Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Strong Black Families



This past weekend, an intimate collection of Stanford Black Alumni gathered in Biloxi, Mississippi to celebrate the wedding nuptials of one of our Bruhs. This was a wonderful opportunity to share the moment as another strong black family was declared before God and man. ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ is a serious covenant that two people vow to uphold while standing up there at the altar. As all married people will be able to confirm, marriage is like Lotto, you have to be IN it to WIN it.

This particular occasion was a bit more sentimental to me, because this was the first time I had assembled with my Stanford family as a group since the funeral of our slain brother Okon. As I was driving to Biloxi, I couldn’t help but remember that the last time I had seen brother Okon, was at the wedding of another one of our Bruhs in Jamaica. Little did I know that that would be my last time seeing Okon alive, so just that experience alone made me realize that we can’t take any day for granted. One day we’re here, and the next day we’re gone bruh…so let’s live life to the fullest while we have time. This whole appreciation of life and love and family is what made the whole weekend a wonderful celebration of another strong black family taking root.

Some guys who have never experienced that wedding day may start feeling the walls cave in on them when they hear people speak of making that commitment..

Married?? Oh HELLLLLL NAW!! I ain’t about to get married to NOBODY!! I’m having FUN!!

I feel ya dog, cuz marriage ain’t for everybody. Some folks will live their entire lives as singles, never marrying, never ‘shacking up’ and never even having a girlfriend or boyfriend. Our societal structure is steadily changing such that more and more people are choosing to live the lives of perpetual bachelors/bachelorettes. Some of these folks just enjoy being by themselves, others refuse to ‘settle’ for just anybody and would prefer to wait until the RIGHT person comes along to marry..no matter how long it takes. Now the gray area comes in when figuring out what ‘right’ is. When pondering this question of marriage, the obvious arises, ‘Why get married??’

When you look back at the Creation, in Genesis, God saw that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, so He made Adam a companion. Companionship thus jumps out as the primary reason to join into this union. Choosing a person to share in your life, to sleep with, to eat with, to live with, to laugh with, to cry with, to love with.

Yeah D..I hear what you’re saying about marriage being good and all, but I’m just not ready to front and act like I’m going to be happy with only one woman for the rest of my life. I can’t roll like that dog..I gotta keep it popping..ya feel me?

Yeah..like most men, I can completely feel that. The commitment aspect of having a lifelong monogamous sexual relationship can be a very intimidating aspect of marriage for all those players out there. As long as a person is living by the flesh and is not in touch with his spiritual side, he will never be able to attain the level of maturity required for a faithful spouse. I’m sure women have to go through this on some level also, you know? Only sleeping with one man for the rest of their lives, but somehow it seems a lot easier for them to handle this prospect. Probably because they’re more spiritual creatures than men. Some guys will even pick up the Bible and point to ‘players’ like King David and King Solomon with all their wives and concubines..


I just ain’t that kinda n’ga that can be happy with one woman mane..I’m like Solomon and David..I like women and all kinds of em..I gotta get my freak on.

I hear ya player..but when you read past all those ‘player’ days of David, you’ll see that those adulterous acts of sin that he committed did not go unpunished. God blessed David such that the Messiah was a descendant of David’s bloodline, but due to David’s sinful acts, David had to face some serious family issues later on in his life. Once a man realizes that God sees EVERYTHING we do (no matter if your gal finds out or not) and in turn, the wages of these sins of the father can be passed on for the children to bear?? It will make a spiritual man pump his brakes and focus on what’s real.

Now for those who don’t believe or even attempt to abide by the Word? I don’t know how they handle this issue of monogamy. Because as much as men may love their wives, there will come a time when their level of commitment will be tested. Just because you get married doesn’t mean other women won’t try to holla atcha and ‘get wit cha’. Some women even make it a point to flirt with married men, just to see where their head is at. And as beautiful and fine as your wife may be, there will be times when something you like shows up. But once you reach the point where you’re committed to maintaining your marriage vows, you become duly committed to upholding all of the requirements of fidelity as directed by this covenant. As long as a man is ruled by his loins, he’ll never be able to reach this point of maturity.

Once Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit and God cast them out of the Garden of Eden, he gave them an edict which we are bid to follow even today, ‘be fruitful and multiply’. If companionship is the spark for a marital union, the raising of a family together is the kindling wood. When God blesses two people to have a child, or to have children, there is a structure of natural order such that the presence of a father and a mother are required for the complete rearing of a child. Each spouse has their place in line and once two people start lining up towards God’s plan for marriage? That’s when you can REALLY start enjoying your family and your life. Of all the problems we have in our society right now, especially in the black community, poverty, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, crime..so many of these issues can be traced back to inadequate family structure and support. Absent mommy’s and daddy’s that never showed their children love. Of course, there are millions of people who ‘made it’ without the benefit of a two-parent home, but we must not lose sight of God’s intended structure for the family.

Of all the things I write about, you’ve got to realize that I’m all about what’s best for the family. D LOVES the kids. And I know that we’re at a point in history where the traditional family, especially the traditional black family, is becoming an extinct entitity. And seeing one of my Bruhs step up to the plate and assume his responsibility of protecting and providing for his own family…it gave me a very warm and proud feeling. Because I know that this was the start of another strong black family that is committed toward progression through education, hard work and honoring the God that rules over us all. Congratulations James and DeVoyce…you just made the village stronger.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Big Mo


Big Mo' - September 22, 2004

That’s what um tawkin bout D!! Get it CRUNK!!

Huh?? What are you tawkin..I mean, talking about?

You been rolling all good and holy holy for awhile, but we all know you got that Southside in ya mane!! You ain’t got to front to kick it…gone and set off some of that Big Moe and let the whole world see how the Southside be jamming!!

Uhh..I’m not sure I understand what you’re talking about…dude?

Man..what’s wrong with you?? You the one that’s been hyping up Big Moe..you even got his lyrics and stuff on the scroll..I just figured you was about to bring it for all the real street players out there. You know..like for the Carro’s or Max’s crew..something gangsta or thugged out..

You alright mane??

Yeah, I’m alright..I mean, I like your stuff and all, but lately you’ve been more non-confrontational and nice with your post..I like it when you call n'gas out.

Oh..you want me to start hi-cappin??

Yeah! YEAH!!…uhh..but not on me though..

Okay..let me see if I can ad lib a little standup routine..
I was working on an intro to today’s post and I happened to be listening to one of my favorite mix CD’s that had a Big Moe song on there. Those of you who don’t know Big Moe, he’s a rapper/singer from the Southside of Houston Texas..3rd Ward to be exact. When you look at him, you don’t even have to wonder how he got his name. But I was reading Big Moe’s biography that he has on his webpage, www.purplestuff.com


Born and raised in South Houston's notoriously impoverished third ward, a place Big Moe describes as a "typical ghetto," the MC says he experienced more than his share of lean years.

"I grew up kinda hard," recalls Moe. "At the place where I once lived we used to use the kitchen stove to keep the whole house warm. I remember one time when the stove broke and we didn't have no heaters so we got together in one room and used two or three space heaters so we could keep warm. It was real hard back then, man, real hard."

