered for me. I find myself in places i've never been, unable to navigate my feelings and emotions. I would admit that I allowed my emotions and feelings for get the better of me so many times. So much grace was necessary especially towards the latter part of the year when Grandma passed away. I was a literal blur for the rest of the year.

But by God's grace and mercy He never left my side through it all. And even when i'm so far away from family, He has comforted me. Every night. Every time "I couldn't do it". Maybe you're thinking, "my grandma passed away" was probably the worst excuse to give for not being able to function optimumly. But sadly, it has left me a little disshevelled I would say. Even fending with school was hard.

But that is not what I came to talk about. I came to talk about how God's love overwhelmed me last night as I reflected. Looking how far i've actually been is surreal.

A few years ago, before embarking on pursuit of my degree, Jesus so tenderly and lovingly promised me that he will bring me through it all. By God's grace I am here today. He has pulled through when circumstances said otherwise. When finances was the biggest obstruction. Regardless. Jesus never breaks his promise. And over the years, i've learned more and more to believe. That i'm worthy of being promised to. Worthy of being loved. Worthy of the mercy and grace given.

So many days I don't feel that way. I feel like the biggest sinner on the planet. Yet even in those days God's unwavering love remains faithful.

And that is what makes me come undone. Totally undone.

With that, I am so ready for this new term. I will have my hardest classes this year. But I think this is where I have faith that I can attain wisdom and grace for the season. Jesus is, and always will be good. Regardless of my circumstances and my inadequacy.

Here is to another year of faith. A year of dismissing the feeling of unworthiness. Inadequacy. Because who am I kidding? I am in the hands of the bestest friend I know who happens to know very well how this world runs ;)

Here is to adventures with you, Jesus.

read my 2015 post here

Thursday, 29 December 2016

American Fed Gov - Freedom of Speech (FIRE)

The freedom of opinion and expression was penned as the 19th Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations (United Nations, n.d). Evidently, the freedom of speech of any individual has an imperative value. It is believed that America prides herself in the freedom of speech as it distinguishes her from any other country. This element of freedom is especially vital in the education system. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. FIRE was formed to purposefully defend and sustain the individual rights of students attaining a higher education (FIRE, n. d). Up till now, FIRE has closely and successfully the freedom of speech and speech codes in close to 400 colleges across the nation.

FIRE evaluates the selected schools through different criteria’s. In hopes of simplifying their ratings, FIRE bases their ratings using the traffic light system. Just like any normal traffic light, there are three lights namely red, yellow and green. To begin with, the ‘Red Light’ rating signifies that there is a policy in the school that ‘clearly and substantially’ restricts the freedom of speech. ‘Yellow Light’ shows that there are policies in the school that restrict a more limited amount of protected expression. In simpler terms, this light is given when the school is vague and does not actually define the line between what is acceptable and what is not. For example, when using the word “Verbal Abuse”, the term abuse is not defined as to what it encompasses. Thirdly for the ‘Green Light’ rating, the school does not seriously limit speech. In fact, there is a freedom for free expression in this school. To name a few, schools with this rating are schools like Duke University, Arizona State University, and Carnegie Melon University.

However, there is also a gray light that means that the institution is ‘not yet rated’. An exception from the traffic light system is the ‘Warning’ rating. This is especially for private institutions. These institutions are run solely by private associations and they possess the rights to prioritize their own values. This means that the freedom of speech is not necessarily emphasized or valued in this institution. Therefore, per the FIRE rating system, there are only five categories as to which a school can fall under.

The two schools compared for their FIRE ratings are the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Oklahoma State University (OSU). The difference in the level of speech regulation is the comparison factor studied.

The University of Oklahoma (OU) received a ‘Yellow’ light rating because per FIRE,
they have at least one policy that is ambiguous and can be easily abused by people in power. Their policy for residence life was vague and received a ‘Yellow Light’ rating. This is demonstrated in their Resident Life policy. For instance, they have a community living guide for room decorations. This clause basically means that any Residence Life staff possess the authority to tell a student if his or her decorations are offensive. This is horribly ambiguous as it is up to the discretion of the staff to judge what is and what is not offensive. If the staff has a very liberal view, and the residents are bringing offensive posters, they may not ask the resident to remove it. In a reverse situation, the same applies.  If the residents think their friend’s poster is offensive and the staff does not agree, there is no clear guidelines. Therefore, it is ineffective in promoting free speech. However, they have a ‘Green light’ policy in terms of non-discrimination policies. This is especially relevant after the recent cases of the SAE fraternity’s chant that went viral. Also, the freedom of speech is encouraged with the allocation of places to demonstrate or protest. OU has allocated at least twenty venues on the main campus for the freedom of speech. They do not require prior reservation and can be utilized by any student. Other than that, the Registered Student Organizations are highly dedicated to ensure that the equipment for any protest is made available with prior booking. This is very significant as James Madison phrased it well when he said “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” Organizations like the Black Lives Matter movement have taken advantage of this opportunity to freely express their views on campus. This is undoubtedly empowering for the students who are driven for their cause and very much facilitated by OU.

Oklahoma State University (OSU) received a ‘Red’ light rating because they have at least one policy that restricts the freedom of speech. OSU’s harassment’s policy received a ‘Red’ light rating. This is because they have defined sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination. This sounds a little absurd as sexual harassment does not have anything to do with gender. While it is generally understood that females are usually the victims of sexual harassment, there should be no stereotype to this kind of treatment. That policy earned OSU their ‘Red’ light rating. However, they received a ‘yellow’ light rating for the expression of free speech. Unlike OU, OSU did not specially allocate an area for free speech on the campus. Students do not know for sure if they can demonstrate or protest without being comprehended. However, they received a ‘green light’ for being information technology appropriate. This is because their computer usage policy has banned the communication of facilities from sending harassing or obscene messages to anyone. Therefore, the policies in OSU are ambiguous for the reason stated earlier.

George Orwell, renown novelist said “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” This is because the truth is not necessarily a generally accepted idea. Speech codes when utilized correctly, may bring about meaningful conversations. In the college setting, every student should aim to attain knowledge. Knowledge in this context encompasses the learning with a cautious mindset of not taking everything as it is. This is because education may sometimes be biased. For instance, the History course are authored and told from the perspective of the white man. This is one-sided and does not bring into perspective the slave’s view, the native American’s view and other side characters. Clearly, students should always seek out the truth and question the ‘why’ behind what they are learning. It is crucial to ask hard questions with the best intentions of seeking truth. Other than that, students need the ability to think for themselves for the speech codes to bring about any meaningful change. For example, the n-word is very offensive to the black students on campus, yet the SAE fraternity brothers took it upon themselves to make a song out of it. They are not aware that it is just a rude word. It has a deeper meaning to them as it prods the past lives of the black people in the country. Most of them having a background of slaver and being associated with the n-word in that era. No sane person will be upset for no reason over a single word. Therefore, with the hopeful mutual exchange of perspective, meaningful conversations will eventually be birthed.

As a conclusion, the free speech code was created with sincere intentions to promote unity and celebrate diversity. However, it is up to the students in the schools to abide by the code, honor the code and preserve the code. The rights of the students to free speech should be looked on as an effort to dispel any kind of misunderstandings and stereotypes. With the diversity present in Oklahoma, speech codes should be revered to ensure that there is a comfortable line to where every member feels respected. To sum it up, Mokokoma Mokhonoana, South African Philospher said that, “Freedom of speech is unnecessary if the people to whom it is granted do not think for themselves.”