Thursday, August 14, 2008

Troy Nicole Washington

Wazzup fam!

I know it's been a minute since a lot of you have heard from me, but if you're in this distribution loop, chances are high that you've seen me at least in the past year.

2009 saw the transition of one of God's warriors. Artelia Jeanette Scott made that move to the upper room, I have no doubt.

Big Mama has touched a lot of souls in her life.

I was one of them.

Big Mama had a way of making you feel like you could leap tall buildings with a single bound.

If she was in the Matrix, the Oracle would go to Big Mama for comfort and advice.

So that was a big deal with me and my life.

Another one of those 'front row' funeral experiences.

But in case you didn't know, I recognize Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I"ve submitted to His will in my life. Big Mama played an integral part of preparing my faith to make that leap.

She was real and all about love.

If you were fighting all the time, Big Mama would caress your forehead gently and speak softly to you, "Why are you so angry? Don't you know that we LOVE you??"

Like Richard Pryor's Big Mama used to say, "Now you KNOW you can be doing better than what you doing!"

All you can say is, 'Yes ma'am." and lay your head on her bosom and enjoy the feel of her caress against your head and the sound of her warm heart.

Big Mama was the first one that made me believe in me.

I had my struggles as a child..but Big Mama was always in my corner.

"Man is going to surprise a lot of ya'll."

That's what she called me.."Man".

But she's not here anymore. And I still cry sometimes when I think about her...I still miss her.

I'm just glad that God blessed me to be a part of her life.

And just like Job declared, 'The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord. - Job 1:21", God also blessed us with a new addition to the family in this same year.

Troy Nicole Washington

July 29,2009, 4:40 pm, 7 lbs even, 20.5 inches, 9.0 Apgar..thankya Lord!

What the hot boys call a #1 stunna!!

Thank ya'll for all of your prayers for me and Tracy and Troy.

Thank you for all of your phone calls, baby shower gifts, emails, cards, flowers and gifts of love.

Thank you.

I love all of you. This ain't a public annoucement..just the family.

Public blogging has made me realize just how valuable privacy really is...but we all have our work to do.

I hope you're all grinding to get to the top of your game.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Glory 2 Glory

One of the wild things about maturing and growing older (and hopefully wiser), is that you can look back on some of the things you used to do (or say) and think, ‘Wow. I was a damn fool.”

And yet, God still kept me, even through my ignorance.

The next part that bakes your noodle is when you wonder if 10 or 20 years down the road, you’ll look at where you are right now and think the same thing.

Paul reminded Christians that our lot is not a static position. We move from glory to glory. Thank God.

What the Psalmist referred to as strength, the New Testament fulfilled as grace.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. – Psalms 84:5-7

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:18

So, as I peruse through old files, old stories I’ve written, old blogs and I find myself shaking my head. Sometimes in amusement. Sometimes in disgust. I’m better now. I’m stronger now. I’m wiser now.

The more you learn, the more you find out that you really don’t know.

But I have found out a few things about how this writing thing goes.

I feel VERY blessed to have the support of so many readers. From family members, to friends, even the people that I’ve never even met before in my life. There’s been a lot of love shown and I truly appreciate it.

I’ve also had to deal with a lot of ‘constructive critics’, who have expressed displeasure with my writing vehicle, content and or delivery. It seems that some folks are a lot more easily offended, and for that I apologize. I never intend to offend anyone. But when you have to deal with the general public, you realize that some people will get offended if you fart around them..even though you may say ‘excuse me’. I mean..damn.

I never claimed to be a writer for the masses. I know everybody can’t feel me.

The main thing that makes me more cautious is when those Philistines try to use my imperfections as a discredit to the Christ. It actually makes me kinda angry and sullen.

And when I go to my dark closet in prayer for guidance and direction, I utter Psalms 19:14 with sincerity of heart and conviction. I know I need Him. My strength (Rock) and my Redeemer.

The good news is that He came to save everybody, even throwed off ngz from Sunnyside, Texas (like me).

And the even better news (for me) is that despite the issues and problems that people may have with me and how I get down with the pen, can’t none of them tell me that God didn’t choose me. There’s a peace and security that comes when you know you’ve been chosen. Called out of the darkness. I almost want to put my hands to my ears and give all the naysayers a good ol raspberry. Pffffft!

The harder part for me is just staying humble. I still like to clown and have fun and some folks think God is just solemn and grim. No smiling. No jokes.

Obviously they’re not feeling the full essence of grace. I mean, anybody that has seen a platypus knows that God has a great sense of humor!

I’ve also learned that if you want black folks (especially black men) to read something, it helps if you have a lot of pictures with it, to keep them visually stimulated. Otherwise, they’ll see a page full of words and grow intimidated or bored and lose interest. Blah blah blah blah.

Even before I came to Christ, I was hooked on literature. The written word. I don’t have to have pictures, when I read a great piece of literature I form graphic illustrations in my mind based off the words. God blessed me like that. But at the same time, I had to put in work and due diligence to hone my skills. It’s not a static position either. I still have to read and write everyday to stay on top of my game.

