Thursday, December 30, 2004

Natural Disasters

One of the steps required to marticulate toward the electrical engineering degree at Stanford University is grinding out electrical design labs. It’s basically 3 and a half hours every week designing and building circuit board contraptions with chips and timers and lights and making it all come alive and operate properly. It’s where those equations in our textbooks met live action. In each lab we are paired with a lab partner, mine happened to be my riding podna from Ohio….

Bruhs gotta stick together if we go make it out of here man.

Word.

So if we take this lab together, if you slip, I can help pick you up and if I slip, you can help pick me up.

Word…that sounds like a plan to me.

And so our social bond transcended to the educational realm. You can’t be lab partners with ALL your friends, cuz some of them will sink you down to that same F that they’re going to get because they’re not working hard or just plain stupid. Fortunately me and my lab partner were equally confused, so we made a good team.

One particular afternoon, and I remember it so well, because earlier that week, one of my dorm mates had gotten hold to some World Series tickets (A’s vs Dodgers) and he offered me a free ticket to join him. Of course I was DYING to go to a World Series game..fo free??!! Shiiii…but, if I went, I would have missed my lab and gotten a zero and stuck my lab partner out, so I passed on the free ticket and went to lab that day in an aggravated mood. So we’re sitting at the table with our circuit board between us and both me and my lab partner had snapped back and forth at each other in the first hour or so of the lab.

Man..I don’t know how this sh’t is supposed to work.

Me either. I thought you said you had already worked through all of the lab problems?

I drew em up..but I still don’t understand how this is supposed to work.

Oh great! I would have a dumb az for my lab partner!

Aww n’ga, you ain’t done sh’t to help!!

We both retreated to our lab books, heads down with furrowed brows trying to figure out flip-flop registers, when the table started shaking. I looked over at my lab partner with an agitated look of disgust, Man..at least stop shaking the d’mn table! That ain’t’ ME shaking the table!! I thought it was you… Before he could finish his sentence, the shaking got more intense, enough so that we realized it wasn’t just the table shaking, but the whole room. Our lab monitor was some young engineering doctoral candidate from Indiana who obviously didn’t know sh’t about earthquakes. Because as soon as the whole room realized something was REALLY going wrong, he yelled out to the entire class..

Okay!! It’s an earthquake!! Everybody to the center of the room!!

Right after he said this, the entire class got confused and started looking around at each other, ‘What? To the center of the room? That’s not what you’re supposed to do in an earthquake??!!’ When we all turned our questions back to the lab monitor, we were dismayed to see that he had already ran out of the building and left us. It kinda crossed my mind that he told us to go to the center of the room to make sure he had room to get out, but in retrospect I think he was already somewhat soft and he just panicked. When we all made our way outside of the Engineering Research Laboratory, there were a lot of students, faculty and staff congregated outside on the streets. The tremors were still shaking enough that I felt I was on a boat and I was intently staring at the ground waiting to see if it was about to crack open and alternatively glancing up at the sky waiting to see the 2nd coming of Jesus.

You might be laughing, but if you’ve ever been in one of those natural events like an earthquake then you know it will trigger your REAL feelings of the hereafter. That particular earthquake was in Loma Prieta, California in 1989 and the whole Bay Area felt it’s effects. Freeways collapsed, houses and building were destroyed, and it was a chaotic time for a lot of people in the wrong place at the wrong time. The worst part was that after it happened, all of the phone lines went down, so I wasn’t able to call my family back home in Houston and let them know that I was okay.

We had a 6-bedroom apartment or suite as they were called, and each of us had our own room. But later that evening, after the initial earthquake, there were aftershocks, which felt like smaller tremors that always had the potential to trigger an even larger earthquake. So needless to say, we were all on edge a bit as we watched the news reports of freeways collapsing and cars falling off bridges and other graphic depictions of death and destruction. There was a suite full of women that lived next door to us and later on that night, they all came over to our place and we all slept on the floor in our living room. Somehow there was a strength gained in numbers that allowed us to joke about our predicament, but through all the laughs, we had all faced a moment of clarity. Life becomes a lot sweeter when you realize just how close you came to losing it.

Back on the Southside, my mother and father were in their bed asleep, when they got a phone call late into the night from my grandmother in Arkansas, Big Mama. She had been watching the news and she saw the scenes of havoc and melee caused by the earthquake and she knew that one of her grandsons was going to school in the same vicinity… (my mom picked up the phone)

Hello?

Faye?

Hey mama.

You sleep?

Yes ma’am..how come you’re not?

Well, I was watching the news and I saw that earthquake out there in California. Ain’t D somewhere nearby?

Yes ma’am..Stanford is close to San Francisco.

Have ya’ll heard from him? Is he alright?

All the phone lines are down right now..we haven’t been able to get in touch with him yet.

Well, have you called the police or the hospital out there?

(sighing) Mama..why are you up worrying?

I just couldn’t sleep because I was worried about our son.

Don’t you know the God of Israel never sleeps and never slumbers (Psalms 121:4)?

(pausing) Well…yes.

That means you don’t have to worry about it, it’s in His hands. Go back to sleep, you staying up worrying ain’t go help nothing. I already prayed on it and I left it with Him, I’m going back to bed.

Some people listen incredulously when I tell them that story, because they have a hard time imagining how they would respond if one of their children was in a similar situation. The day after Christmas, when the news of the large earthquake (9.0 on the Richter scae) out in the Indian Ocean triggered a huge tsunami, I couldn’t help but think back to my experience of being in an earthquake back when I was in college. The Loma Prieta was a lot smaller in magnitude (7.1), but whenever the earth is moving and you have no idea if and when it’s going to stop, it’ll make your heart skip a bit or two. I really didn’t know anything about tsunamis, so I did a little research on it.

The word tsunami has a Japanese origin, with the ‘tsu’ meaning harbor and the ‘nami’ meaning wave. When submarine (underwater) earthquakes happen, the ocean floor abruptly moves and with such force, that instantaneously, the surface of the water takes on the same unleveled pattern of the ocean floor thousands of feet below. When this much water moves that quickly, it triggers a tsunami wave. It’s kinda like throwing a pebble in the middle of a still body of water. There’s rings of energy that emulate out in concentric circles away from the point of origin, or in this case, the epicenter of the earthquake. If you were flying over the ocean looking down, you would probably never even notice the tsunami wave, because it’s not as obvious to the naked eye. But as the wave propagates toward shore at speeds up to 500 mph, the crest of the wave starts to grow taller as it gets to more shallow water. So by the time it comes ashore, it’s a huge wall of water crashing into land and it’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.

This past week we have all been faced with pictures of death and destruction by this tsunami and so often the question comes up, ‘Why would God let such a horrible thing happen to so many innocent people?’ It’s easy to praise God and have faith in Him when you feel that He has looked upon you and yours favorably. But for those who feel that God has turned His back on them and allowed pain and anguish to enter their lives..well, it’s a lot more difficult to tell those folks that God is very much alive and that He loves them. Because they feel neglected or cursed and a lot of them grow bitter and resentful because they feel that God hasn’t done ANYTHING to help them. Many people start walking around with a chip on their shoulder, ready to fly off the handle and go agg at anybody who ‘comes at them wrong’. They’re like a wounded animal, hurt and extremely dangerous.

I wish I knew the words to say to these people who have lost their hope. Well, I know the words to say, but so often their pain is so deep, that they’re not ready to hear Bible Scriptures of reassurance. God’s ways are not our ways and sometimes He allows seemingly bad things to happen to good people. We can’t explain it, because most of the things that’s going on in this world are on a deeper level than we think it is. Time is marching on, the prophecy of the return of the King is steadily being fulfilled. A lot of people get dealt a difficult hand in life and they want to quit. Kinda like in dominoes..

Say mane..we gotta reshuffle this hand, I got all doubles.

So? You get what you GET n’ga!! Deal with it!

It takes a very strong and mature person to realize that adversity and pain are a part of life. Soldiers soldier up and keep marching on on that battlefield. Of course, sometimes we might have to make a pit stop and get down on our knees and pray for the strength to conquer that mountain of pain. Or maybe we might need to take some time off so that we can have a nervous breakdown and then rejoin the battlefield once we get tired of being certified crazy. That’s a joke of course..at least kinda, but ya’ll know what I’m talking about.

My prayers go out to all those who have been affected by this latest tragedy that has hit planet earth. As the death toll continues to rise we still have to be mindful that this is far from the greatest natural disaster that caused the most death. Back in July 1201 there was an earthquake that hit the Eastern Mediterranean that caused over 1.1 million deaths, mostly in Egypt and Syria. So no matter what it is you’re grieving about, always remember that it could be worse and no matter what storm it is that is going through your life, you’re still HERE baby. Some may argue against it, but I’ll go all night with you on this one, it’s still a blessing to be amongst the land of the living.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Reason for the Season



On this date 2 years ago, all of the family and friends of my grandfather, the late Bishop Sam Scott, assembled in front of the house on Liberty Street in El Dorado, Arkansas before we made that short ride over to the church for the funeral services. I served as a pallbearer along with 5 other grandsons of Big Daddy. For those who have yet to have that front row funeral experience, all I can tell you is to get ready, because seeing a person who was an integral part of you being on earth lying still in a casket will make some strange feelings run through your body. I’ve never been one prone to emotional outburst, but this was a completely different experience. There’s an energy that can run through your soul during sensitive moments like funerals that words cannot express. Some folks scream, some yell, some pass out and others just do like I did and cry silently.