But Moe was able to escape many of the pitfalls that trap so many young men of color in the ghetto through his love of music, which he pursued with a passion and began his career as a singer.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Big Moe is one of the most jamming artist in Houston, but c’mon now..’lean years’?? Don’t NUTHIN look lean about that n’ga..I don’t know how hard times WERE on Big Moe and his family, but I DO know that that n’ga was eatin good. He’s been big a long time..ya feel me? And then that n’ga is talking that crazy, ‘we had to huddle around a stove for heat’ stuff?? C’mon Moe!! I lived in Houston just like you did..the weather in 3rd Ward is the same as the weather in Sunnyside..we only got about 3 ‘cold’ days a year here in Houston, so don’t start painting that Charles’ Dickens on us..if anything you should have said how HOT it was because ya’ll didn’t have no air conditioner or something! C’mon now..get REAL! Wreckshop needs one of those real Southside writers like D. E. Washington…holla at me mane. Let’s make it happen!!




(laughing) Aww mane!! If Big Moe ever reads this, he’s going to be TRIPPING!!

I ain’t mad at Big Moe mane..it’s all good, I’m just riding some of HIS hype.There’s generations of youngsters on the Southside that are growing up listening to his music, Moe has a lot of pull on the street. If I can grab on to that young adult crowd that have bought over 200,000 copies of his debut album City of Syrup?? Mane..those are the kinda folks that are going to be ready to read some of this Real Game.

C’mon now! You’re talking about young black folks and reading?? Those two don’t go together! Everybody just wants to watch TV, listen to music, drink, dance or party. The only time most young black folks read is when they HAVE to! You’re going to be wasting your time if you try to write for THAT group mane..they don’t read.

Well..a lot of them don’t read because they haven’t tasted anything to really whet their appetite. I’m servinemup mane..I can make them fiend for more.

Oh yeah? What makes you so sure??

Just take this post..of all the folks that started reading JUST because they saw that picture of Big Moe with that fine video chick next to him, some of them are sober enough and diligent enough to read it all the way down to this point.

So?

Soo..now they’re all the way down into almost a thousand words and they’re locked in trying to really figure out what I’m talking about.

Everybody knows what’ you’re talking about..Big Moe.

No..the title isn’t Big Moe..it’s Big Mo..without an ‘e’.

What’s the difference?

M-O-E is a rapper and singer, M-O is short for Moses…God’s Deliverer.

Awww mane!! You trying to backdoor us with that God stuff??!!

Hey..I tell folks all the time, the freshest thing on servinemup.com is the Bible School Lessons, but a lot of folks don’t read them because it rarely has any pictures or hype..we just get straight off into that Word.

Yeah..well, you know, that’s still jut like being at church. Some folks just ain’t trying to see that mane..they’re too scared they’re going to see something that’s going to make them start feeling guilty about their life..that’s why most folks don’t go to church now. They might say it’s because there’s too many offerings or the people are too ‘phony’..but most folks just don’t want to hear that real mane..it makes them feel too fake in their lives.

Well..at least when folks come through here, I know they won’t be able to say that nobody ever told them about what’s real.

Everybody ain’t trying to be free D…some folks just want to remain slaves to the world, just taking care of their own lives, their own bills and problems, they’re not trying to anchor their soul in that real and they have no interest in that other level..it doesn’t even occur to them.

Yeah..but that ain’t real though! I don’t care how much wealth or power you have in this world, ‘what does it profit a man to gain the whole wide world and lose his own soul??‘ (Mk 8:36)

Well D..you can keep bringing them to the water, but you can’t make them drink..unless of course you start putting some syrup in the drank, then n'gas would be lined up FIENDING to drink it then!!

Yeah..well..I’m servin something that’s more potent than codeine. Once you start getting off into that Word..you’ll start fiending so bad that you’ll have to read it throughout your day. In the mornings, lunch breaks, evening, bedtime..the Bible is so rich and nourishing, it will replenish your soul and get you ready.

Ready for what?

Whateva!! Take ol buddy Moses..Big Mo. We were talking about him in this week’s Bible lesson. Moses was born a Hebrew slave in Egypt, but he was raised in the Pharaoh’s house with all the strappings and education of royalty, but Moses always knew that he was Hebrew by blood. One day Moses saw an Egyptian master beating a Hebrew slave and he killed the Egyptian and buried his body in the sand. But once word got out that Moses, a Hebrew, had killed an Egyptian, that’s when Moses knew he had to break out of there, because he would be killed for murdering an Egyptian. When I first read those verses, I projected that same situation to the African-American slavery period here in the US. Of course, our color barriers are more distinct than Hebrews and Egyptians, but if a black slave would have killed a white overseer..ya’ll already know what would have happened. So of course, Moses HAD to leave the country. But this act of homicide by Moses, even though it was avenging the beating of one of his brethren, shows that God knows how to work with us..all of us. No matter how violent our temper may be. There’s a lot of boiling ‘Moses’ out there who grow agitated and disturbed whenever they see a fellow brethren being brutally mistreated by their oppressor and they feel vindicated in acting out against this ‘wrong’. But when you look at the consequences that Moses had to face due to this one act of passion, it will make you stop and think about what’s REALLY worth it. Moses didn’t go to jail, but he did end up tending flocks of sheep out in the remote areas of the wild for 40 years. He wasn’t locked up in jail, but tending stubborn and obstinate animals such as sheep in the wild would probably make you wish you had the responsibility free life of being in jail. This was a man that was raised as a royal prince in the Pharaoh’s mansion, having to go through 40 years of tending sheep in the wild made Moses go through some changes in his life. He had to learn patience. And when you go on to read about Moses and the burning bush and Moses’ reluctance to be God’s spokesperson ‘I am slow of speech’, we learn that God used these 40 years to get Moses ready for his task. When God puts His hands on you, you’re locked up and He won’t let you out. You can try to avoid it and ignore it all you want, but once you realize that you’re in the belly of a beast, or sunk in the depths of a pit then you will have nowhere else to reach but up. It is through our most trying times that we gain our most spiritual growth toward the Lord. Once those bullets start flying, or once that doctor‘s prognosis starts sounding pretty dire and grim, there are no atheists. Big Mo is a very important servant that the Lord used to serve the children of Israel. Because after Moses spent those 40 years tending sheep, God called him to lead his people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God even told Moses upfront that Pharaoh’s heart was going to be hardened (Ex 4:21) and that the Pharaoh would not LET the people go. That’s kinda weird when you stop and think about it. God was setting Moses up to lead the people out of Egypt, yet He was making it a much more difficult task by hardening the Pharaoh’s heart. The lesson to be learned here is that God wanted the children of Israel to know WHO was delivering them from 400 years of slavery. It wasn’t Moses..it wasn’t the Pharoah..the children of Israel were saved by God and God only..the One who described Himself as ‘I AM’. (Ex. 3:14). That’s a heavy verse right there too, it’s obviously something that only God could say. He’s not limited by time like us mere mortals. HE IS..and HE always has been. Everyone isn’t called to lead the children out of Israel, or perform miracles in front of the Pharaoh, but God calls ALL of His children toward His purpose. What about you? Have you spent any time on your knees praying to “I AM” lately?? Have you asked Him to reveal His purpose for your life?? If you haven’t even ASKED Him.,then you REALLY don’t know what’s up.