My editor and a few close friends and family members always share their reading lists with me. And it seems the hot book that they all wanted to know my opinion or take on, was New Earth, the latest Oprah’s Book Club sensation, written by Eckhart Tolle.

Once you become a ‘visible’ Christian, you’ll find that a lot of non-Christians (as well as in the closet Christians) will challenge and question you on almost any topic that can relate to spirituality. I actually welcome the dialogue, because I know this is how one builds a stronger witness.

I was reading New Earth on a plane and a white chick sitting in my aisle saw the cover and exclaimed how the book had, ‘changed her life’.

It was actually kinda funny, because before I pulled the book out and started reading, she wouldn’t even look at me. Even my ‘good morning’ was met with a furtive nod and look away. I dunno, maybe she thought I was going to steal her purse on the plane or something, but once she saw I was a ‘literate negro’ I became less intimidating.

One of my prayer podnaz had sent me this link concerning this book.

I can understand why a lot of pastors would warn against reading any material which could be construed as ‘anti-Christian’. Because basically, the things you read and absorb into your mind is what you’re feeding your soul.

And although a lot of people may claim to follow Christianity or live the life of ‘casual’ Christians, the rubber meets the road with John 14:6. As politically incorrect as it may seem, I am a firm believer that there is only ONE way to God.

The common theme I found, from all the different people who I know enjoyed the book, was that they were all searching for spiritual identity.

If you don’t have a foundation that’s based on the Rock, it’s very easily to be enticed by the latest wind that blows through that sounds good to you. Everything that sounds good to you, ain’t good for ya mane.

Tolle’s book actually has some good philosophies in terms of letting the past hurts and anger go and gaining control of your own life, shedding the ‘victim mentality’. He quotes the Bible very liberally throughout the book. It’s obvious that he does have a respect for Jesus’ teachings.

But the danger comes in when you try to lump Christ as just another philosopher. As if you can just pick and choose the things you like out of the Bible and discard the rest that is unpalatable to your taste/lifestyle.

I mean, even as a believer, there are things in the Bible that I thought would have made my life a more fun if it wasn’t there. Whatever happened to concubines?? How come we can’t have those anymore?? Ya feel me?

To be honest with you, reading the book was somewhat of a labor to me. I’m not a big philosophy kinda guy, so some passages I had to read again and again just to try and understand what the hell he was talking about. My editor told me it’s a lot easier when you do the online class with it, but I was like, ‘What the hell??” I dunno.

For those who are on the search for truth, whether through Tolle or Norman Vincent Peale, or whatever the latest spiritual guru du jour may be, my question to you is, have you given Christ some time?

I’m always amazed by the breadth of some folk’s libraries. Volumes and volumes of books, essays, poems and other works of literature. That a lot of them have actually read! But when it comes to the Bible, they can never seem to find time. Or they come up with reasons of why they don’t believe the Bible..but yet they’ve never read it for themselves.

I dunno. People are funny.

But Tolle was dead on with the part he had about television rotting the brains of society. I agree wholeheartedly with that.

I’ve finished the New Earth and it’s not a book that I would recommend to those who are weak in the faith, but I don’t think reading it makes you the anti-Christ either.

I’m reading the book of Hebrews now (again). It’s one of my favorites. Have you read it?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I'm actually a big time Calvin and Hobbes guy, but quite often I can read the whole comics section and never crack a smile.

But I read this Dilbert comic and I found myself laughing out loud. Of course, my sister has always said I have a twisted sense of humor. I's just funny to me.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Learning Environment

One of the factors you have to look at concerning a person is the environment that they grew up in.

Socially. Economically. Spiritually.

I was driving home for lunch and as I stopped for a red-light at a major intersection (Reed and Cullen) on the Southside, a pedestrian crossed my path and caught my eye.

First of all, it was 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon and this chick was walking across Reed Rd. at Cullen with some flannel yellow SpongeBob pajamas, kind of grungy looking shoes and a wife beater t-shirt.

Her hair was cut low and she looked to be very athletically built. Her shoulders were wide enough to pass for a dude.

She was actually not a bad looking young lady, except she had a ‘hard’ edge about her that was literalized in the old school dark green jailhouse tattoo on her left shoulder.


When I read her tattoo as she walked in front of my hood, I kinda had to look at her more closely “Gutta Bitch?? Wtf???” and I thought to myself, “If this chick wanted to beat me up, I’d have to fight her like she was a grown man.”

As I drove off I was trying to wonder what kind of path a person would have to live, to get to the point where you want to get GUTTA BITCH permanently tattooed on your body?

Was it one particular incident or person that set her on that path?

I wondered if her parents were drug addicts or always in jail type of folks?

Surely there had to be some sort of deficiency in her learning environment.

Cuz if you’re not getting fed at home, you’ve got to get it from somewhere to live.

A lot of kids today, the only serving of love and compassion they get every day is when they go to school.

And still other kids are faced with the burden of being sexually preyed upon AT school.

As I grow as a writer and become more visible in the public eye, I’m faced with a lot more inquiries about who I am and what do I really believe. Almost as if I’m being questioned about whose side I am on.