The weird part is, is that the tears were not necessarily a product of the uncertainty of death, but I was really mourning all of the memories that I had shared with my grandfather almost like a flashback highlight reel going through my mind. But it really got on that other level when towards the end of the flashback moments, when I looked in the casket I didn’t see Big Daddy, I saw myself. The reality is that we ALL must pass that way one day, that’s for sure.

And when my cousin Jamar got up and sang a spirit filled rendition of “My Soul Has Been Anchored in the Lord”…it was almost like my whole being was elevated to a higher level of consciousness and all I could do was cry. Of course, I wasn’t the only one who felt it, because almost the whole church was crying or shouting by the time Jamar got finished.

Being around your family, the people who share your lifetime of memories, of family reunions and those times when we spent Christmas in Arkansas, made me more convicted in preparing myself for my day to be on display in a casket. Bottom line is, no matter what your accomplishments might be in this world, when it comes down to that time you take that last breath, if your soul is not anchored in the Lord, where will you go?

Of course, when you ask that question to the general public, you’ll get thousands of different answers with the expected agnostic pragmatic responses, ‘Ain’t nobody here that has been dead and came back, so no one really KNOWS what happens when you die.’ People are skeptical of the Bible for various reasons. Some inherited a predisposition against Jewish people, “I ain’t about to believe something that God said would be given to us by JEWS!” From anti-Semites to atheist, there is a multitude of folks who don’t believe the Bible at all, then there’s some who believe parts of it while ignoring or overlooking the things in it that just doesn’t sit right with them. The one thing about the Bible that sets it apart from any other published work is all of its prophecies, which have come true.

Let's take a look at this book that so many have rejected.. It was written over a 1500 year time period, by over 40 different authors, on three different continents, and in three different languages. It contains over 2000 prophecies that have been fulfilled without error, and it gives one message. (John 5:39) There are no inerrant prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:22) in the writings of Buddha, Confucius, Lao-tse, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon, or any other religious or secular book in the world. (Isaiah 46:9-10) All religions also attack the deity of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) and teach a salvation by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Before Israel even became a nation, Moses predicted that Israel would become a great nation, would rebel against God, and would be scattered over the ENTIRE earth, and be brought back into the land before the second coming of their Messiah. (Deuteronomy 28) In 1948, 3000 years later, it happened! The Egyptians, Caanites, Phoenecians, Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, Romans, Spainards, Turks, Germans, English, and the combined Arab world have tried to eliminate Israel, but the Bible prophesied that Israel would exist forever, (Jeremiah 31:35-37) The Bible predicted that Egypt (like Israel) would exist throughout history, but only as a very poor nation.

There are at least 300 prophecies that deal with Jesus as the Messiah, all written at least 400 years before He came. Liberal scholars denied these prophecies; claiming that the Bible record was inaccurate or that it could have been changed or rewritten. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls silenced the critics when a complete Book of ONE Isaiah (Matthew 15, Luke 4) was found without one single change or discrepancy! This amazing Book of Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would (1) be virgin born (7:14), (2) have a forerunner--John the Baptist (40:3-5), (3) be worshipped by wise men with gifts (60:3),(4) be called a Nazarene (11:1), (5) be filled with God's Spirit (11:2), (6) be a minister to the Gentiles (9:1-2; 42:1-3), (7) be a healer of multitudes (51:4), (8) speaks in parables (6:9-10), (9) His miracles would not be believed (53:10), (10) be rejected by His own nation (53:3), (11) be scourged and spit upon (50:6), (12) be crucified between two thieves (53:12), (13) be buried with the rich (53:9),and (14) be given the eternal throne of David. (9:6-7)

Many skeptics claim that these prophecies are not very "specific." However, these prophecies predicted the entire life and ministry of Jesus Christ--from His virgin birth to His resurrection. For example, they predicted that Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) from the seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), at approximately the close of the sixty-nine sevens of years (Daniel9:25). They prophesied that wise men would adore Him (Psalm 72:10), that all the infants in Bethlehem would be massacred (Jeremiah 31:15), and that baby Jesus would return to Egypt (Hosea 11:1). They foretold that He was to be introduced by a messenger--John the Baptist (Malachi 3:1), His ministry would be in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1), and that He was to be a worker of miracles (Isaiah 35:5). They predicted that He was to ride into Jerusalem on a colt (Zechariah 9:9), be rejected (Isaiah 53:3), be betrayed for the exact price of 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12), and the money was to be thrown into the potter's field. (Zechariah 11:13). He was to be beaten (Micah 5:1), spit upon and scourged (Isaiah 50:6), nailed to the cross (Psalm 22:16), mocked (Psalm 22:7-8), and given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21). They predicted His intercession for His murderers (Isaiah 53:12), yet he was to be patient and silent during His suffering (Isaiah 53:7). Psalm 22:1 predicted His exact words on the cross 400 years before crucifixion was even invented.

Other predictions were that His garments would be parted and that soldiers would cast lots for them. (Psalm 22:18). He was to be numbered with his transgressors (Isaiah 53:12), to die (Isaiah 53:12), and His bones were not to be broken (Psalm 34:20). He was to be pierced in His side (Zechariah 12:10), to be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9), resurrected (Psalm 16:10), and to ascend (Psalm 68:18) to the right hand of God. (Psalm 110:1) to exercise His priestly office in heaven (Zechariah 6:13).

The Bible is all the way real mane, it’s stood the test of time and it’s the bread of life that is a daily source of nourishment for millions of believers around the world. Folks who have anchored their soul in the Lord keep their ‘sword’ by their side at all times. Because no matter what it is you’re reading or listening to, unless you’re deep off into that Word, you’re subject to be mislead by false teaching. It’s events such as the passing of a loved one that will make you thirst to know God for yourself and it’s times such as the Christmas holiday season that will make you reflect on the REASON that we’re celebrating. A lot of folks get caught up in the hype of Christmas, because that’s when retailers make their most money, which in turn causes the skeptics to raise their eyebrows and smirk in derision at the Christian faith, with some even mocking us for celebrating a ‘pagan’ holiday.

December 25th has been the observed birthdate of Jesus since the 1st century, but it’s not because of anything that’s in the Bible. The Bible does not specifically speak of Christ’s actual birthdate and it’s something that the Church never celebrated until around 300 A.D. The reason we use this particular date (Dec. 25) has a lot to do with pagan sun worshippers.


You see, the earth revolves around it’s axis at a tilted angle. In the middle to latter part of December, the Northern Hemisphere has the winter solstice, which literally translates to ‘sun stands still’. It’s the shortest day of the year with the most tilt (23.5 degrees) away from the vertical axis; and after that day, the sun begins to climb into the sky at a higher angle, thus giving us longer hours of sunlight. It was during this time that the pagan worshippers used to worry that the sun would eventually burn out and they recognized the winter solstice as the day when the sun was reborn and began to show up more in the day, thus they had feasts and festivals to celebrate this occasion. When you look at historical monuments such as Stonehenge or Newgrange in Ireland, you’ll see that they were built in such a way that they illuminated this astrological phenomena as the winter and summer solstices.

An utterly astounding array of ancient cultures built their greatest architectures -- tombs, temples, cairns and sacred observatories -- so that they aligned with the solstices and equinoxes. Many of us know that Stonehenge is a perfect marker of both solstices.


But not so many people are familiar with Newgrange, a beautiful megalithic site in Ireland. This huge circular stone structure is estimated to be 5,000 years old, older by centuries than Stonehenge. It was built to receive a shaft of sunlight deep into its central chamber at dawn on winter solstice. So then when the early church started to become more involved in government and determining laws, the date December 25th was chosen as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, so it kinda gave both the pagans and the Christians a reason to celebrate during this time of year.

Of course, Christmas trees, presents, Santa Claus and all that other stuff ain’t in the Bible either, that’s just part of other traditions that filtered into the church. So yeah, there are a lot of non-believers as well as a lot of Christians who do not ‘celebrate’ Christmas. But once you are convicted in your faith in Him, you can see more clearly through the traditions and shortcomings of man, and just enjoy the season, because no matter WHAT date Jesus was born on, you’re just happy He came. Ya feel me?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

December 21st

December 21, 2004


First of all, I'd like to give a warm welcome to all of the first time visitors to servinemup. My name is D.E. Washington and I've been blogging on the internet for about a year and a half. The blogging tool is a wonderful instrument for the novice writer to get valuable feedback from a diverse audience of readers. I've found that the life of a writer is very rewarding and also very demanding. Because there's a special power in the written word that makes it a very influential device. Some readers believe everything they read and take off, wiser readers know that just because somebody wrote it down doesn't always mean it's true.�He who writes the history books controls his-story. So much of what spills out of me when I pick up the pen is a direct release from my quest for truth and peace. Historically, I will be known as a Protestant African slave descendant from a working class Southern Baptist family from the Southside of Houston, Texas via Union County, Arkansas. I'm one of those Sola Scriptura folks, I believe the Holy Bible to be the complete and inerrant Word of God. That in itself puts me in a different category than most folks in the world. Some folks are already frowning up with doubt and disbelief ..