Monday, September 20, 2004

The Known World

The Known World - Monday, September 20, 2004

Earlier this year, I was delighted to hear from one of my friends from Stanford. This particular friend happens to be one of the most well read brother’s I’ve ever met. While we were undergraduate students at Stanford, he used to engage in public debates with Stanford professors and other ‘intellectuals’. The wildest thing is, this dude used to WIN! He’s currently a lawyer residing in New York and he gave me a holla..



Hey D…man, I got the link to servinemup.com the other day and once I started reading it, I had to close the door to my office because I was laughing so hard!. You have an interesting style of writing…it’s not bad..for a techie. I’ve been reading this book by Edward P. Jones called The Known World, you should check it out..your styles are somewhat similar.



That part he put in, ‘Not bad..for a techie’..is a reference to a Stanford division that most of the world may not be privy too. You see, at Stanford, they have these different classifications of students. Those who are in the technical world…engineers, mathematicians, physicist and the like..these students are called ‘techies’. These are the students grinding out problem sets and design projects in Terman Engineering building, the Physics tank or the computer lab. Of course, I was a techie.


The opposite to techies, are called ‘fuzzies’. Whenever you see those pictures of Stanford, or ‘The Farm’ as it’s commonly called, and you see those folks hanging out on the lawn, reading a book in the sun, playing hacky sack or just dozing..those are normally the fuzzies. The English Lit majors, Art History, Political Science..you know, all those literate ‘cultured’ folks who speak and write very well? Those are fuzzies. Since I was a devout techie and he was a fuzzie, we often tease each other whenever we have the chance.



Of course I replied and thanked him for checking out servinemup.com, but I also took it a step further, because as much as I respected this fuzzy friend of mine, I knew that when it came to books and the world of literature, his knowledge is eons past mine. So I took note of the name and went to the bookstore in search of this ‘Edward P. Jones’..whoever that is..right?




Comes to find out that Edward P. Jones is a writer who has won numerous awards and who recently wrote his 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning 1st novel, The Known World. They didn’t have it in paper back yet, so instead I purchased another book by Edward P. Jones called Lost In the City: A Collection of Short Stories.
After I read Lost in the City, I knew Edward P. Jones was my kinda brother. I could feel him. So after I finished Lost in the City, I then went back and got the The Known World..and let me tell ya’ll, it’s so rich, deep and compassionate, that it will pull your wig back. It’s a novel set during Reconstruction in America and it follows the tales of a black slave owner in Virginia. That’s right..some free black folks were slave masters too, not just white folks. This phenomena in itself was not foreign to me, because my grandfather, who was born at the turn of the century, had often told us about black folks who owned black folks in Arkansas, so I already knew it to be a real thing.



But when you pick up brother Jones book and start getting into it, you’ll feel a compassion for the reality of the human condition that will make you realize that this is not your ordinary run of the mill novel. Edward P. Jones really knows how to tell a story ya’ll..and I must admit, once I read these works of his, it made me have a moment of hesitancy about my own work. You know, me being a techie and all, sometimes I feel like a baldheaded black stepchild that’s playing in them white folks yard when he’s not supposed to, when it comes to writing. None of my training was in the world of the written word..I was always doing problems sets, writing computer programs and using calculators all through college. But now that I have discovered my own literary voice, I have to work that much harder to catch up to the curve and do all I can to improve my grammar, my sentence structure..my prose.



But as much respect I have for all of these ‘fuzzies’ that have been in the writing game since Methuselah was a pup, I know that I have my own unique style and flow and I belong in the world of written expression of the human condition just as much as the next n’ga. Because when you get down to it, fiction writing comes down to telling a story that will make the reader feel like they’re experiencing the scenes along with the characters. You gotta make em feel ya baby.



Now as far as the similitude’s between D.E. Washington and Edward P. Jones, I believe my friend was remarking on both of our frequent use of Biblical passages and references. There’s a way of putting that ‘real’ into fiction that will let the reader know that the writer has spent some time studying the Word. You gotta give God His glory ya’ll, He’s more than worthy.



My wife ran across an announcement in the newspaper for Edward P. Jones appearing here in Houston…



Oooh baby look, your boy is going to be here.



My boy???



Edward P. Jones.



Oh really??!! When? Where??



He’s going to be at the Alley Theatre this Monday.




It’s not too often that you get to see Pulitzer Prize winners in person, especially 1st time novelist who won the prize, so of course, I was there!



Mr. Jones read a couple of passages from his novel and then he had a roundtable discussion with Charles H. Rowell, a Professor of English at Texas A&M University and the editor of Callaloo, a premier Journal of African Diaspora Arts and letters based in College Station at Texas A&M University. It felt good to see two highly intelligent and literate brothers, discussing Mr. Jones book before an auditorium of a couple of hundred folks. The best part was that this wasn’t something confined and regulated to the Mahogany or Black section of the bookstore, as evidenced by the overwhelmingly predominately white audience.
Due to the large line of folks waiting to get their books signed, I didn’t get a chance to talk to Mr. Jones extensively like I wanted to, because I had a LOT of questions. But he did so graciously sign my copies of The Known World as well as Lost in the City. So for all of ya’ll who are ready to break away into another world, I strongly encourage you to check out brother Jones’ work. He’s a wonderful storyteller who blends the mysticism of reality with the freedom of fiction that will draw the reader into his world, or rather I should say..The Known World.


“He was a handsome man,” she said of Augustus. “ I never leaned toward exaggeration,” she said to Anderson. “So when I say he was a handsome man, he was indeed. Henry was too, but he never got old enough to lose that boyish fa├žade colored men have before they settle into being handsome and unafraid, before they learn that their death is as near as a shadow and go about living their lives accordingly. When they learn that, they become more beautiful than even God would imagine, Mr. Frazier.”



– excerpts from The Known World, by Edward P. Jones


Edward P. Jones won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award for his debut collection of short stories, Lost in the City. A recipient of the Lannan Foundation Grant and a Lannan Literary Award, Mr. Jones resides in Washington, D. C. The Known World – winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the National Books Award- is his first novel.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm - Thursday, September 16, 2004

Your boy Noah and his family had it going on huh?



What do you mean?



You know..Noah was so good, that God saved him and his family from perishing away in ‘the flood’..right?



Yeah..I guess you can say that. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen 6:8)



So you’re trying to tell me that NOBODY else in the entire world was good, but Noah and his family?



The Bible says that men’s hearts were on evil thoughts continuously (Gen 6:5).



Once again, there are only a select few who can find this ‘grace’.



What do you mean by that?



I mean..well..I guess one of my main problems with the Bible is that it designates only a select few as God’s chosen..everybody else is just screwed. I just don’t think that’s fair.



God’s chosen is not restricted to a certain race..everybody has his or her own free will to follow Christ, it doesn’t matter what family or country or religion you’re from.



I dunno D..I mean, I’ve been reading your stuff, and I’m TRYING to have an open mind about ‘what if’ all this Creationist stuff and flood IS really true..it’s just hard for me.



I understand.



And on top of all that, I KNOW you’re one of them Stanford n’gas with a degree in Engineering, so I know you of all people have SOME rational intelligence.



(laughing) Thanks for the compliment!