That’s why I posted a Statement of Faith.

The next delve is usually into my personal life and how I grew up.


What type of spiritual environment bred my personal faith?

It especially comes up when people find out that my grandfather was a Bishop in a church of the holiness persuasion.

Just think: tambourines, guitars, drums, keyboard, horns, organ, choir, whooping preachers who sang their climax to the background of a band, people talking in tongues, people dancing feverishly and passing out.

Big Daddy’s church was kinda the spirit of course.

Cuz women werent’ supposed to wear pants or dresses short enough for your knee to show.

One time they found out that some members had a ‘freak homosexual party’ and everybody who attended had to stand up in front of the church and repent.

Hardcore zealots.

The other issue was the length of time you actually spent in church. Literally hours, sometimes all day and all night.

One of my cousins describes going to church with Big Daddy as, “the only difference between us and the Jehovah Witness was at least we got a chance to look out the window, they can’t even do that!”

It can really drag out on ‘testimony’ night. That’s when different members got in front of the congregation and gave their personal testimony to Christ. Why they KNOW that Jesus is real.

One time, this dude got up on testimony night and said, ‘Bishop Scott! I just want to tell you and the whole church here tonight that I KNOW Jesus is real. Yessir, I know He’s real, cuz I steal something EVRA DAY..and I ain’t’ been caught yet.”

So when they find out that your roots can be traced back to a cult, they give you the “That guy is a religious zealot in this cult” look.

I know, because that’s the same look a lot of folks give me when they hear me profess my faith in Christ. Some of my podnaz have stared into my eyes and gave me that incredulous, ‘They got YOU too D???” almost like they’re ready to hear me start talking about a spaceship.

It’s actually kind of a strange dynamic.

Orthodox Jews look at Christianity as a cultish ‘new’ thing that was added to the Book later.

Orthodox Christians look at Mormons as a cult following a book that a couple of guys claimed to be inspired by God to this one dude via an angel.

Human nature is more inclined to follow the path of least resistance.

If your mama and daddy them believed it, more than likely you’re going to believe it too.

Then when they find out that both my parents are veteran Bible teachers, they give me that, “No wonder..okay, you’re just following the family path thing. I understand. My parents aren’t religious..’

Naww podna, don’t play me short.

I don’t blindly believe the machine, I’m still a staunch advocate for independent thought.

The dividing line for me is the Bible.

If a practice is shown in the Bible to be wrong, I’m going to ride with it.

Usually, the problem comes when people start worshipping the created instead of the Creator.

The God I bow down to is not a man.

I don’t own any crosses either.

So yes, I guess I am hardcore in some areas.

I was baptized into the faith in my early years by the late Rev. W.D. Richardson.

I accepted Christ as a grown man under the leadership of Pastor Ceola Curley. I call him Uncle Pastor, because he was my uncle before he was my pastor. I was sitting in his pastor's study one morning and he extended me the right hand of fellowship. He was the one who first 'put me down in the game' as we say on the Southside.

When I was a boy, he taught me how to drive a 5-speed Three-wheeler and we used to visit him in the state prison. I know a lot of folks snicker and decry ‘jailhouse testimony’ whenever they hear that a dude got out of prison and then started preaching.

But my Uncle has strengthened my personal conviction that Jesus is real. Because I remember how he used to be before he went to prison. Processed hair, platform shoes, he might have on a fur coat!! I always thought he was just like Goldie.

The thing I always look at is if a person who has had a ‘jailhouse conversion’ still professes that Name even after he gets out of jail.

Because when you think about it, all Christians have a jailhouse conversion.

You might have not been locked up by the state, but you were locked up SOMEWHERE when He called you.

And that’s pretty much where the rubber meets the road for me.

Whenever someone starts talking about what God ‘told them’, I have to prick my ears and listen. Sometimes I might even write it down to make sure I remember it right. Because I know if somebody says, ‘God told me..” and … never happens or proves to be false? You already know it wasn’t God that they were listening to.

I’ve heard God call my name before and it hit me so strong that I didn’t even know if it was a shout or a whisper, all I know is that when I was reading the 53rd chapter of Isaiah for the first time, The Suffering Servant, that the prophet wrote about made Christ on the cross appear vividly before my eyes (or in my mind, I cannot tell the difference).

Isa 53:3-5

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus was manifested in the flesh.

Once that connection was made that Jesus wasn’t a new thing in Palestine over 2000 years ago, but that He was here even in the beginning..I heard my name called.

Yes. I believe the report.

Of course, it has some things in there that have been ‘twerked’ a bit, (i.e. the word ‘Easter’ in Acts 12:4), but the spirit of what it calls us to do and how we’re supposed to live our lives is faultless.

There is no better learning environment than being rooted in the Word of God.

Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Writer's Life

 Book Preview

The holiday season is usually the time when I get the most ‘new’ readers. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s,, normally get a lion’s share of hits from new and unique visitors.

I couldn’t quite figure out this trend, based on a five year sample period.