C'mon mane! You know them white folks have changed the Bible over the years to make it say what they want it to say.


Oh yeah? What part?


Uhhhh..


Exactly.


One of the major historical finds in the history of man was that of the Dead Sea Scrolls almost 60 years ago. The scrolls date back to the time period when Jesus walked the earth. The scrolls were from a conservative�community of Jews in Qumran�and when compared to the modern day translations of the Law and Prophets, the text were nearly identical save for a few grammatical discrepancies. The book of Isaiah was found completely intact and exact to the Isaiah that we have today. Isaiah is a very important prophet in Christianity, because more often than any other prophet or book of the Old Testament, Isaiah 'shot called' the coming of Emmanuel, 'God with us', over 500 years before Jesus was born (Is 7:14).


Much like myself, I know that the first leap of faith that must be made to reach Christ starts with the Word of God. Whose book are you going to believe? Because there's a lot of 'holy' books 'inspired' by God that people claim to have, but it's up to us to discern and determine which one is real. My premise is the same as Martin Luther's when he stood before the Diet of Worms in 1521


"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God...God help me! Here I stand."
So look out ya'll..one of those Southside soldiers has been reading and studying that Word, as well as Israeli and Greek history and I'm pimping this pen with the purpose of turning father's hearts back towards their children. Because of all the things going on in the world today, Iraq, economy, healthcare, violence, the REAL problem we have starts in our homes. That is where we are failing our children, but not training them up in the way that they should go, and I know God has put it on my heart to show people what I know about the sacrifices it takes to be real fathers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

On the Battlefield

On the Battlefield - December 15, 2004


Holeup there now D!!



Wazzup?



You slipped that ‘Obedience is Better than Sacrifice’ in on the cool, cuz when I came to your site the other day, you had this picture of some dude named Clarence and the title was, On the Battlefield..but I couldn’t quite read the words under the picture.





That was a page from the funeral program of Brother Clarence A. Simmons, the Scripture under his picture was from I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in thework of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Brother Simmons was one of the teachers at Blueridge Baptist church and God called him on home and we had his funeral last week.



Called him home??



That’s a common Christian terminology for our mortal death. It refers to the passing of the spirit from our shell of flesh so that we might be present with the Lord.



So when Christians die, they immediately go to Heaven?



That’s what the Scripture says in II Corinthians 5:6-8
"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."



Ohhh..okay..I guess that’s an empowering thing to know.



Already! That’s why we say Brother Simmons went home, because we know that he was a man that lived the life on the battlefield for the Lord. Brother Simmons was one of the teachers at Blueridge Baptist Church that grew up under the tutelage of the late Pastor W.D. Richardson. Pastor Richardson was a very compassionate and powerful soldier that groomed and prepared many ministers and teachers to go out and be fruitful leaders in the church and the community. Brother Simmons’ passing creates a void on the battlefield that will be sorely missed, but yet we must continue to move on toward the glory.



What ‘battlefield’?? What are you talking about?



Do you know that song that goes,



“I am on, the battlefield, for my Lord,

I am on the battlefield, for my Lord

And I promised Him that I

I would serve Him til I die

I am on, the battlefield, for my Lord..




Man D…it’s a good thing you can write, cuz you can’t sing worth a damn! (laughing) But yeah..I’ve heard that song before.



That’s the battlefield that I’m talking about, the one for the Lord. Brother Simmons heeded his call to Christ and he served as a fruitful servant of the Lord, his sound Biblical knowledge and teaching has fortified many soldiers on that battlefield, including me.



So you knew him?

Yeah..actually he wasn’t just a church member, he was also a neighbor and golf buddy. We lived on the same street, and years ago, when I first started playing golf, he took me under his wing and taught me the many nuances of playing the game the right way.



Bible scholar, teacher, golfer, sounds like Clarence Simmons was a real soldier.



Already. He helped me a lot along my spiritual journey, because talking to him was always an enlightening experience. He had a firm grasp of that Scripture and he was always ready to talk about God’s Word.



Sounds like he shoulda been a preacher if he was all into the Bible like that!

Just because someone loves the Lord and is hooked on to that Bible doesn’t mean they’re called to be a preacher. God calls us into our own different capacities, including preachers and teachers.



Oh..I see. I guess I just don’t have that many people around me that get all off into that Bible like that..



It’s cool..I think it’s good for everyone to reflect on their skills and talents and pray to the Lord to guide them toward the purpose He has for each and every one of us. I’m going to miss Brother Simmons for the fellowship we shared, not just at church, but also on the golf course and even in the neighborhood where he would often drive by my house and stop to talk whenever he saw me outside…



Whatcha say there young man?? (he leaned out the window of his Suburban and smiled at me)



(smiling back) Heyyy Brother Simmons! What’s going on??



Hey! Whatchu think our boy Tiger Woods go do now that he done got married??



I’d imagine he’d get a bit more focused and come back and have a stronger year next year.



Some folks say that marrying that white girl done got him distracted from golf.



It don’t matter the color, no matter what woman you fool around with, they all get you distracted! (laughing)



(laughing) I know that’s right!




But Tiger still had a good year though, he came in 4th on the money list and won over $5 million.



Yeah..but he couldn’t touch brother Vijay!



I know! Vijay was just on that mission this year.



Yesssuh!! Vijay just got that consistency..we went down there to the Houston Open and watched him hit balls on the driving range, he puts in that work!




Yeah..no matter what you do, you have to put somework into it..just like reading the Bible..most folks just want to show up at church and read the Bible verse for the sermon, then they go home and never pick it up again until the next time they’re in church.



You got that right! You got to read that Bible everyday! That’s where you get yo strength from. (heh-heh)



Brother Simmons always got excited and pleased whenever it was time to start applying that Bible to everyday life. Because no matter how long or how often you go to church, the real application of the Christian life takes place in those daily steps that you take on the battlefield. And as we walk along the sometimes murky path of life, trying to find our way amongst a sea of questions and decisions that comprise our journey, the Bible serves as a guide and law for us to heed and abide by. When you take that Scripture and make it a part of your life, of who you are and what you are striving to be, that’s when you join the battlefield for the Lord.



That Brother Simmons sounds like a cool dude..I’m sad to hear that he passed away.



Yeah..me too, but it’s a path that we all must tread one day. Our job while we are here in this body is to remain obediently on the battlefield and perform our duty for the Lord no matter what. You don’t give up til you go up.



How do you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing tho?



All Disciples of Christ are bid to take part of the Great Commission.



What’s the Great Commission?



When Jesus addressed the remaining 11 disciples before His ascension, He told them in (Matt 28:19) ‘Go ye therefore and teach all nations..’



Yeah..so?



It’s the commission to spread the Word of the Gospel of Christ..it’s our orders.



But Jesus was talking to the disciples, not regular folks.



If you believe Jesus Christ is Lord, then you ARE a disciple.



Oh. That sounds kinda..creepy. You know..disciples seem like those guys in robes and sandals walking around slow and humming all day.



Everybody gets down in their own way that God calls them to serve..some preach, some write, some sing, some dance..some teach. That’s all forms of serving on the battlefield.



Well what’s wrong with just going to church or taking time out to help the poor and needy? Doesn’t those efforts of good will made count toward the battle?



I’m sure it plays a part, but no matter how much you sacrifice of your time and/or money toward doing ‘good’ things in the community, God’s Word is very specific when regarding how we should respond to His commands.



And what does it say?


Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice - December 14, 2004


It came to my attention that I might have misrepresented a Bible verse in You Don't Have To Front To Kick It. The part where I quote a verse that my grandmother used to recite ALL the time:



Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

That’s not something she just made up, that’s a verse found in Proverbs 3:5-6. It’s pretty much self-explanatory; she encouraged us to put our trust in the Lord even as children. For a hardheaded boy like me, this was EXACTLY what I needed to hear daily; because I had a problem with thinking I was always smart enough to ‘get over’. So much so that my father often called me ‘Slick’.


But besides that verse from Proverbs, my grandmother had another Biblical saying that I never really understood until I began to spiritually mature. I really wish everyone in the audience could have a chance to meet my grandmother because she’s a person that if you meet just one time in your life, you will never forget her. I leaned on her spirit a lot in my short story, ‘Flowers for Honey’ and I know she’s a large part of the blessings that God has bestowed on me in my life. For literally 3 months out of every year, she was not only my grandmother, but my mother, because my sister and I lived under her roof in Arkansas every summer, along with my cousin Peaches, who is really better defined as my sister, because that’s how close we are.



Whenever she left us at the house, there would always be explicit instructions of what to clean up, what to do, what NOT to do and so forth. And she was wild enough to come back and check up on us to make sure we followed through with her orders. If she told us not to watchTV, when she’d come home she’d put her hand to the side of the big Curtis Mathis console to see if it was warm. Of course, that was before the days of flat screen and plasmaTV, when they still had those big cathode ray tubes that heated up when in use. If there was a detail that was not met to her satisfaction, it didn’t matter what our excuse was, her reply was always,



“Obedience is better than sacrifice.”



Since I was often on the periphery of problems when it came to the housework (I did most of my dirt outside), I would often cock my head to the side like a confused puppy and wonder what the hell that meant. The only sacrifice I knew about was those sheep and stuff they killed in the Bible. We often got a live goat to slaughter and barbeque for Juneteenth, but what did that have to do with obedience??