No..you know I’m not trying to offend..it’s just that so many of the Bible thumpers I come in contact with are all obsessed by it..it’s almost as if they’ve blocked out all of their rational thought and they’re just..I dunno..



Gone on that Jesus?



Exactly!! Almost like some dope fiends…it’s hard to talk to them sometimes, because they are constantly trying to tell you what they believe, but yet when you throw some facts or stuff out there that support evolution, they just keep spewing Bible verses but never have any hard evidence to support all that stuff.



Well..you know, some people don’t have to have ‘hard’ scientific evidence to believe in God and His Word. We walk by faith, not by sight.



Man..even if Noah COULD find all them animals and get them on that boat, how the hell could they survive all that time locked up together?? I mean, lions woulda been eating antelope and all that kinda sh’t!



Yeah..I guess it does SOUND wild..and I’ve thought about that too..but I guess if you have infants or the very young of each species, it would make it a lot different than if everything was full grown.



Hmm..I guess I never thought about it like that. That 40 days and 40 nights still wasn’t nothing nice I know!



It rained 40 days and 40 nights..they were locked up in the ark for 150 days after the rain stopped. (Gen. 7:24)

Whoa! I would have went CRAZY on that floating zoo!! 6 months locked up with all them animals?? You KNOW it was fonky on there!!



(laughing) Yeah..it was probably pretty tart on there!



Doesn’t it bother you that EVERYBODY else died?? I mean…c’mon now, I know SOMEBODY else was doing SOMEthing good at least some times.



Oh..so you feel that a lot of people were unjustly punished??



I mean..I know everybody couldn’t be ‘holy’ men and all..but what about the plain regular old folks? They got killed just because of all the evil folks…that’s not fair.



Well..God never said that it would be ‘fair’…He said it rains on the just as well as the unjust. (Matt 5:45)



So what good does it make it to be good and obey God, if you’re going to have to deal with the storms and floods just like all the bad folks??



Because once you accept the Savior into your life…you have an ark of salvation to enter into eternity. He got you.



Once again…that’s what the Bible SAYS…nobody really knows what happens after we die.



Yeah..well one day you’re going to reach a point where you feel like you’re caught up in a storm. It could be problems with your family, legal issues, financial woes, health problems, hurricanes..something is going to come your way that’s going to make you crave shelter and rest. That’s what most people don’t understand about Christians..in Christ, we find our rest.



I sleep good everynight mane..I’m not hurting for any rest.



That’s good, I’m glad you have a peace with yourself. But if you ever happen to come upon one of those Category 5 storms in life…at some point your mind will start thinking about the Lord and His power and you’re going to crave His grace and mercy.



But you just said that it rains on everybody!



Of course..but the main question you have to ask yourself is just like one of New Edition’s songs.



New Edition???



Yep…’Can You Stand the Rain’. There’s no pressure from God for you to come in, everybody has their own choice to make...but He definitely wants you to seek shelter in Him.


_______________________________



Just like a lot of other Christians, I often find myself having to explain the reason for my faith to a lot of non-believers. Most of them can’t understand how I can believe in something that ‘hard’ scientific evidence seems to refute and discredit. I’m not a scholar that completely understands the workings of the universe and how things fit together, originally and now. I don’t know all the intricacies of ‘how’, but I do know ‘Who’.

This week, as I watched all the news reports of Hurricane Ivan, as it made it’s trek into the Gulf Coast, I couldn’t help but think back on some of the storms I’ve had to go through in my life. Being a native Houstonian, I’ve had my own personal experiences with hurricanes also. The most notable one being Hurricane Alicia back in 1983. I can remember all of our family being home and safe as the storm blew through. My father and my uncle had taped and boarded up some of our windows to prepare for the high speed winds that the weatherman had promised was coming our way.



We had made provisions for food and batteries and water to last us awhile, because we had no idea how long we were going to be grounded by the storm. We even had lanterns flashlights and candles ready for if the lights went out. As Alicia moved through our Southside neighborhood, the sheer force of the winds and rain was incredible. We could look outside and see things blowing around all over the place, but then, right there in the middle of all the rain and high winds, the eye of the storm passed over us and I went outside with my father to feel the experience. You would be amazed at how calm and pretty it seemed as the eye moved through..I mean..you could actually SEE the sun! There we were in the midst of one of the fiercest hurricanes in decades and right there smack dab in the middle of the storm was peace.



My father had already told me about this peace in the eye of the hurricane. He said that Navy ships who were out at sea would sometimes purposely move to the eye of the hurricane and ride along in it to avoid the turbulence caused by the storms main body.



We stayed outside gazing up at the sky for a while, until the eye began to pass us and the backside of the hurricane moved in. I was still amazed to see the hurling winds return so quickly after we had witnessed the peace of the eye. As I looked out our back window I saw our aluminum tool shed uproot from it’s foundation and get carried away up over the fence and tumbling into our neighbors yard as it was blown away. I briefly thought about our house being uprooted also. Where would we live? Where would we go? What would happen to us??

Fortunately, we all survived that storm. Once the power went out, we lit candles and played cards and games while we listened to the radio. Even after the hurricane was over, our power was off for several days. Once the waters receded where we could leave the neighborhood, I rode with my dad over to the ice factory to stand in the long line to get ice. If your power goes out for a long time, then you’re subject to lose all of the food in your freezer and/or deep freezer..so you need ice. Those uncomfortable days without power and running water in the heat of a Houston August will make you feel like you’re suffering. But whenever you hear the reports of the families that lost everything, their homes, their cars, their lives..well, that makes you realize that despite your condition, it’s a blessing just to be alive. Once you enter into the ark of faith, then you are prepared to weather even the most damaging storms.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Footloose

Footloose - Tuesday, September 14, 2004




What happened to the Footloose article??

This is it.

But I stopped by yesterday and all I saw was the title and a picture of the movie poster.That was a ‘flash preview’.

Flash preview?? What the hell does THAT mean??

It’s just like a trailer for a movie..’here it is’..’this is what’s coming next!’ ..’get ready!’..just trying to generate a lil hype.

Yeah..but you’re so crazy, that when I saw the poster and title I still had NO IDEA what it was going to be about.

That’s good…unpredictability can be an attracting trait for writers.

Whateva..I’m just ready to gone and get into it, and see what this ‘Footloose’ is all about.

Did you see the movie?

Uhh..yeah, I think I did, that movie came out awhile ago didn’t it?

20 years ago..it was released in 1984.

Wasn’t it about some crazy country white kids or something?

Kevin Bacon played a high school student from Chicago who had moved to a small country town in the Midwest. The movie was based around the kids desire to have a ’dance’ versus the strict religious school board/city council that disallowed such ’evil gatherings’.

Damn! Them folks were just tripping off of a DANCE???!! I think I remember something about the preachers daughter being a biggo freak or something.

Yeah..John Lithgow was the pastor of the church and his daughter Lori Singer was one of the most rebellious children in the town.

Heh-heh..you know what they say about them preacher’s kids! They’re the wildest ones!!

That’s usually because ‘PK’s’, as they’re commonly known, have the increased burden of visibility and expectation in the church as well as the community.

So why did you choose this movie?

I think it had some important themes which are just as prevalent in our homes and communities today..but now, 20 years later, I view that movie a lot differently than when I first saw it as an early teenager.