But my editor reminded me that this is normally the time when people get the most depressed. And since a lot of people are depressed, they usually delve into anti-social behaviour, such as surfing the internet for SOMEthing, they don’t even know what.

Googling everything from “what is the meaning of life” to “I wonder if heaven’s got a ghetto for drug dealers?”

I get a lot of types and moods added to the servinemup scene daily.

I know, because I’m the one that has to deal with the ‘issues’ that arise from people who feel slandered, defamed or offended by the content that is written/displayed on this website.

My intent is NEVER to offend or defame anyone’s character, at least, not on purpose or in a mean kind of way.

And fortunately, the thing about photos/pictures, basically if you take them with your own camera, you own them.

If you peruse through the site, you will see pictures of legendary African-American preachers, NBA All-Star’s, rap Hall of Famers, beautiful Hollywood actresses, ex-felons, drug dealers or maybe even a crackhead or two, I respect the soul in all persons. I ain’t trippin.

But just because a person’s image appears on, does not mean that they agree with all of the views of faith and life that are expounded. I go to great lengths to make sure that all photos are placed in proper context.

So if you’re visiting for the first time, I would suggest that you first read My Statement of Faith. It’s pretty much a one page summary of what I believe.

Although not always required, I think it’s the duty of a writer to let the reader know what he truly believes. You may not follow the same faith as me, Southside Christian writer D.E. Washington, but you definitely will feel where I’m coming from the more you read.

Most people see my extensive family (I’ve got over 45 FIRST cousins on my mother’s side alone, she’s one of 12 kids), my neighborhood crew that I grew up with (Always repping Sugar Valley), my Arkansas family in Union County, my Booker T. Washington Alumni family, my Stanford family, my golf fraternity, there’s a lot of groups that I identify closely with.

But at the core, I still lean toward ‘loner’ tendencies.

I spend most of my time alone. My wife is the only one who’s allowed into my inner sanctum. And she only shows up when she knows it’s time for me to come out and deal, or if she just thinks I need a break and a kiss, maybe even a good booty rub. I digress.

But because I recognized these isolationist traits within myself (along with the help of family, friends and a professional therapist), it made me more privy to the true joys of life.

Everyone has yet to feel the touch of true love. Real love, not that fake shit.

Just because someone says I love you doesn’t make it true.

Like we say on the Southside, you gotta see what it DO.

And once you feel that real love, you know you never have to feel alone again.

The hard part is going out on that plank of faith and trusting.

If not for anything else, I write so that one person our there who feels alone will get a testimonial verification from a ‘kinda throwed off’ crazy Southside Christian writer.

I give witness to the report, He is I AM.

I hope you enjoy the reading while you’re here and even if you don’t enjoy it, I hope you’re never bored.


D.E. Washington

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Myths and Facts about Barack Hussein Obama

Most of the people I work with everyday can be described as over 50, white, conservative Republicans.

Being the minority in an environment (although I actually do consider myself a moderate-conservative), gives me the opportunity to be a fly on the wall and listen and observe how others think.

I couldn't help but overhear one water-cooler conversation regarding Barack Obama..

"He hides it from the general public, but he grew up Muslim in this radical terrorist camp."

I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief. I've read Obama's book, 'Dreams of My Father' and I knew this to be completely false. But just before I barged into the conversation, to 'enlighten' the participants of what the real truth was, I paused. And I realized that most people believe what they WANT to believe.

But for those who have to deal with similar situations, here's a list (that I didn't compose but gathered from another forum) of common myths about Obama. I'll be sure to update this page, as I'm sure new myths will continue to pop up the closer we get to the election.

Claim: “Why does Obama not participate in saying the ‘Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America’?”

Truth: Obama does participate in saying the Pledge, and has done so throughout his life. The claim is false.

Claim: “Have you or anyone else ever seen Obama with his hand over his heart while the National Anthem is being played?”

Fact: During the Pledge, he recites it with his hand over his heart. During the National Anthem, he sings. The U.S. Code makes it optional: “[W]e spoke with Anne Garside, director of communication for the Maryland Historical Society — home of the original manuscript of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and asked if anyone could be punished for not placing their hands over their hearts during the national anthem. She quickly replied, ‘Oh, of course not,’ adding that ‘there is no obligation to put your hand over your heart.’ Garside told us she has been asked numerous times about this rumor and finds the controversy to have ‘gotten a little bit ridiculous.’”

Claim: “Are you aware that Obama’s middle name is Mohammed?”

Fact: His middle name is “Hussein.”

Claim: To join Obama’s Christian church in Chicago, you “need to be…black.”

Fact: Rush Limbaugh and Fox News have repeated this claim on the air, and it’s false. Martin Marty, a professor of theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School, said last April: “To those in range of Chicago TV I’d recommend a watching of Trinity’s Sunday services, and challenge you to find anything ‘cultic’ or ’sectarian’ about them. More important, for Trinity, being ‘unashamedly black’ does not mean being ‘anti-white.’ My wife and I on occasion attend, and, like all other non-blacks, are enthusiastically welcomed.” He later added that the email “is vicious and lying, and makes my blood boil.”