It wasn’t until I really started studying the Word of God that I came to an enlightened understanding of what this phrase meant, as well as the part of the Bible that it is found in. When you read over in 1 Samuel 15t chapter, God instructed the 1st king of Israel, Saul, to destroy the Amalakites:



15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.



God wanted Saul to wipe out everything and leave nothing to spare. But Saul didn’t obey the Lord’s command like he was supposed to, instead he saved the best animals and spared the leader of the Amalekites, Agag’s life:



15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.





So the text describes how Saul offered up the best of the spoils as a sacrifice to God. Now, when I first read this passage, I was thinking that it was an honorable gesture for Saul to offer this sacrifice..considering how harder it is to build an altar and prepare an animal as compared to just killing everything. My immature spirit saw this as an act of unselfishness and sacrifice on Saul’s part. That’s why this passage is so important to the Christian faith..because God spoke through His prophet Samuel to let Saul and all who read the Word understand more about what God wants from us:



22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.



Whoomp! There it is..obedience IS better than sacrifice ya’ll. Meditate on that for a while, because this is the background for our Bible School lesson for this week.

Monday, December 13, 2004

After the Morning After



You’re listening to KSRV FM 33.3 on your radio dial! Giving you the most in music and information on the Southside!! This is the late show with your host, the man of the hour that makes the ladies scream and holler, DJ Get-Wit-Cha and I’m ready to get this thang started. Like we say on the Southside, ’It’s ON again!!‘

The phone lines are open now, give us a call and get ‘served’, ya’ll know the number!! The hot topic for tonight is..’The Morning After Pill’…should it be an over the counter drug? Some say yes, some say no, let’s hear what the Southside’s got to say about it!

Before we start answering the lines, let’s listen to the soulful sounds of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. This is from their 1993 album titled ‘Back to the Basics’, listen to my boy Frankie as he breaks down ‘The Morning After’…

(chorus)After the morning after,
After the night before,
When all of the fun is over,
Will you love me anymore??

Man! Frankie sings those songs that make you reflect on LIFE! Real things going on in hard times! Our phone lines are lighting up like a crack house on the 1st of the month!!! Let’s gone and get to it…we’ve got Kendrieka calling in from that Mo’ City…what it do K-baby??

K: Heyyy, DJ Get-Wit-Cha?

D: You already know!! What do you have to say about this emergency contraceptive?

K: I’m just trying to understand what you’re talking about??

D: The Morning After Pill..also known as Plan B emergency contraceptive.

K: What does it do??

D: Good question..I’ve got a product release from the advisory committee that has recommended making the drug available over-the-counter to the FDA.

Plan B works by keeping a fertilized egg from implanting in the wall of the uterus. If the egg is already attached to the uterine wall -- which happens from seven to nine days after the egg is fertilized -- Plan B will not have any effect. It actually prevents three things potentially from happening.

· Ovulation, which actually prevents the eggs from getting down the fallopian tube in the first place

· Fertilization, which prevents the egg and the sperm actually coming together

· Implantation, which is sort of the third process predicating a pregnancy

Women have to take this either right after and 12 hours, or within about 72 hours, of unprotected sex. Emergency contraceptives DO NOT protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

K: Oh. So this is a pill you take to keep from GETTING pregnant after you’ve had unprotected sex?

D: Exactly. This is not to be confused with the so-called abortion pill, RU-486. The morning after pill prevents pregnancies from forming, while the abortion pill terminates the developing fertilized egg attached to the uterine wall.

K: I didn’t even know they had that kinda stuff available.

D: Emergency contraceptive pills have been around for over 25 years, but it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that they became available on the US Market, by prescription only.

K: Alright then…thanks for the info!

D: No problem Ken..consider yourself ‘served’! Next up we have Bebe calling in from that Dirty Third..3rd Ward, Texas..what’s up Bebe?? Where yo kids??

B: That’s what I’m calling for!! If I would have had these pills, 2 of these lil bad mf’s wouldn’t be here right now!!

D: Uhhh…

B: See, this is the kinda stuff that them white folks been using for YEARS and all the poor black folks didn’t even know it was INVENTED!!

D: Well..it HAS been available by prescription for everyone…

B: Naww..ain’t nobody EVER told me about this right here! I’ve got 5 kids right now, and if I would have known about this ‘morning after’ pill, I’d probably only have about 2!! I just want to know how much they cost??

D: Right now, they’re available by prescription only and they cost between $20-$30 per dose. If they make it available over the counter, the price is likely to increase.

B: Well, I got me a doc that will write me a ‘scrip..I don’t have to wait!!

D: Yeah..but remember, it’s not supposed to be used as a form of regular birth control, it’s an EMERGENCY contraceptive, like for rape victims.

B: Yeah right..emergency! You already know that a LOT of women have ‘emergencies’ every weekend after going out partying and getting their freak on!

D: That’s one of the things that they’re afraid of…teenage girls and women who abuse the pill and take it regularly.

B: What’s wrong with that?? It’s better than these same girls going to the abortion clinic every other month!

D: Therein lies the biggest point of debate. Thanks for calling in Bebe..take care of your kids and I’m glad you called in to get ‘served’.

B: Thank you DJ Get-Wit-Cha, for always keeping it REAL!!

D: All-ready!! Be careful out there Bebe. We’re going to take a commercial break and pay some bills now ya’ll. Keep your game tight and your sex loop tighter, its WILD out there in the 2-3 ya’ll. This is DJ Git-Wit-Cha with FM KSRV 33.3..THE place to get ‘served’ on your radio dial!! _____________________________________

Our past 2 Sunday school lessons have dealt with mortal infertility being overcome by God’s plan. There are multitudes of couples that deal with this problem today. Millions of dollars a year are spent on doctor fees, fertility drugs and procedures which greatly increase the probability fertilization. On the other end of that spectrum are the millions of women who have unwanted pregnancies every year.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology estimates that of the 6.3 million annual pregnancies, over half are unwanted. One out of four of these unwanted pregnancies end in abortion. Abortion is a highly controversial topic in today’s society. Hardliner Bible thumpers are extremely opposed to the procedure, on the grounds of it being the equivalent to premeditated murder in the eyes of God. Women’s rights advocates tout the diametrically opposing view. They believe a woman should always have a free choice to make concerning her own body.

I don’t know how to label my opinion on the matter, since I fully agree with both arguments. Everyone doesn’t read the same Bible and worship the same God as I do. And the God that I serve does not allow for any compulsion in religion. No one should be forced to adhere to God’s law. It’s a choice of faith that we all have to make.

I’m sure there are thousands of men and women praying fervently every day for a late period to arrive. There are also probably just as many men and women praying fervently for God to grant them the blessing of conceiving a child. Contraceptives have been around for years: condoms, birth control pills, IUD, the patch, the shot, female condoms, foam, spermicide, etc. There are some groups that are against any and all forms of mechanical or pharmaceutical birth control.

The Plan B emergency contraceptive is an ‘after the act’ mechanism which has shown high rates of effectiveness when used with the proper procedures. Many people have had accidents or mistakes caused by high emotions, drugs or alcohol that have caused them to do things that they wish they didn’t afterwards. The main fear I have for Plan B being made available as an over the counter drug is its potential for rampant abuse. The abortion rate would definitely decline, but by making the pill more convenient, it will give some an added safety device, which could promote increased sexual recklessness. The obvious goal is to focus more on what happens the night before, instead of pre-planning for the morning after.

Friday, December 10, 2004

December 20th

December 20, 2004

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Isn't that a great opening line? Of course, that's not a D.E. Washington original, I 'jacked' that from a very famous literary piece, I just can't remember who wrote it right now.. maybe Shakespeare? I dunno..I get a lot of that stuff confused. �I'm an engineer by education and training ya know? The only thing I ever wrote were the things they MADE me write in school,�writing isn't�something I ever did in my spare time or anything like that. Besides essays, papers and creative writing exercises�that we had to write at Poe Elementary School, Lanier Middle School, Booker T. Washington Senior High School or at Stanford University, I never picked up my pen for independent expression until I started writing letters to those girls..ya'll know what I'm talking about right?

Dear Locreashia,

Do you like me?

Circle: yes or no.

If no, I didn't really like you fo real anyway

If yes, I'm going to pull that tongue after school.

Love, D.


Huh? No? Ya'll never seen nothing like that before?? My bad, it's�just me then, I've always had a vivid imagination and a very twisted sense of humor. Combine that with the many hours I spent sneaking and listening to my father's entire Richard Pryor collection of LP's, then you can have a better understanding of why I relate to the world on that plane in which I do. Because we're all on our own seperate levels of awareness, it's just a matter of how much we're in tune to the other souls that are sharing this life in which we all are blessed to live. I know there are a lot of bitter people in the world, who are walking around�in a�Holiday-'aggravated and depressed' mode, unhappy with the hand that they've been dealt. People that are in pain, people that are indigent, people that are handicapped, people that are surrounded by people out to do them harm.