Wait..don’t tell me that you’re on the side of the ‘establishment’ now???

I didn’t say I was on their side..it’s just that now that I’m a parent, I can better understand the reason for their position.

You’re changing on me D..you used to be Mr. Fight the Power..now you’re acting like you’re on ‘their’ side.

Oh don’t get it twisted..I’m all the way down for God’s Will..that’s THE power that I’ve submitted myself to. The hard part is trying to figure out exactly how that transcribes to the real world..from what we wear to who we vote for, there is always a challenge to live within the covenant

So how do you do it?

Do what?

How do you decide what is God’s Will and what is something that YOU just want to happen??

I’m still working on that one..all I know for sure is that you have to read and study the Bible diligently and you have to pray fervently for direction. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Sometimes when I pray, I don’t know if I’m talking to God or just thinking to myself in my head.

I think we’ve all felt that way or some time or another..the key is to STAY prayerful no matter what....God can hear ya mane.

That’s real.

Already.

___________________________________

I guess it startled me a bit when I was doing a bit of research on the movie Footloose and I saw that this movie was released 20 years ago. When I first saw this movie, I was in middle school and I can distinctly remember becoming an instant Kevin Bacon fan. His character in this movie had a convicted individualist attitude that I just thought was the only way to be. But instead of the complete Rebel Without a Cause roguishness, this movie highlighted the voice of oppressed youth. Too often we have all dealt with what the ‘old-fashioned’ constraints imposed on us by our parents and elders, the immediate ‘powers that be’ for our childhood. I’ve often pondered the fact that every generation seems to look at it’s succeeding generation in amazement..

I don’t know about these young folks of today.

Our parents had to deal with it during their formative years from their parents, our grandparents had to deal with these same remarks of derision from their parents, and when I look at a lot of our kids today here on the Southside of Houston, I shake my head in amazement..we’re in trouble ya’ll.

Case in point: There are 2 girls who live in my neighborhood that often come over to our house to play with my daughter. These girls are sisters, ages 8 and 4. One day they were over to the house hanging out with my daughter. My wife was in the same room with them as they talked and listened to music, when my daughter stood up and did a lil bank head bounce shoulder move. Her 8 year old friend looked at her all frowned up and confused..

"What are you doing??", she asked.

"Dancing", my daughter replied.

"You call THAT dancing?? That ain’t how you dance..THIS is how you dance!!"

The girl proceeded to crouch down and put her hands on her knees as she did one of those Beyonce-booty-bouncing Uh-ohh dances, dropping it all the way down to the floor then gyrating back up.

"THAT’S how you dance!!" She exclaimed matter of factly and proudly.

My wife stared at her for a few minutes, then collected herself...

"Umm..now WHO taught you how to dance like that?", my wife asked the girl.

"My family!!"

The girl was looking at my wife’s face trying to figure out if my wife was pleased with the dance or not.

"Who in your family taught you how to dance like that??"

"Oh..well..uhh..we don’t be doin it around no preachers or nothing like that!!"



Now, I don’t know about ya’ll, but it’s kinda scary to me for an 8 year old girl to not only know how to dance in such a suggestive and mature manner, but to also have the awareness to know that she’s not supposed to be dancing like that around ‘preachers or nothing like that’. It seems in so many ways our children are becoming more and more ‘footloose’ while the traditional Southern standards of decorum like how a woman carries herself are sinking down towards the depths of uncut music videos. The Southside can feel me.

I was thinking about all of this as I read our Sunday School Lesson this week about Noah and the Great Flood. One of the key points our teachers made in the lesson is something our community needs to pay close attention to today. The world was full of evil people, who’s thoughts were on evil continuously, it was so throwed off that God was lamenting the fact that He had ever even MADE man. (Gen 6:5) But there was one man named Noah who found grace in the eyes of God. And God allowed Noah and his family to be spared from the great flood by building and ark and finding security in it. Some anti-Creationist scoff at the notion of some boat that was able to hold all those animals and people. When you read the Biblical dimensions of the story of Noah, the ark was (300 cubits x 50 cubits x 30 cubits) (Gen: 6:15). A cubit is about 18 inches, so if you do the math, this means the ark would have the equivalent volume capacity of over 520 standard railroad cars.

But instead of focusing on the dimensions, I think the closest inspection needs to be afforded to Noah’s sons and daughter-in-laws. They were allowed to be on the ark NOT because of how good Noah was..but for how good THEY were. If they had been out there living that evil lifestyle like all the rest of the folks, God wouldn’t have let them into the ark either. That’s a key point today, because some folks are under the illusion that they can enter the ark of God’s safety because of what their parents or grandparents did..and that’s not true. We all must be accountable for our own actions. As parents, our command is to train up our children in the way that they should go. Some people choose not to impose any religious structure of worship into their children’s lives. They don’t make them go to church, they don’t make them study the Bible stories and learn more about God’s essence, they just let them free to figure things out on their own. Of course we all have our real guidelines that we put down in our households, what our kids eat, watch and wear. But as my father always says, ‘There’s a very fine line between being too strict and too lenient on your children.’

Allowing children to run wild and unchecked is just as abusive as always riding them and berating them for even the smallest of their errors. I think it’s imperative for ALL parents to ‘check themselves’ from time to time, to evaluate their situations and make sure they’re not leanin’ too much to either extreme. When I look at my daughter and my nieces, cousins and all the young ladies who are growing up in this world, I pray that they will be able to recognize real and I do all I can to keep them up on the game. At the same time we often fall trap to the common Southern double standard treatment of the sexes. We want to lock lil red riding hood in the house, but we let the wolf out the front door to roam and devour. The same structure and value system that we teach our daughters are just as important for our young men. Because if we’re ever to progress and move on as a society, our father’s hearts will have to be turned back toward their children. Despite all the wild things I know my kids will see, I know that our ultimate task as parents is to teach them to discern right from wrong. Some folks try to ‘freestyle’ this structure and just go by what feels right. Some get all the way real and look to the Word of God for their direction and understanding, because if we don't, our kids will become a lot more than just 'foot' loose.


"Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, September 09, 2004

My Summer Vacation


I guess you can say my summer started around Father’s Day, because I got a chance to see my grandparents and go to church with them in Arkansas. While I was there I went and hung out at the Basin Street Lounge in El Dorado with some of my kinfolk. The ‘vacation’ part didn’t start until the first week of July, that’s when my wife and I were without our kids for 2 whole weeks while they visited Nana and the crew on their annual summer excursion to New Jersey. Those who are married with kids know that anytime you can get those little people out of your house for an extended period of time, then you can REALLY relax and get your ‘home’ on grown folks style. There’s no more need for modesty and decorum around the house when the kids are gone, you can even walk around butt naked if you want to and not have to worry about who sees you. Free from the kids!! Vacation!! YEAAAH!!!
The first thing my wife and I did was start hitting parties..we went to a real nice housewarming party with some friends of ours. This is the group of guys that I used to play in a weekly basketball league with. They still play, but as for me and my playing days? “Say mane…ya’ll go ‘head!’