Claim: Obama is “possibly a covert worshiper of the Muslim faith, even today.”

Fact: This is from the same email that attacks Obama’s Christian church, which seems odd. The smear artists should probably at least read their own emails before sending them out — Obama can’t be a radical Christian and a Muslim at the same time. (He is, of course, neither.)

Claim: Obama “spent two years in a Muslim school” in Indonesia.

Fact: No, he didn’t.

Claim: “Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim.”

Fact: Obama was never a Muslim, so he has nothing to conceal.

Claim: Obama has “been a US Senator for about 100 days, give or take a week.”

Fact: Obama was elected in 2004, and has served in elected office for 12 years.

Claim: “When [Obama] was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran.”

Fact: Actually, that was Rep. Keith Ellison (D) of Minnesota, Congress’ only Muslim. Obama used the Christian Bible, and there’s a picture to prove it.

Claim: Lanny Davis said, "I say that senator Obama's words are contradicted by deeds. He said he would -- he pledged to take public financing as now senator McCain has pledged. He has just reversed that pledge." [Late Edition, 2/17/08]

Fact: Obama Campaign Never Committed To Public Financing in a General Election, But That He Would Pursue a Deal When He Is the Nominee

Obama Campaign Asked the FEC to Determine Whether It Could "Retain the Option" of Accepting Public Financing During the General Election. On February 1, 2007, the Obama campaign asked the FEC to determine whether if "Senator Obama becomes a candidate, he may provisionally raise funds for the general election but retain the option, upon nomination, of returning these contributions and accepting the public funds for which he would be eligible as the Democratic Party's nominee... the Senator would not, if the law allows, rule out the possibility of a publicly funded campaign if both major parties' nominees eventually decide, or even agree, on this course." [Letter to FEC, 2/1/07]

Burton: If The Republican Agreed, Public Financing "Would Be Something We Would Explore." Politico reported, "‘It would be a situation where if the Republican agreed to opt-in to the public financing system, it would be something we would explore,' Burton said." [Politico, 2/27/07]

Burton: "There Is No Pledge."
The AP reported, "Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Thursday called public financing "an option that we wanted on the table," but said "there is no pledge" to take the money and the spending limitations that come with it." [AP, 2/17/08]

Claim: Obama plagiarized a line in one of his speeches from Gov. Deval Patrick

Fact: Gov. Deval Patrick himself says that it was not plagiarism and that the charges were not fair.

Patrick called the comment "not fair" and said, "It's not just about words, it's about great ideas. … These are iconic phrases."

Patrick says an allegation such as plagiarism is too much. "It's not like he's writing a law review article or a book. He should have credited me two words," the governor said.

Patrick and Obama have longstanding ties and similarities. Like Obama, Patrick faced a tough race against a woman, is a fellow Harvard grad and the two are old friends. They even share political adviser David Axelrod.

"I've known Barack 15 years. We've talked a good deal. I fully expected he would sustain a charge at some point, trying to belittle his ability to motivate people. I got the same attack," Patrick said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Praying for Our President

Believe it or not...I wrote this back in 2004.

Praying for our President

Praying for Our President - Thursday, October 14, 2004

When we were in our Young Adult’s Bible School class this past Sunday, our teacher had us all give an example of our testimony towards God’s goodness that we have had in our lives. We went around our small knit class, (there was about 6 students in class this week) and we all gave a personal account as to how we know God has kept us and blessed us in our lives. The key here is that when we pray, it’s so easy to pray for the blessings that we WANT, but we must never forget to go before the Lord and just tell Him thank you for all the blessings that He has allowed to be a part of our lives.

I was watching the presidential debate last night (between flipping from the Astros-Cardinals game..GO ‘STROS!!) and after the debate, they had Tavis Smiley from NPR/PBS on ABC and Dan Rather (or is it Peter Jennings? I get them confused) asked him a few questions about the debate. Tavis brought up 2 major points. One was that Kerry was the first one to bring up the issue of religion and prayer and openly state his own personal faith during this particular debate. This was quite an oddity, because to date the Democrats had criticized Bush for catering to the religious groups with his frequent references to his spiritual life and being a born again Christian. I say this, because as a Christian living in America, I know that I often give favor and the benefit of the doubt, towards a person who I believe has Christ in their heart over a person who does not believe in God. And as much as Bush has done some things during his term that made me feel that he is very much a part of the spiritual wickedness in high places that Paul says we wrestle against everyday (Eph 6:12), I know that Bush’s strongest backing is still the rich and/or Christian voter.