So how do you handle moving around in a world full of people that are living on the quiet edge of desperation? There's a lot of folks that are on the verge of a nervous breakdown..they're dealing with some thangs and they just don't know how they're going to make it through. All I can say to ya'll folks worried and looking all crazy because you're more broke this Christmas than you've ever been before in your life..I'm just telling ya'll to hold on baby. Don't trip on all that Christmas�presents junk anyway, cuz them kids already are spoiled beyond reason with all the things they have AND Christmas ain't about no Santa Claus, Christmas tree or presents ANYWAY. When you meditate on that reason we're celebrating, it's really a birthday party for that One who came down and laid it down so that we all could share in the full grace and glory of the Lord. Jesus is the reason for the season ya'll, you gotta feel that.

Since I've been writing on www.servinemup.com, I've had several close friends and family members to pass away from this world.� One of the big 'pushes' I got to go public with my writing was from the emotions I felt at my grandfather's funeral. I know that there's some readers who are related and close to these deceased and it may give them a little twinge of pain to have their memories of them refreshed. I know I'm not the only one that misses Big Daddy, or Aunt Pearlie Mae. I know that there are others still hurting over the loss of brother Okon and grieving the loss of Uncle Elga, and most recently the sudden passing of brother C.A. Simmons. I miss them too, all of em, because they all touched my life in special ways that I will always hold dear to my heart. But the blunt truth is that no matter who passes, life still goes on. God even understands how we all must mourn in our own ways, but there are times when He will let us know that enough is enough, it's time to get back to that work which He has called all of us to do:
And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over israel? fill thine horn with oil and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. - I Samuel 16:1

Samuel was feeling a bit throwed off, because Saul was a disobedient king that God removed from the throne, but since Saul was Samuel's 'boy' that he annointed, of course he was a bit mournful. But God let His prophet Samuel know, the purpose doesn't stop, we all must keep moving on toward the glory. So God sent Samuel to the town of Bethelehem and told him to seek out the man named Jesse who had 8 sons. Samuel was a bit afraid at first, because Saul was still the king in power over the land and if Saul found out that Samuel was going to annoint the new king, Saul would have Samuel killed. It sounds ruthless, but that's just how power hungry men are.

God told Samuel to take a heifer as a sacrifice, which wasn't a lie, because they were going to use that heifer for a sacrifice to the Lord. When Samuel got to the Bethelehem and the people saw him, they started tripping. Because normally when God's prophet showed up out the blue, SOMEBODY, if not the whole town, was about to FEEL IT. But Samuel found Jesse and had Jesse present all of his sons before him. When Samuel saw the oldest son, Eliab, a tall, strong and handsome young man, Samuel was sure that this was the new king.


But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. - I Samuel 16:7

Eliab may have had all of the outward qualities that you'd expect in a 'king', but his heart wasn't what God wanted for His new king. So 7 of Jesse's sons passed in front of Samuel and none of them where who the Lord wanted. And finally they sent for Jesse's youngest son David, who was out in the field tending to the sheep, and they brought David in before the prophet Samuel:
And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful counteance, and goodly to look to And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him, for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil and annointed him in the midst of his bretheren; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. - I Samuel 16:12

Didja get all that? Saul didn't obey, so God removed His spirit from Saul and annointed David to be the new king. Of course, everybody didn't know this, and Saul wasn't about to just say, 'Okay, David can be king now'. David's rise to the throne is detailed further in I & 2nd Samuel and 1 & 2nd Kings. But the point to remember for now is that David's lineage was from the tribe of Judah and he was from Bethlehem. Remember that now, David was of the tribe of Judah and from Bethlehem...it's an important point to remember mane.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

You Don't Have to Front to Kick It

You Don't Have To Front to Kick It - Thur, December 9, 2004


One of the most common questions I get from servinemup readers is,



“How do you determine what each post is going to be about?”



Unfortunately, there is no exact science to this answer. I move with the Spirit. Sometimes the Spirit is running high within me and it’s reflected in the words that I write. Other times I might just be in a goofy mood and ready to clown and it shows up. But more often than not, I try to stay abreast of the current events of the day, social, political, educational, health, family values, there’s always a hot topic or discussion to serve up for other’s to consider from a Southside Houston Texan perspective.



Now what I usually do is start off with the Bible School lesson for the week and then try to find an ecumenical topic that follows the same discussion pattern. (ring-ring) Excuse me one moment, my phone is ringing…



Hello?



Holeup now there D! I know you all Mr. Stanford and all..but errbody don’t know all those big words you be using. What the hell does eckemanic mean??



It’s not ‘eckemanic’, it’s ecumenical, ‘ek-you-men’i-kal’..it means general or universal.



Oh..aiight then. Keep servin em up!!




Already! (click)



See what um tawkin bout? I mean. Do you see what I’m talking about? I have a wide array of friends that encompasses the entire spectrum from completely illiterate to professional highly educated folks and everything in between and the best part about it all, is that I don’t have to front to kick it with nairn one of em..(ring ring) Uh-oh..I think I just threw somebody else off...excuse me while I answer this..



Hello?



Okay I was doing okay, but that part you put in about how you don’t have to ‘front to kick it with nairn one of em’?? What does THAT mean??




We haven’t had a good ebonic breakdown on servinemup since Hittin’ Licks, so let me gone and break down what I mean by not having to ‘front to kick it’ cuz this is an IMPORTANT topic from the hood all the way to executive boardrooms on the highest level of business.



'Front to kick it' – (ebonic phrase commonly used on the Southside) front (verb) in this case referring to a false fa├žade or affront, that purposely conceals the true character or reality of a person’s status. Example: When you see somebody at the club flashing a big roll of bills, only to examine it more closely and notice that it’s actually one 20 wrapped around a whole bunch of ones..that’s a front. kick it’ whenever you’re just hanging out with friends or co-workers in a relaxed environment, that’s ‘kicking it’, Example: “Ya’ll need to holla at me whenever you’re ready to go kick it.”



Do ya feel me know? A lot of Christians are accused of ‘fronting’ once they get saved and in the church, because some people KNOW that what these same Christians profess with their mouth on Sundays is entirely different from what they actually DO Monday through Saturday. I have friends who have given me this same questioning glance, trying to see if I’m ‘fronting’ with my conviction for the Christ. A lot of this has to do with my past, being known as a brother that’s always ready to kick it and have fun makes some folks step back and wonder if it’s real. I know that the Lord has blessed me to have a wide audience of folks who are attentive to my voice. They listen to what I say and respect me as a person. Not just those in the church, but those out there in the world also. Everybody doesn’t kick it like I kick it, but nobody can say that I’m fronting, because they can see what it do.



There are some non-believers, who try to use my personal experience to discredit my testimony that Jesus is Lord:



Oh well..Jesus is good and all D..but you grew up going to church, I didn’t. I mean, both of your parents are Sunday School teachers! My momma and daddy NEVER go to church..that’s why I don’t get all off into that religion and stuff.



When they pull that, ‘You’re Christian just cuz your family is Christian’ card out on me, I’m quick to throw up those brakes on em..scurrrrrrrrrrr!! Holeup cuz! Now granted, it IS a blessing to grow up within a family of believers. People who acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Bible and use it as a guide and foundation for their life. But even though I grew up in a Christian household, I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life as an agnostic. I didn’t believe all of the Christian claims to salvation..Jesus may be A way, but I didn’t believe that He was the ONLY way. My common lament was against the structure of organized religion with all it’s divergent faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Muslims, etc.), so instead I set off on a path of isolationism. Everybody just do what they feel, it was all good to me.



But once I became a father and a husband, I knew that I had to go deeper into my spiritual journey, because I had so many questions on how to raise my kids, how to be a good father, how to live a rewarding and fulfilling life and of course the capper that we all must face, when I take my last breath on this earth, is my soul prepared for eternity?



So I stopped ‘playing’ with the Lord and I got down on my knees and prayed prayers for understanding and direction.



Please Lord…I feel like I’m on a raft drifting at sea without a sail, oar or motor, please direct the steps on my path so that I may grow closer to You.



My grandmother used to ALWAYS tell us,


“Trust in the Lord, with all thine heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”


So although I wasn’t convinced of the Light, I knew that the Lord Is. So I put all of my learned misconceptions of the Bible to the side, you know those misconceptions that the world throws out there to trip you up..



The Bible is okay..but it’s written by man. So it’s not ALL the Word of God.



Rich white men are controlling everything! They changed the Bible to say what helps their mission to keep control of the masses!




But once I started reading the Bible and reading it searching for understanding instead of searching for ‘errors’, that raft I was on out at sea started to move. And it wasn’t a motor or oar that made it move, but rather faith. Faith is the belief in things unseen. It is through faith and faith only that we are saved from the storms of life. When you examine the 3 major religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), you’ll see that they all share the same patriarch, Abram (later changed to Abraham), the father of faith.



Our Sunday school lesson this week was about Abram and it detailed his journey from Ur of the Chaldees (in what is today’s Southern Iraq) to Haran and then Canaan, which is modern day Israel, the Promised Land for God’s chosen people.



1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee. 2 And I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing. Genesis 12:1-2



The Lord called Abram out of his comfort zone and bid him to go out on faith to a land unseen. Of course some naysayers may scoff and say, “Of course Abram obeyed and left! If God told me to do something, I’d be sure to do it to!” So many people look for miracles and burning bushes for direction, but yet they fail to read and study their Bible to learn more about the essence of God. Even at 75 years of age, with no children and a barren wife, Abram stepped out there on faith and heeded the call of the Lord. Folks can’t even say that he ‘got it from his daddy’ because Abram’s father Terah’s faith in the Lord (or lack thereof) is illuminated in Joshua 24:2



And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor; and they served other gods.