We also had time to pop over to some friend’s of ours pool party over on the Noufside. We had fun there too (No KIDS!), playing dominoes, listening to old school hip-hop and then we got in the pool and played volleyball. Men vs. Women. Guess who won?? Mmmhmm...the best thing about it was..yep you guessed it NO KIDS!! The good thing about hanging around with your friends who knew you 'back in the day', is that you don't have to front to kick it. Everybody is real and upfront with each other, there is no phoniness or pretense. Just hard working folks trying to make it in George Bush's America.

My uncle hipped me to the E.K. Bailey Conference in Dallas and we made the trek up there for a couple of days. Hanging out, listening to some EXCELLENT preaching and eating at some real nice restaurants. Ahhh..just living the life! After we got back from Dallas, the kids returned..(BOOOOO..just kidding), so we hung out with them for a bit, had a lil sum’n sum’n at the house for my son’s birthday. Nothing too major, just family over to celebrate the birth of another child in the village.

Not too long after that, we all caught plane up to Michigan for the Scott Family Reunion. This in itself was the highlight of the summer, being able to be around my family, laughing, talking, and catching up..enjoying life together. Or as Big Mama would say, 'living together and loving one another.' I’ve got a lot of superstars in my family and I’m looking forward to introducing the servinemup.com audience to these marvelous people, like my Aunt C..who has been doing her thang in the jazz world ever since I’ve ever known her. When we visited the jazz club Flood’s in downtown Detroit during the reunion, she even got onstage and did a rendition of Summertime with the band. Needless to say..we were HYPED to watch her do her thang. She’s already promised me an ‘exclusive’ Cynthia Scott interview to be posted on servinemup.com, so watch out for that.If you want to know more about her music/tour schedule or PURCHASE!! her CD’s, you can visit her at www.cynthiascott.com. Ya’ll check her out and show her some love, that’s kinfolk.



Aunt C has truly been an inspiration to me and the rest of our entire family, because she's show all of us that it doesn't matter where you're from..it can be from a lil country town in Arkansas..but if you put in your work diligently and never let anyone else control your dreams, then the sky is the limit. I'll have more on her advice later. Aunt C isn’t the only vocally inclined person in the family, my cousin Jamar is working on his first album and I’m looking forward to writing the press releases for it, cuz I KNOW it’s go be JAMMIN!!

In case ya’ll don’t remember Jamar, he’s my cousin that sang the solo, “My Soul’s Been Anchored’ at Big Daddy’s funeral..he can make ya move ya’ll. Or as his brother Corey put it after the funeral..’Jamar? Boy!? You sang like you know tha Lawd!’ So ya’ll look out..another one of those Sam Scott descendants is about to blow up on the scene and we’ve got a lot more preparing for their time to shine.


It wasn’t too long after the reunion that I headed out to Milwaukee for the PGA Championship. While I was there, I scooted down to Chicago to check out one of my Bruhs new seeds (boop-boop!), and when I got back to Milwaukee, I caught up with some of my relatives who lived there. For those who didn't know, yes, there ARE black people that live in Milwaukee.

I got to see a lot of my kinfolk that I hadn’t seen in YEARS, as well as meet some for the first time. We broke bread together and we all went out and had a nice time. The good thing about blood-ties is that they last over generations. And the strong bonds that are formed through mutual bloodlines allow people to really relax and just be who they are..there is no need for pretense.


After I got back from Milwaukee..or was it before? I don’t even remember, I met J.L. King at his book signing, went to a photo-shoot party by a fantasy merchandise company owned by some of my high school buddies (I c'ya FSX!!), drafted my fantasy football team, went and hung out for a few days with those Alabama City Boys (You my boy Hawkeye!) and this past weekend, I went out boat riding with my father and the kids. He had just bought a new boat and he wanted to take all his grandkids out riding. When we got off in the water and set out, I asked him a question..



How far out can you go?



What do you mean?



I mean. how far out into the Gulf of Mexico can you take this boat?



As far as you’re brave enough to go.



I quickly thought, ‘D’mn..I guess that’s what they mean by some birds fly and some float’..but then I thought back to Dr. Gardner C. Taylor sermon at the E.K. Bailey Conference and what I wrote about him in my July 14th post entitled ‘All-Stars’..

"I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Taylor preach for the first time at this conference on a Thursday night..and let me tell ya’ll, he’s a bad man. He got up to the podium and began his sermon and after he gave all the initial welcomes and acknowledgements, he gave us this joke (please excuse the fact that my written words can in no way compare to the pace, delivery and enunciation of his classical Southern Louisiana drawl combined with his astute literary presence):



An ol farmer was in his wagon going to town, and being a part of the litigious society that we live, happened to be involved in an accident with an automobile. The dispute of which ended up in a courtroom before a judge. And the judge queried the farmer,



“How can you claim to sue for personal injury, when I have the sheriff testifying that immediately after the accident, you were proclaiming that you had never felt better in your life?”



“Your honor, I can explain that” said the farmer, “When I was struck by the automobile my wagon was overturned. When the sheriff drove up, he saw my pig shaking and he pulled out his gun and shot and killed it. After he shot my pig, my mule stumbled and the sheriff shot him too. Then the sheriff turned to me and said, ‘How do YOU feel?’, so of course I replied, ‘I’ve never felt better in my life’.”




At this point of course, the whole congregation cracked up laughing, and as Dr. Taylor paused for a moment and enjoyed the laughter, his smile slowly faded and he turned his tone to a more ominous note of determination laced with purpose and declared to the still chuckling crowd, ‘For we have been in this snug harbor long enough, we must now weigh anchor and set sail to do business in great waters.’"



I pondered that phrase for awhile..’For we have been in this snug harbor long enough, we must now weight anchor and set sail to do business in great waters.’ I was in the middle of my Proverbial Challenge..and that phrase seemed to spur the ‘sluggard’ in me. Because in so many ways, I know that I have tarried in ‘snug harbors’ quite often, instead of weighing anchor and setting sail to do business in the great waters that are before me. Some folks calculate their trip and measure how much fuel it’s going to take for them to reach their destination and plan accordingly. Some folks go out only as far as a half a tank, to make sure they have enough fuel to get back. But the people who REALLY ‘get out there’ in those GREAT waters? They don’t hold back, they go as hard and as far as they can and don’t worry about how they’re going to make it back.

So as I rode along with my dad and my kids and my niece and nephew, watching the water and the sky, contemplating the tasks before me, and what it’s going to be like when I ‘weigh anchor’ and release my first book, ‘Real Game’ , I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Man..I’m having a GREAT summer!!!”

Monday, September 06, 2004

The Order of the World


This Labor Day found me at home eagerly anticipating the final round pairing of Tiger Woods and Vijah Singh in the Deutsche Bank Golf Tournament. Tiger had held the #1 ranking for over 5 years, 264 weeks to be exact coming into this tournament. If Vijay finished higher than Tiger in the tournament, he would overtake Tiger for the #1 spot. Tiger's streak on top of the world is a remarkable feat within itself, but you have to give the big Fijian his props, Vijay has been balling out of control these past 2 years and his notorious marathon practice sessions have been paying off in the fruits of his labor. Labor Day is also the last holiday of the summer, playtime is over, and it’s time to get back to work. Kids have to go back to school, parents have to get back into the routine of pickups and drop-offs and the college crowd is heading on back to campus to get deep into the semester (or quarter).