I guess my core problem with the Bush administration, is that as a black married working class man, with 2 kids living here on the Southside of Houston, Texas, I really don’t feel that the Bush administration really gives a damn about what is going on in the hood. In our communities, with our children. I listen as he touts his policies and all the good things his administration has accomplished, but then I look outside on the streets of the Southside everyday and I see people teetering on the brink of a total depression. A lot of folks don’t have jobs; a lot of folks that have jobs are still living from paycheck to paycheck. They’re one layoff and unemployment benefit denial away from having to go live with relatives or in a shelter. Senior citizens are having to sacrifice things such as running their air conditioner or the quality of their food just so that they can get their prescription medicine that they need. It’s tight out here in George Bush’s America 2004 ya’

Of course, it’s not like George Bush and his administration caused all of the problems that our poor and working class communities are dealing with either. A lot of the problems that we have in the hood are caused by our own laziness, selfishness and neglect. As any true God fearing man will realize, you can’t make anything happen in your life ‘jus chillin’ all day. You’ve got to get up and hustle and strive if you want to make it work, so as dismal as the outlook may be in the working sector of America, that does not excuse lazy hands.

6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long will thou sleep O sluggard? When will thou arise out of thy sleep; 11 So shall thy poverty come as a prowler and they want as an armed man. – Proverbs 6:6-11 KJV

Arise from your slumber O sluggard! You’ve got to get up, get out and DO something. That is every man’s responsibility to his family. At least, that’s how I was raised. Which brings me back to my testimony.

I’ve made reference and spoken of my maternal grandfather here on many times, my Big Daddy, the late Bishop Sam Scott, Sr. This is a man who never matriculated out of grade school, all he knew was work. He had his own plumbing/carpentry business, he was a landlord of several low-income houses in the poor black neighborhoods in El Dorado, Arkansas and he was a bishop that spent many hours on the road traveling to churches throughout Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi preaching. You could say a lot of things about Big Daddy, but NO ONE could call him a sluggard. At Big Daddy’s funeral, 3 of his sons (my uncles) delivered sermons to the congregation. When my uncle Lloyd (Pastor of Eastern Star Baptist Church in Port Arthur Texas, all ya’ll golden triangle folks looking for a church home should check him out..he’s a real n’ga!) got up to the pulpit, he told everybody about how the doctors came to Big Daddy and Big Mama on 3 different occasions and told them they should begin making arrangements for the burial of one of their children. And each time the doctors told them this most disturbing news for any parent to hear, the first thing Big Daddy and Big Mama did was get down on their knees and start praying.

The first time was when one of their daughters was in a serious home fire that caused her to suffer 3rd degree burns on a large part of her body. Another time was when one of their sons was in another of his numerous street fights and he was shot and wounded to the point of critical condition. Another time was when one of their sons was involved in a serious car accident. Each time, after the doctors gave their prognosis, their advice was to prepare for the worst, and each time man and all rational thinking said no, they got down on their knees and God said yes.

So often when life throws us these seemingly defeating and devastating blows, that is when we are humbled and our prayer life gets real frequent. Even folks who never go to worship God in any form or fashion know when they need to get down on their knees and go before the Almighty for help. The bad part is, so often when the Lord hears our cry and sustains us and brings us out of that pit to see a brighter day, we forget about Him and all the good things He’s brought us through, and we go back to doing whatever it is we want to do and our prayer life and fellowship with God becomes more distant.

Big Daddy was black man without any formal education in rural Southern Arkansas that was born near the turn of the century. He knew hardships, he knew how unfair it was for a black man to get a good paying job with benefits compared to the white man. But through all of the reasons why he could have just laid it down and been one of them lazy niggaz that do nothing all day every day, he didn’t. He got up on his hustle and took care of his wife and all 12 of his children, all the while preaching the wonder working power of the Lord to all who would listen.

So when I heard my uncle recant those times of distress and prayer, and how everytime, the Lord came through and delivered Sam & Tee’s children from the hands of death so they might live a longer life. And how one of those sons who was shot is now out ministering to the world, and how the son who was in the car accident had to get one of his legs amputated, but he made it through. And how the daughter ended up spending almost a year in the hospital due to the burns and go through numerous skin grafts where they used skin taking from the legs of her mother to restore her, how that daughter not only survived, but she went on to become the first person in the family to earn a college degree, you can start seeing the power of the Lord working in the midst of distress.

So when my time came to give my testimony as to how good God has been to me in my life, the first thing I said was that God let me see a miracle everyday when I was growing up. Because, that same daughter that Big Daddy used to pray for every week over the radio when she was recovering at the burn hospital in Little Rock….well, that daughter is an integral part of my testimony. You see, my Sunday school teacher is that same daughter of Bishop Scott that was burned and she’s also my mother. So when you look at all the people that go around complaining about everything, the economy, the election, the weather, their dating life, their finances, pimples on their face whatever, I let them go ahead and make it, but I can’t join them. I can’t complain ya’ll, because I know I’m wonderfully blessed, we have a risen Savior that can pull us through the darkest of times of distress and woe..kinda like where we are now with our leadership situation in America.

The 2nd point that Tavis Smiley brought up was the fact that through the 4 debates (3 presidential, 1 Vice-president) so far, there have only been 2 topics (total) that specifically was addressed towards the black community. The first time was in the vice-presidential debate when the topic of the AIDS/HIV reaching epidemic levels in the African-American community was brought up. Neither candidate had a clue that this was a problem in America. The 2nd time was last night when the question of affirmative action was brought up. Once again, I listened to both of these candidates’ answers and I realized that they are both very much disconnected from the reality that most black/poor/working class folks live.