You see..Abram didn’t come from a Jewish family. The 12 tribes of Israel descended from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. So the faith that Abram showed in the Lord was not something Abram’s family practiced at home as he was growing up. Abram developed his own intimate and personal relationship with the Lord, as we all are bid to do today. Instead of expecting some kind of spectacular sign from the Lord (which DO happen from time to time), most people overlook the most powerful and longstanding sign that we all have today, the Bible.

Some of my friends try to discredit the Scriptures as fiction or ‘partly-true’, but then when I ask them what part of the Bible they believe is false or changed or added, they can’t answer. All the doubts and suspicions that I had about the authenticity of the Bible being the inerrant Word of God were erased when I read it in it’s entirety. That 1-2 combo punch of the Old and New Testament made a believer out of me. I believe the report that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of us all that the prophets ‘shot called’ throughout the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis. Some folks consider this faith as a ‘cop-out’ or for the ‘weak minded masses’. I try to do what I can to explain the reason for my faith for them to understand, but no matter what they think, I’mma praise God anyway and keep on doing what I do. When you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you never have to front to kick it.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Friday, December 3

Friday, December 3, 2004

(telephone rings..that’s how you know you have a call)


Hello?


D!!!?!!


Heyyy..wazzup?


Man..I didn’t know you knew Ms. Washington?


Huh?


That lady standing next to you on the front page of servinemup.com today..that’s Ms. Washington, she was my math teacher in high school!!

Yeah..a lot of people tell me that. That’s my mother.


What?? Ms. Washington is YO MAMA??


Yeah..I thought you knew?? Between all the years she’s taught math in HISD, with most of those years at Sterling and Hartman, she’s taught math to almost 10,000 Southside hard heads.


Mane! When you go into Ms. Washington class, you better have your stuff TOGETHER!! Cuz she didn’t play! You couldn’t even chew gum in her class!


(laughing) Hmph! Ya’ll think ya’ll had it hard in her CLASS?? Imagine what it was like growing up in her HOUSE everyday.


No wonder you ended up being so good in math and stuff, you had her to teach you the whole time.


Yeah, my mother helped me and my sister with our school work, but the most important thing was that she kept good relationships with our teachers and made sure they communicated regularly. Wasn’t none of that ‘Didn’t DO my homework’ in our house. My parents never pressured us to be straight A students or anything like that, they just focused on conduct and effort. If you were going to live under their roof, you had to obey their laws. You might not know one thing going on in the class, but you will NOT be a disruption to the class and you WILL pay attention and ‘getcho lesson‘.. My mother made sure ALL my teachers knew they had her full support..


"And if he cut up, you need to GET him, and then tell me about it so I can get him when he gets home too!"


So once you have this joint partnership working with the teacher and the parents, then you have a more stable base to train and teach a child properly. That‘s where so much of my spiritual journey began, as I watched my son and daughter sleep at night, I knew that I wanted to give them the best foundation as possible. Parenting can be a very difficult task that requires us to go outside of our pre-defined limits and really concentrate on what our role as a parent is supposed to be. Some people have children who will never be able to live independently, they will always rely on someone else to take care of them to varying degrees. Some of this is due to mental capacities, some physical, some emotional, but we all are dealing with various issues in life, that‘s just part of it. But I strongly believe that the ultimate goal for us as parents, is to train our children in the way that they should go, so that when they grow old, they shall not depart from it. That‘s not mine, I ‘jacked‘ that from Proverbs 22:6, because the spiritual truth that I live, is that all the law and direction we need, is found in the Holy Scriptures.


There is no ‘chaser‘ or ‘addenda‘ that needs to be attached to it either, if you read the Statement of Faith, then you‘ll know that I‘m one of those ‘Sola Scriptura‘ folks..the Scripture ONLY. Of course that‘s when some Catholics and Mormons start backing away and saying ‘That isn‘t quite correct‘, just like the Muslims and thousands of other religions and sects that interpret Revelations 22:18-19, differently than Protestants such as myself:


18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.


The Holy Scriptures cover from eternity past to eternity future. There are no new revelations of Christ, the plan is written and in action, the Scripture is sealed and the Lamb shall return as a roaring Lion. Until then, all those who believe are summoned to take part in the Great Commission. The battle that rages everyday is not ours, it is the Lord’s. But as the people who are His children, those called by His name, we are bid to put on the full armor of the Lord and live our lives as a living testimony to His Grace and Mercy. The Holy Spirit is here with us as our Lord prepares a place for those who believe in Him. For the scripture says that absent from the body, means present with our Lord. A lot of folks have a problem with the Holy Trinity, thinking that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are 3 different things. But my father explained this to our Sunday School class with the analogy to the sun in the sky. With God representing the sun itself, Jesus being the Light that is emitted and the Holy Spirit being the warmth that we feel from the sun. That’s 3 different essences of the sun, yet it’s still ONE sun. Now those who want to go even deeper, cuz it’s a lot of folks who recognize PARTS of the Scripture, but choose to ignore or invalidate other parts..


‘God didn’t say that..Paul did"


"Even David and Solomon had a lot of women..God ain’t tripping if a man has more than one gal."


A lot of Bible scholars will show them the hundreds of prophecies of the Messiah, of the Lamb, of Emmanuel, throughout the Old Testament Scriptures and they usually start with the reference to Christ that the Lord directed toward Satan the serpent in Genesis 3:15


And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel."



Jesus didn’t just ‘show up’ when the angel appeared to Mary and told her she would bear the Son of God. Jesus has always been with the Lord and if you don’t believe me, back up to Genesis 1:26


Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on earth."


Didja get that? Let US? Plural. That’s not let ME. God is a lot deeper than people thank mane. But heyy..there are doubting Thomas’ everywhere, some folks that actually saw Jesus perform miracles still didn’t believe..so it’s understandable that some folks won’t believe today, no matter WHAT you tell them or show them. That’s just how it is. But I’ve found that most people who don’t believe the report of Christ, who don’t believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord, most of them hate on Him because they don’t want to bow down and obey His law. Just like some spoiled kids,


"Can’t NOBODY tell ME what to DO!!..humph!..I’m GROWN!…You ain’t MY daddy..you can’t tell me NUTTHIN!!"


Most of those folks who act like that don’t have a father that trained them properly. There’s a lot of sorry father’s out there who didn’t take care of their responsibilities toward their child and now there’s a bitterness in them. Them folks who act like the world owes them something. Well, my prayer for my 1st book and every book that the Lord will bless me to write, is that my words will find a way to touch the hearts of a wayward father or a prodigal child that is seeking refuge from the wilderness. Cuz anybody that’s alive with their eyes open in 2004 knows that it IS a wilderness that we’re living in. Full of all kinds of wild animals and pits to fall into. True players know when it’s time to come in out the pit and live under that covenant of the Lord where your soul is safe. And the best part about it all, is that it doesn’t matter WHERE you are, or WHAT family you are in..the opportunity to accept Christ is open to the world, there are no barriers by blood or ritual, the curtain to the Holy of Holies is no longer a dividing partition, we ALL have access to the Spirit of the Lord, all you have to do is believe.


That's what my parents taught me and that's what I teach my kids. I guess everybody just ain't ready to go out on faith like that tho.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Thanksgiving 2004

Thanksgiving 2004 - Monday, November 29, 2004


How was your Thanksgiving D??



Lovely.



Did you get enough to eat??



Hmph. You already know!



Did ya’ll watch football?



Yeah…we watched Peyton Manning put on that clinic against the Lions.



Why do they show the Detroit Lions every Thanksgiving??



That’s something that the first owner of the Lions, G.A. Richards, started way back in 1934:



The Origin of the Lions' Thanksgiving Day Game



The game was the brainchild of G.A. Richards, the first owner of the Detroit Lions. Richards had purchased the team in 1934 and moved the club from Portsmouth, Ohio, to the Motor City. The Lions were the new kids in town and had taken a backseat to the baseball Tigers. Despite the fact the Lions had lost only one game prior to Thanksgiving in '34, the season’s largest crowd had been just 15,000.

The opponent that day in '34 was the undefeated, defending World Champion Chicago Bears of George Halas. The game would determine the champion of the Western Division. Richards had convinced the NBC Radio Network to carry the game coast-to-coast (94 stations) and, additionally, an estimated 26,000 fans jammed into the University of Detroit Stadium while thousands more disappointed fans were turned away.

Despite two Ace Gutowsky touchdowns, the Bears won the inaugural game, 19-16, but a classic was born. And each game since then, in its own way, continues to bring back memories of Thanksgiving, not only to Lions' fans, but to football fans across the nation.



http://www.detroitlions.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=152242





Oh..okay. But the Lions though??



They just ‘got that spot’ and have never relinquished it. But the Cowboys come on TV every Thanksgiving too, and they’ve been part of the tradition since 1966, so normally between the two (Lions and Cowboys) you’d imagine that at least one of them would field a good team every year.



The only thing sorrier than the Dallas Cowboys are the Chicago Bears! They SUCK!!