That college experience can be an eye-opening event, because the college environment will bring you in close proximity with other folks from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Since I grew up in a traditional Southside Baptist household, going away to college was my first intimate experience with atheists. Most folks on the Southside are Baptist or Methodist, Catholic, Church of God in Christ, Jehovah Witness, Muslim..something. Even the folks who didn’t go to church believed in God, or so I always assumed. But once I got into a highly pristine intellectual learning environment, a lot of the things that I was raised to believe were brought under attack by scientific theories and archaeological facts.



C’mon now, how can you believe the Bible when it says God made everything from nothing in 6 days??



If God created Adam and Eve, then where did Cain’s wife come from??



Dinosaurs lived millions of years before man!!



Man wasn’t always thinking creatures that walked upright, we evolved from a common ancestor with chimpanzees.



All those questions and ‘facts’ that ‘reveal’ the errors and inaccuracies in the Bible really started making my head start swirling for a while. What if these ‘scientists’ were right and the Bible was wrong?? What if I had blindly believed the Bible my whole life ‘just cuz’ and now I’ve got all these ‘facts’ in my face discrediting Biblical accounts of creation. Where DID Cain’s wife come from?? Did God make some more people along with Adam that He just didn’t tell us about in the Bible??


It is at this point that many people who were raised in a certain faith ‘break away’ to some extent and dwell in the realm of agnosticism. Sometimes people have to do this ‘on the cool’, because if they told their families that they no longer believed that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God, then they’d have to deal with being preached to and prayed over in an attempt to be ‘saved’ everytime they came around the family. Everybody will want to talk to you and try to talk some sense into you.



Boy have you done lost yo mind?? You go give yo mama a heart attack with worry with all this talk about man 'evolved' from some monkey!! If your grandma hears this she might fall down dead on the spot…you messin up boy.



I don’t know what’s wrong with him, all I know is that we didn’t raise him to be like that..he won’t even take his children to church so they can learn about the Lord..I don’t know what’s wrong, I’m just go pray for him and move on, because I know that we trained him right and the Bible say to train up a child in the way that they should go, and when they grow old, they will not depart from it. So we just have to pray that the Lord pricks his heart and calls him on in before it’s too late.



I think it’s important for every person to step outside their spiritual comfort zone and sincerely examine their faith. Because no matter WHAT you believe in, you’re going to have to believe in SOMEthing if you’re going to make it in this world. I had my own voyage out into this world of agnosticism and confusion about the nature of God. It’s easy to dissociate yourself from any form of organized religion and just try to mind your business and take care of your own. Focus on that paper chase or just have as much fun as you can everyday. The fact is, no matter what a person believes about God or the Bible, there’s nothing you can say to them to make them believe if they don’t have a teachable heart. Some folks are so wrapped up in reasons on why they don’t believe the Bible is the literal ‘Word of God’, that no matter how many ways you counter their accusations that discredit the truth of the Bible, they won’t believe.



I was wrapped up in a lot of these doubts and questions about how the Bible actually matched up to hard scientific facts that I became a Creationevolutionist..I wasn’t sure how, but I knew that God created everything, whether it was the Big Bang or whatever that got it started, God made it happen. But then when you start learning about Darwin’s theory and what it really means in the Biblical context, you realize that if the theory of evolution WAS true, and man evolved from a common species as monkeys..then the Bible is erroneous.



When I set out on my soul searching voyage of truth, the main thing I needed to know was exactly what was the Bible saying..and to really KNOW for myself, I had to read it for myself..from Genesis to Revelations. It took several months to do this, but when I did read the Bible in it’s entirety for that first time…something clicked inside me..I got it…I understood the Plan. Of course, I don’t understand EVERYTHING in the Bible, that’s why I diligently study it and meditate on it daily. But once you open your heart and allow your soul to be nurtured by the Word, then you will become strengthened in faith such that even when people put ‘facts’ in front of your face that say things that refute the historical accounts of creation found in the Bible, you know that God’s plan is still in action…no matter WHAT they may say.



To some, this approach of blind faith may seem ‘ignant’ or ‘fanatical’, kinda like a child sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming, “I’m not listening to you!!’ over and over in their attempt to mute a voice of reason. These ‘voices of reason’ will pop up quite often along the Christian path and it is during these times that a person’s faith will surely be tested. Take for example an article I read in the newspaper last week entitled, 'Pre-humans walked 6 million years ago'. It went on to talk about a fossil thighbone found in Kenya that was shaped in such a way that they can tell that the chimp sized ‘human ancestor’ walked uprightly. Before this recent find, the earliest known ‘human ancestor’ that walked on 2 legs was Lucy, and she was supposed to have lived 3 million years ago. So now this most recent find is saying that man has been around for over 6 million years. This is all some pretty heavy stuff when you realize that the Biblical history of man points to the creation being thousands of years ago, not millions.



Our Sunday School lesson this week covered the creation of man, it’s titled ‘From the Dust of the Ground’. When you read in Genesis, God created Adam from the dust of the ground and He breathed life into his nostrils and man became alive (Gen 2:7). You can rack your brain and go crazy trying to rationalize and figure out how these ‘facts’ fit into the Biblical account. But no matter how deep you get, there’s always going to be places of confusion and contention because man just isn’t meant to understand and know EVERYTHING. The secret things belong to the Lord (Duet. 29:29). What my rational mind tells me and what my heart believes, is that man was made as a thinking and rational being. I can’t ride with that ‘we came from monkeys’ and evolved to our current state of socialization over time. Nahh podna..Darwin, Asminov, there’s a lot of smart folks who have spent their entire lives discrediting Creationist and the Bible, but what they’re ultimately doing is discrediting the power of God.



You really have to be careful when you discuss these types of things with people, because some folks really get offended (or offensive) when you start getting in to that ‘real’. I don’t have all of the answers and I don’t understand how all the pieces ‘fit’ when you start talking about what man ‘knows’ and what the Bible depicts. All I know is that God is on that other level..and the things that He’s done and the thing’s that He is currently doing, is not something that we can just grasp fully and say, ‘Oh..okay, I understand all that’ because it’s just not like that. There are a lot of things that we have to go out on faith and believe. It can be real hard being ‘out there’ on that faith when you have non-believers constantly pushing these ‘facts’ into your face..but sometimes you just have to know how to tune them out and rely on what you KNOW in your heart. In this case, I KNOW that God made man as a thinking creature, Adam himself named all of the animals and plants (Gen 2:20)…monkeys can’t do that.



The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledged. 3 There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun. – Psalms 19:1-4



For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and divine nature; so that they are without excuse. – Romans 1:20



If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? – John 3:12

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

What It Do

What’s up Southside? I see ya’ll peepin me and I’m feeling your love for one of your native sons, D. E. Washington. I said it before and I’ll say it again, cuz I haven’t said it in awhile..I’m just glad I met ya’ll kinfolk..fo-real. From my homies from Sugarvalley, like Big Al Dozier (let’s go kick it!) to my church members that I grew up with and serve with at Blueridge Baptist Church where my uncle, Rev. Ceola Curley, Jr. Pastors. (Heyy Chee-Chee!!), to my sister Peaches in Atlanta (Wazzup El Dogg!), to one of my Scott-bloods, my cuz D.J. who’s TaylorMade in Kansas City, all my kinfolk up in Milwaukee, Aunt Ruth & Uncle Hildred, MilwauKEEFE!, Kam, Keenan, Kia, Valencia and all those General Washington descendants up in the Big Mil...what it do kinfolk? I know a lot of ya’ll normally don’t even get on a computer, but for those who do, now you know where to come to check out your brother D.E. Washington. Yeah, I know a lot of ya’ll didn’t even know Wash & Faye’s son was getting down on the pen like this, but let me tell ya’ll something WILD!!