So as I was sitting there thinking about the election, I realized that the main thing that had caused me to waiver on deciding who to vote for, was the fact that I don’t particularly care for either candidate. Of course, I’ve GOT to vote, because I honestly believe any black person in America who doesn’t get out and vote, especially after all the sacrifices our parents and grandparents made just so that we could have the OPPORTUNITY to vote..basically any eligible black person that doesn’t vote is a sorry nigga as far as I’m concerned. It don’t matter what precinct you live in, get out there and DO something for black folks ain’t free, it was paid for with a price that started with the blood of those African slaves who were killed or thrown overboard and fed to the sharks during the Middle Passage to the Americas. It was paid for when our grandparents were hung from trees for saying or doing the wrong thing around the wrong white person. It was paid when they put dogs and hoses on our parents who just wanted equal privileges for their kids.

Don’t be like one of them ignant dudes that vote for Nader or the Libertarian party either, cuz that’s a big reason how Bush got in this past election. All those no-votes add up, cuz you can best believe them rich white folks are at the polls baby. Not to say being rich and white is a bad thing, Kerry's got a lot of rich white folks in his camp also..we’d all like to experience it for at least one day I’m sure! :) But everybody who’s so ready to break Bush off needs to realize that it takes more than complaining to make something happen.

On the other hand, some black folks think that they’re only allowed to be Democrat, and that ain’t cool either. It’s too bad we can’t pick and choose different agendas.traits of each campaign and make a custom president, kinda like a Mr. Potato Head..Energy policy from this guy, education from that one, defense from that one…there! But what we can do is continue to write letters to our senators, state representatives and congressmen. Continue to vote and play an active part in our community and continue to do all the things possible to make sure our voice is heard. Personally, I’m eagerly looking forward to the day I can vote for the soon to be Senator of Illinois, Barrack Obama (Whoop Keyes az!!) to be our President..but we’ve got a ways to go before that day. Make sure you pray before you vote ya’ll…America needs it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

3 Steps to Blessedness

My wife has this thing she tells the kids from time to time, ‘When people show you who they are, you need to believe them.”

The key word is ‘show’.

It ain’t what it say or what it look like, it’s what it DO??!!

Love is an action word.

My wife and I often find ourselves in the situation where we’re trying to teach our children what is right and what is wrong and in the process of teaching by example, we’ve both had to grow into being more mature people than we used to be.

Even though I’ve done it on various of occasions, I actually found myself instructing my son not to drink directly out of the juice bottle.

It really comes down to being too lazy to wash and dry a cup.

“Look here mane, " I told my son, " I kiss my wife on the lips, I don’t want to swap spit with NOBODY else, so don’t contaminate the drinking supply with your germs. . “

Strange, I never made that connection until I became a father..does that make me a hypocrite??? Anyway…

As you can see, my family and I go through real life issues just like everybody else. Just because we’re a Christian family doesn’t mean we don’t ever have to go to therapy sessions.

My wife and I tossed around the idea of doing a reality show, kinda like Rev. Run’s House/Bernie Mac/My Wife and Kids or something, but I think she’s afraid of what I might say if the camera is on me too long.

Which is another reason of why I enjoy going to worship and praise services. I enjoy learning more about God and the path prescribed for us to walk. Being ‘good’ never came naturally to me, I had to ‘act’ like I had some sense.

And know that I made it past the chasm of confusion and unbelief and onto the side of the Believers in Christ, I know I still have a lot of growing to do. I still enjoy being taught and learning. I definitely enjoy a good sermon, we all need to be ‘preached up’ a bit from time to time when our spirits get low and our batteries need to be recharged.

And so often I find myself listening to sermons and I feel like the minister is talking specifically, directly and to nobody else but me. No matter how many people are in the congregation, God sent this person to minister to my soul.

This past Sunday, I felt myself in another one of these ‘He’s talking to YOU’ situations as I sat through our morning 11 o’clock service at Blueridge Baptist Church, 9621 Chesterfield.

Our church is going through a time of change right now, and we had a visiting minister deliver the address. He had already preached at our church before and conducted a Bible Study back in August, and I highlighted his points in Paper Chasing.

Rev. Ralph Fairley is his name, and although of slight stature, he wields a heavy sword when it comes to ministering the gospel of Christ. We actually know some of the same people, because his wife and I are both Stanford alums.

Our custom (at our church) is to stand in reverence to God’s Word, as the minister reads the passage of Scripture that he is going to expound upon. His text this Sunday was out of Haggai, the 2nd Chapter.

I was sitting in a pew right next to my father and as we stood, I flipped through my Bible and leaned over to him and asked, ‘Where’s Haggai??”

I knew Haggai was a latter prophet, somewhere after Daniel but before Malachi, but I didn’t know exactly where and I didn’t want to be the ‘novice’ of having to look at the table of contents. My dad, being the Bible scholar that he is, whispered, “It’s right before Zechariah”

I still had a hard problem finding Zechariah..and Zephaniah, but there was Haggai, right between the two.