Hey..you gotta watch how you talk about the Cowboys on the Southside, there’s a LOT of diehard Cowboy fans around here.



So?? If they sorry, they sorry!! I don’t care WHO likes them!!



(laughing) I hear ya..I’m not one of those Cowboy fans, I grew up rooting for Big Earl and the Oilers. But even if you don’t like the Cowboys, I KNOW you liked that halftime show!

Oh yeah…my girl was out there!! That Beyonce know she know how to shake that ‘uh-ohh’



Mmmhmm. Beyonce could charge n’gaz a $100 just to rub on her butt and she’d keep a long line of customers ready to break off a c-note.



It wouldn’t just be n’gaz though..white boys, women..everybody likes to look at Beyonce!



Did you see when Destiny’s Child was on BET recently?



Yeah!! When Michelle fell when they were walking out??
Yeah..my wife called me in to look at it because she had taped it, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw Michelle fall.



You think she was drunk??



I dunno WHAT she was..but it was cool the way she bounced right back up and kept on flowing.



Yeah..she played it off well.



I also caught a bit of that Oprah show on ‘Swingers’ with my wife too.



Swingers?



Yeah..couples that get together with other couples and switch partners or do the group thang.



Wait a minute!! They’re putting it all out in the open like that??



Yeah mane..it’s a WILD world we’re living in. People are ready to be buck wild in 2004..the don’t care. I asked my wife if she wanted to get into some of that swingers action.



You did?? Man..you’re CRAZY!! I wouldn’t even have the nerve to ASK my wife that!!



Oh it was cool, she quickly let me know that she wasn’t down for any kinda ‘group’ thang AT ALL!! But then I leaned on her a lil bit.



What do you mean ‘leaned on her’??


I asked her if it wasn’t a group thang, but rather just another couple that we ‘switched’ partners with, would she be with it if the other dude was like..Will Smith.



What did she say?



She started smiling.



Yeah..my wife likes Will Smith too.



But my main problem, was that as much as my wife may like Will Smith, Jada has never really been one of ‘my’ girls.



Like Beyonce?



Exactly!! So after I told my wife, I would need someone better than Jada to do it, she even suggested Beyonce.



Man! Your wife is cool like that??!



Naww, don’t get it twisted now, cuz right after she said that and watched as my eyes danced with visions of Beyonce, she burst my bubble.



She slapped you upside the head??



Naww..we don’t do the physical violence thing in my house..she just told me that her main problem with Beyonce was that Jay-Z didn’t do it for her. So now, we can’t do the swingers thing unless Will Smith and Beyonce end up getting together.



Uhhh…you are just joking..right?



Of course! Cuz from what my wife tells me, Jada ain’t about to let Will go nowhere!!



I believe you used a double negative D..that should be ‘Jada is not about to let Will go anywhere’



Yeah..I know my grammar can be a bit ‘throwed off’, but I’m just glad that you can feel me.



Happy Thanksgiving D!



Already!


___________________________

As I relaxed and enjoyed my family and football over the Thanksgiving weekend, I took some time to reflect on a lot of things that have been going on in my life. Sometimes it’s good to just take some time out of the hustle and bustle of getting to work, taking care of your family, your house, your cars and all the responsibilities that the Lord has blessed you to have (cuz everybody ain’t got it like that) and really meditate on how thankful you are of all of the Grace and Mercy that has been graciously bestowed on our lives.



I know that there’s a lot of people who don’t find too much time to say thank you, because they’re too busy complaining about all the things that they feel is wrong in their lives. Car problems. Rent issues. Disgruntled workers. Pissed off folks sitting in traffic jams that don’t know which they dread more; the job they’re going to or the traffic. There’s a lot of married folks upset at their spouses and daydreaming about being single. And there’s a lot of single folks wallowing in loneliness and daydreaming about having someone to love them. There’s some folks looking at their ‘bad az kids’ running around the house and wishing they could just be alone and childless. And there’s some folks who aren’t able to have children and they’re praying that they’ll be approved to adopt.



One of the most sobering aspects of life, is that EVERYBODY is dealing with SOMEthing in their lives. You never know what people are going through behind closed doors, so I’ve learned to be less judgmental of people and instead try to explain the reason for my hope. Because it’s very easy to get ‘caught up’ in the web of day to day grinding, doing whatever it is you have to do just to make it through the day, and lose sight of the bigger picture of being.



Spending some quiet time meditating on the Lord is a very soothing and invaluable tool of the Christian experience. Although Christians aren’t bound to the visible prayer rituals prevalent in other faiths, this does not mean that prayer is not an integral part of the Christian life. When you really get real in your walk with the Lord, you’ll find that prayer is no longer regulated to before meals or bedtime, or at church. Prayer becomes a constant part of your life, when you get up in the morning (thank ya Lord!), when you’re on your way to work (thank ya Lord!), when you’re doing the laundry or raking leaves in the yard (thank ya Lord!).

Sometimes life can seem so hard or unfair, that giving thanks is the last thing that comes to our mind, but my Big Mama says to us all the time, no matter how hard life may seem, just concentrate on saying ‘Good Morning’, everyday. Because no matter the pain and torment that you might be going through in this life, it IS good to be amongst the land of the living (thank ya Lord!).



Since I’ve been blogging at servinemup, a lot of my friends have been more open to discuss their spiritual journey with me, because they see a lot of similarities between my path and their experience. I really see this as a blessing, because whenever our testimony can help strengthen and encourage others, we should make sure to give it. I don’t have any ‘official’ statistics, but judging from the feedback forms (below at bottom of page) and emails that I receive (dwashington@servinemup.com) and statistics of the number of visitors that read the Bible School Lessons page, I would guess that the servinemup.com audience is mostly comprised of non-Christians and people who are Christian by association only. A lot of servinemup.com readers may have some background or experience of being 'in the church', but as they've grown older, they've strayed away from any form of 'organized' religion. I know I've hit a unique lil crease here at servinemup, because the closest thing a lot of the readers here get to reading the Bible, is from the verses I put into my material on servinemup. (shame on you! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Politics and Religion

Let every soul be subject unto the governing authorities. For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that be are appointed of God. - Romans 13:1


When I was in Biloxi a couple of weeks ago, for one of my close friends’ wedding, I had the chance to see and catch up with a lot of my college buddies. Several of them are regular servinemup.com visitors, and one of my podnas from Brooklyn was very animated every time he approached me during the weekend festivities.




SERVINEMUP! SERVINEMUP!! You steady SERVINEMUP!! Right D? (smiling)

Yep! That’s me..D. Wash..SERVINEMUP for ya’ll!! (smiling)

(laughing) Man..whenever I read your site I can tell that you’re having a great time!

You already know!


The blogging vehicle has allowed me the opportunity to share a lot of my personal thoughts and feelings for public display on the world wide web. I’ve got friends and relatives throughout the U.S. who log on just to check out their cuz, or their nephew, their lil brother, their homey from Sugarvalley, their podna that they grew up with every summer on Jelly Roll Street in the sprawling metroplex of Calion, Arkansas. It is very empowering to have a support group of friends and relatives that give me love and encouragement along my journey in life. And as I’ve matured as a person and as a Christian, I find that I treasure these relationships of mutual trust and respect above all material aspects of life. Once you tune in to the commonness of the human condition, there is a spiritual orb which resonates deep in your heart and you’ll be able to find fellowship in not only the similarities of existence, but also in our differences.

My experience is of one born to American-African slave descendants. I’ve never picked cotton in my life, but my grandfather (who I love dearly) has told me on a number of occasions,

“I’ve picked enough cotton in my life already, thank God ya’ll don’t have to do that.”

America is not far removed from a time when there was a federally mandated separation of class due to racial heritage. But through toil and struggle and suffering, these laws of institutionalized racial injustice were voted away and America planted their hope for a new day of ’equal’ opportunity. At least, that’s what the laws declare on paper. But the reality of the American slave descendants today, is that that road to opportunity in America might declare ‘All Are Equal’, but when you put your feet down to diligently trod toward this hope, the slope of the playing field is not level. Hundreds of years of oppression, dating back to when it was illegal for slaves to learn to read, makes the terrain a lot more difficult to navigate for those here in America who fall into Franz Fanon’s nome as members of ‘The Wretched of the Earth”.

No matter what state or country you live in, there are a set of rules governing society that each citizen is bid to obey. If you don’t like the rules, the political system or the economic opportunity in the land in which you live, then the best thing to do is find somewhere else to go…if you can. But if there is no avenue for escape, then you must live in and follow the law of the land. God’s Word does not incite slaves to revolt against their master, quite the contrary, the Bible categorically instructs us all to accept our positions of life and to serve accordingly. When I first discovered this Biblical doctrine as a teenager, I was a bit shocked and appalled.

How can God tell slaves that they’re just supposed to passively endure lifetimes of misery and oppression??

As a dark skinned slave descendant that never had any hope of ‘passing’ for any other race but Negro, it seemed to me like black folks were cursed by God to having to suffer under the hands of evil white men and it made me draw away from my Christian roots and start seeking some doctrine that ‘felt right’ to me. Growing up in a exclusively black Southern Baptist church, I often found my formative years in the pews of the church congregation frowning in derision and with a sense of ‘something just ain’t right with this’ whenever I would look around the crowded congregation of black folks praising God, but then when you look at the wall above the baptism pool, you see a big mural of a blonde haired blue eyed white man. When I considered the realness of the hatred and prejudice that my parents and grandparents had to endure while living in the Jim Crow South, I knew something just wasn’t right with that picture. Because with my concept of God, there wasn’t an elitist system preordained since birth, the God I could understand was fair and just and He definitely doesn’t look like the same folks who yell racial epithets or hang black men just for looking at white women.