I don’t even remember the exact day, but one day I was driving to work and I was immersed in my thoughts as I made my trek to grab that mule. That’s a common phrase for work, ‘grab that mule’ , for black folks or anyone who has dealt with that rural life of farming and working the earth. My mule was a lot different than that of my ancestors, they had to literally grab that mule and plow with that strap, my mule was an office with a telephone and computer. I never had to sweat and toil under the hot sun, coming home with your clothes drenched in sweat. My hardest days were all mental, the kind that just causes you to come home with that headache. When that mule really gets hard to handle, that headache will start on Sunday afternoons, when you start looking at that clock and realizing that it was less than 24 hours until you have to go grab that same mule and do it for another 5 days. From the burden of the routine..getting kids up and off to school or daycare, fighting traffic, car problems, marriage problems, health problems, legal problems, tax problems, ignant folks at work, more bills than income, Iraq..it’s a lot of things that can wear you down if you let it.

But as I was driving to grab my mule, I reflected back on a conversation that I had with my paternal grandmother. Those who know my grandmother, know that she’s going to keep it real with you. It doesn’t matter if you were the pope or a wino on the street, she’s going to tell you what’s up. I was talking to her on the phone one day and she gave me some game.



Son..do you like your job?

Yes ma’am..I like it okay.

What do you like about it?

I get a chance to travel and see a lot of the country, it’s directly related to the golf market and I like golf a lot, it pays me well enough so that my wife can stay home and take care of our kids and house full-time, my office is less than 10 minutes from my house. It’s cool.

Yeah..but when you get up in the morning, do you look forward to going there?

Uhh…naww..I can’t say I look forward to it..I just go.

Well that means you don’t like it then.

After she told me that we talked for awhile longer, but after we got off the phone, I found myself reflecting back on that conversation. Hmm..I don’t really look forward to going to work, so what CAN I do that I would really like? It seemed all of my career choices were geared toward the mindset of being able to retire with the most money at the earliest age. But then I had a series of events which began to unfold that made my path for God’s purpose in my life much more clearer. One of the things my grandmother ALWAYS used to tell us as children and even as adults was, ’Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.’ Of course, this wasn’t her original saying, this is a verse from the Bible (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

After that conversation I made a more convicted commitment toward strengthening my relationship with the Lord. I read my Bible daily, I prayed for direction and understanding and ya’ll know what? The clouds began to clear and my path became plain for me to see. Once I decided to diligently try my hand at being a writer, everything else began to just fall into place. I emailed an essay I wrote on personal hygiene to my Stanford friends to get some feedback. It’s a scary thing putting your work ‘out there’ for others to see..what if it sucks? What if everybody laughs and says, ‘This n’ga is CRAZY!’, there’s a lot of vulnerabilities that going ‘public’ can create. But the beautiful thing is that the essay was received with a positive response as well as some helpful comments and suggestions. One of my friends even suggested that I start a blog.

A blog?? What’s that??

It’s short for web-log, it’s like an online journal..kinda like the one I have at
tradermike.net

I took his advice to heart, because my plan was to start my own blog, then use it as a publicity tool to increase my readership base. That way, when the first book by D.E. Washington hit the streets, I’d already have a reader base to start from. While I kept putting out blogs, I began to learn more about the book writing and publishing business and I made a decision to self-publish my own book.

So now I have my own publishing company, Servinemup Ink, and I’m working diligently toward my first book release ‘Real Game’. The thing about studying the Word, is that it’s a dynamic affair. Reading the Bible and praying will cause some changes to come into your life. It’s one thing to read it, it’s another thing to LIVE it. But once you heed that call of Christ and you commit yourself to Him..it’s like being caught up in a cloud and you’re set apart from the way you used to be.

When I write, a lot of my convictions are displayed in the words I put down and with that comes an added responsibility. Because now, a lot of my friends examine what I do and say more closely, ‘Mmmhmm..D is writing about how good Jesus is, but let’s see what that n’ga DO!!’ Sometimes it can be difficult being an imperfect human yet worshipping a perfect God. People will expect you to BE perfect..you can’t slip or slide, because if you do some will see you as a fraud. This is a cross that all Christians must bear to some extent and everyone must find their own way to handle it. No one’s perfect but Jesus..we ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are justified by faith, not by our works, but the reality of faith, is that if it’s REAL, it WILL manifest itself in what you do.

I was talking to my friend Dr. Chicken Head (ya’ll remember her, right?) one day and we started talking about Ma$e..or should I say, Pastor Mase, and his book, Revelations: The Light After the Lime. We both read the book and it detailed his journey from the wild hedonistic world of superstar rappers, to his decision to leave that world behind and take up his calling to become a minister and start his own church. Now that Pastor Ma$e is back into the rap scene, there’s a lot of Christians raising their eyebrows…



How can a Pastor go back to living ‘in the world’ like that??

He don’t love God, he just loves money!

I’m sure Pastor Ma$e isn’t the only Christian to feel these accusations and verbal assaults. I don’t have a heaven or hell to put anyone in, so it’s not for me to judge. But what I can say is that I know that the Spirit of God works with diverse operations and the goal is to spread the word of the risen Savior from the highest mountain to the lowest valley. Before I (or anyone else) should comment on Pastor Ma$e or any other Christian, you should listen to what he’s saying and you need to watch what he does. False prophets will be exposed in time by the fruit that they bear. Once you publicly profess your faith in Christ, your every thought and action are under scrutiny. From what you say to where you go and especially what you do.

I’ve felt this same pressure to some extent with servinemup.com. Some folks just ain’t feeling it, because they think all Christians are supposed to be holy ALL the time. Just like a lot of Southsiders, I like to do things that seem to satisfy us all, but once I started following God’s Word and striving to live my life and lead my family under the shield of His grace and mercy, that’s when I began to spiritually mature. And once I started maturing spiritually, a lot of temptations that used to haggle me down, become less and less appealing to me. None of us are perfect, but the Christian call is to keep moving TOWARD perfection. Not to wallow in fleshly lusts and desires, but rather keep moving on toward the glory.

All I know is that the Lord has blessed me abundantly and brought me in to His family and I’m going to do all I can to show all the hard heads, gangstas, thugs, pimps, hoz, convicts and all the people that Fanon refers to as the 'wretched of the earth', that Jesus walks and they all have a chance to join the fellowship of Believers. One of my uncles told me that there is a pretty simple litmus test when in doubt about your voice and actions. 'Whenever you get through doing whatever it is that you do, when all is said and done, who gets the glory?' If it's not God, then there's a problem.

Once again, I’m glad that all of you are coming out to support me, brother D.E. Washington, I hope you all sign up for the newsletter (I NEED email addresses!!) and I’m looking forward to serving ya’ll for awhile, it‘s what I do.