There’s some folks (white and black) today who get a little fidgety and uncomfortable whenever these truths of America’s past are brought up,

“We need to move past all that..that’s old history, it’s not like that anymore.”

Some will even ‘flip’ the paradigm and try to make you feel like you’re the one impeding progression by continuing to harbor on past transgressions. Once you get off in the Word of God, you’ll see that we are all bid to forgive our neighbors, as God forgives us for our transgressions. Once again, the suspicious nature inside me caused me to consider this path of ‘forgiveness’ as a method of control intended to keep the oppressed from revolting against the oppressor. As Oscar Wilde famously noted, ‘Religion is the opiate of the masses.’ Keep em drugged up and gone on that Jesus, all the while keep bleeding them for all the work and resources you can get from them until they die. Let them praise Jesus, while they suffer in poverty and oppression and the elite reap the rewards gained through the low labor costs of slavery. It all seemed like a big setup move that so many ‘house’ black folks fell for. Christianity just wasn’t sitting right with me, there had to be a truth found, where is the God for all the real niggaz??

Once you break off from your family and start seeking a truth of life that you just can’t seem to find in the environment in which you were raised, it can be a scary thing. Because first of all, you have to make this move ‘on the cool’, because if your parents or grandparents hear that you are not convinced that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light, they may be prone to a heart attack or at the very least some kind of screaming fit.
What do you mean you don’t serve a ‘white’ God?? Boy..you betta get yo self together so you can go to church! Cuz if you ain’t going to church..you can’t live in THIS house!!

So instead, most spiritual journeys begin under a cloak of secrecy. It’s much akin to those many nights that slaves crept away into the unknown land of freedom, risking their lives just for the sake of being emancipated from the oppressor. Once I reached that point where I could no longer tolerate living a life ‘enslaved’ by the ideals and theology of a God who’s God just because a white man printed in the Bible? Who’s to say the powers that be didn’t ‘twerk’ the Word a lil bit and put in those parts to keep their lucrative slavery cartels thriving for generations? Naww mane..I can’t be that damn fool that‘s following my families religion ‘just cuz‘, like some dumb cow being herded away. I had to know God for myself.

The late teens and early 20’s are a very important time in a person’s life. Because it is during this period of transition from childhood to independent adults that we all must form our own ideologies of life, politics and religion. Some people never even consider rebuking or turning away from the path of their parents or grandparents, they just believe what they were raised to believe, obediently and without question. Conservatives are more than likely born to Conservatives, Liberals are most often born of Liberals and so forth. Which brings me to a good political joke I heard.

A father is enjoying a late evening after dinner walk with his family through a public park. As he and his lovely wife and 2 kids are conversing and enjoying the brisk breeze with promises of the approaching winter, a mugger jumps out of the bushes and approaches the man and his family brandishing a knife. The father happens to have a loaded 9mm handgun in his jacket. What happens?

Liberal Answer: Does the man really LOOK like he’s trying to harm my family? Did he SAY he was a mugger? Maybe he was mentally incompetent? Can I just have my wife and children run away for safety? Is the knife really sharp? Do I have time to call my lawyer and see what legal ramifications are at stake? Is there someway I could kick the knife out of the man’s hands and flee to safety with my family? There’s not enough parameters given for me to accurately speculate what I would do.

Conservative Answer: Bang! Bang!

Texan Answer: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! (click)

Wife: I think he’s still moving honey!!

Son: Yeah Dad..I saw him move too.

(reload another clip) BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Daughter: (smiling) Nice grouping Daddy!!




I find great amusement in that joke, maybe it’s just a Texan thing, I dunno. But what I do know is that this past election brought out some deep emotions amongst the citizens of America. With the election fiasco that we went through in 2000, with all the ballot irregularities and ‘chads’ in Florida, this year’s election has been a hotly contested topic for the past 4 years. There’s a lot of folks who still have a sour taste in their mouth with how Bush ‘did it’ and got into office in the last election. Michael Moore came along and stoked the fires of discontent with Fahrenheit 9/11 and the rallying cry was summoned..Americans voices will be heard at the ballot boxes!!

When you consider the things that we use to decide which candidates policy is best for our country, everyone has different political agendas that they deem the most important. To some it’s the economy, to others it’s national defense, or healthcare, family values, same-sex unions, everybody has their own interests that they choose to latch on to and support and that’s usually how votes are cast. The weird part is when you get strange bedfellows such as gay Republicans rallying alongside gun activist Democrats and you realize that although they may be supporting the same candidate, it’s not necessarily for the same reasons.

Coming into this year’s election, I was anticipating a larger vote turnout than 2000’s election and that the majority of these ‘new’ and ‘first-time’ voters would be making a vote toward a change in America’s course of direction domestically and abroad. But as I sat and watched the poll results come in Tuesday night and into Wednseday morning, I was snapped back to the reality of the America in which we live. Looking at that sea of red states claimed by Bush reaffirmed the voting majority here in America..our country showed up and supported our incumbent leader sends a resounding wave of American principles throughout the world..’We stand by George W. Bush and his administration.’ Not ALL Americans felt that way when they cast their ballots, but 59 million was enough.

So now we have over 55 million people who voted for Kerry and a lot of them are HIGHLY pissed off right now. There are grumblings of ’voter tampering’ and ’illegal tactics’ used by George W. and his army of supporters that used unfair means to gain political advantage.

“Bush won..but I something just ain’t right about it.”

I must admit, I was one who really thought that America was poised to vote for a change, but when you examine the poll results, you’ll better realize that American sentiment is still very much steeped and controlled by conservative views and opinions, or more specifically Texan Conservatives. (smile). There were over 120 million ballots cast in the 2004 election, which represents almost 60% of all registered voters here in the United States. The standard voting benchmark is the turnout from the 1960 election which pitted John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon. Over 66% of registered voters turned out for that close and hotly contested election, and in the end, America voted to go with the more ’liberal’ JFK.

When Gore lost the 2000 election to Bush, he lost even though he won the popular vote. But when you consider all the things that have happened since then: Florida vote dispute, Iraq, the economy, healthcare, rising HIV rates in America, Fahrenheit 9/11, etc. and you would think that this election would be primed for a new candidate to assume the reigns of control for the country. But when you look at the numbers, Bush gained almost 10 million more votes in this election than he had in 2000. It’s a sobering reality to know that the majority of the American voting public is behind our president, even in the midst of a growing quaqmire in Iraq, high unemployment rates and soaring deficits. As I continued to shake my head in amazement as Bush’s victory became more and more clearly inevitable, I went to my source of comfort and understanding, the Bible.

The core support group of Bush’s campaign is the Christian Conservative, of which I consider myself a member. Once Bush identified with these Godly people, and presented himself as a born-again Christian committed to upholding the traditional family values, that’s what won him the election. Now riding along this same bandwagon are the rich, upper-class folks who aren’t necessarily Christian, but they want to make sure they have somebody in office that won’t ‘rock the boat’ and disrupt their prosperous business’ and investments.

“The government ain’t supposed to control the people, the government is just supposed to protect the people and allow us to function as a free society. That Kerry was bound to bring a lot of that bureaucratic nonsense like all those other ’liberal’ Democrats like JFK.”

On top of that, there are a lot of Protestants and Jews who refuse to vote for a Catholic like Kerry. Some folks voted for Bush because of his stand against same-sex marriages and then you have a lot of gun toters who like Bush because they figure he’s the best man to lead in the midst of the war of terror that is going on today. No matter WHAT people’s reasons were for voting for Bush, the fact is that God has appointed G-Dubya to rule America for the next 4 years. When you look in the Bible and try to find the Christian course of action in the midst of political strife, you’ll see that God categorically displays His sovereign power when it comes to government here on earth. The Bible repeatedly iterates throughout scripture that God appoints and removes all rulers. That doesn’t mean that all rulers are men of God, it just means that all things work together toward’s God’s purpose, including elections.

If I didn’t have the conviction that Jesus is the Lord and Saviour of us all in my heart, it would be a lot harder for me to handle instances where I feel my voice is muted out amidst the clamoring of the powers that be. There’s a lot of Americans who were visibly upset and shaken to the point of tears when they saw that Bush won this election. I don’t share that same remorse, because I have faith that God is in control and all things are working toward His purpose. The Southside of Houston, which is a community predominately populated by other Americans who are African slave descendants like me, voted overwhelmingly for Kerry, as did most other working class communities of similar ethnic background. But just like the slaves who had to continue to toil in the fields under the strap of the slave masters, we find our refuge in the Lord. Of course, I guess it’s a lot easier for me to handle ol G-Dubya having at the helm, because I share in a lot of his stated views concerning Christian family values. When it comes to his views on (or lack thereof) leveling the playing field for all Americans, our viewpoints diverge, but we are where we are. 4 more years ya’ll! Make sure you keep your eyes open so that you can watch what it do! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! (ya feel me?)