Haggai is a small book, comprised of only 2 chapters.

Haggai was a prophet of the restored remnant of Israel after the 70 years captivity. They had returned to Israel and were allowed to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed. The text began at the 10th verse…

In the twenty-fourth of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the Word of Jehovah came by Haggai the prophet, saying, So says Jehovah of Hosts: Now ask the priests the Law, saying, If one carries holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and touches his skirt to bread, or boiled food, or wine, or oil, or any food, will it become holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then Haggai said, If one unclean of body touches these, is it unclean? And the priests answered and said, It is unclean. And Haggai answered and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before Me, says Jehovah. And so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. And now, I ask you, set your heart on it; from this day and onward, before the placing of a stone on a stone in the temple of Jehovah; from then onward, one came to a heap of twenty measures, and there were but ten; one came to the wine vat to draw off fifty from the winepress, and there were but twenty. I struck you with blight and with mildew, and with hail, in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me, says Jehovah. Now set your heart from this day and forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that Jehovah's temple was founded. Set your heart: Is the seed still in the barn? Yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, have not brought forth. From this day I will bless you.

(Haggai 2:10-19 MKJV)

The title of his sermon was ‘Three Steps to Blessedness”

He started talking about working in corporate America and being privy to the large sums of money that were transferred everyday. With his position, he was able to see checks into the 6 figure amounts. And all the time he would wonder, how could he get HIS name on one of those checks next to, Pay to the Order of:

So many preach prosperity now and you can see them using the Bible to back up their ‘name it and claim it’ gospel on so many occasions..

John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”

Psalms 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Praise God = Get Paid is the formula they’re pushing.

But Rev. Fairley showed us that there are 3 steps required to getting our name ‘on that check’.

Haggai used the example of showing how holy flesh doesn’t ‘rub off’ onto others, but unclean flesh can contaminate healthy flesh. One rotten apple can ruin the whole barrel.

1st Step: Religion is no substitute for righteousness.

The people had begun rebuilding the temple, but when they compared the foundation and drawings to Solomon’s temple, they knew it wasn’t going to be as majestic as the previous temple. So they stopped working on the temple and went back to building their own personal houses and tending to their own private affairs.

They still loved God, but he had taken a backup spot to themselves.

God never intended to be the Pips to our Gladys Knight.

He didn’t ask to be the Blue Notes to our Harold Melvin.

He never wanted to be the Maze to our Frankie Beverly.

God is not a backup singer, he’s a lead. And until we put God first in our lives, we’re going to be stuck in idolatry.

2nd Step: Learn how to recognize and respond to the voice of the Lord.

That’s a hard one sometimes. Cuz every whacko preacher-prophet-apostle-priest that claims to be ‘speaking God’s Word’ ain’t.

There’s a lot of jank in the drank, when it comes to the exposition of the gospel.

That’s why Christians have the individual charge to study to show thyself approved unto God (II Timothy 2:15). You can never rightly divide without spending some time in prayer and Bible study for yourself.

Jesus was a lot more direct, because He knew, “My sheep know my voice.”

The 3rd and final step, is to learn how to totally rely on God.

Haggai let the Israelites know, that all those times of hard toil and labor with minimal return wasn’t necessarily because of ‘evil spirits’ or ‘bad luck’. Sometimes God limits our production as a way of chastising us towards obedience.

When parents don’t love their children, they let them run wild and do whatever. But when a parent truly loves their child, they chastise them and give them discipline. That’s how children are able to grow up and become responsible adults.

God wanted them to know that He didn’t care about the size or grandeur of what the new temple looked like. No matter how opulent, the temple would never shine without His presence anyway.

“Is the seed yet in the barn? Yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth; from this day will I bless you.”

Attending church services regularly is not the same as embracing Christ in your heart, the former is an effect of the latter.

A lot of people are living in spiritual confusion. Trying to follow 20 different televangelist/ministers all teaching 20 different doctrines. Calling Ms. Cleo, checking their horoscope, going to see a palm reader or have a pre-birth séance, buying prophesy cloths, it’s unlimited the amount of ‘game’ that is being circulated.

Bible study is a vital cog to the Christian way of life. There is no substitute for it.

I know I’m personally guilty of putting my own affairs before God. There is a balance to be reached between caring for your family and fulfilling God’s plan for your life.

Spending all your time and money at church when your wife and kids are hungry with no place to live is out of bounds.

“But if any provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”. – I Timothy 5:8

It’s all just another step toward learning how to totally rely on God.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hard Heads 2008

Sometimes I have to go into ‘timeout’, so that I can calm down and get myself together.

Even though I’m a grown man with kids, I still have my tendencies of ‘tunnel visioned’ passion. (see Hard Heads)

As a child, I used to get so ‘caught up’ in whatever it was I was doing, that I lost sight of other things going on around me. This usually manifested itself in my MULTIPLE occasions of knocking over furniture, plantery and even a broken window (or two).

My mom had this one potted plant that I must’ve knocked over a dozen times (if you include the times I did it when my parents weren’t around). What made it so bad, it was in our den and we had this thick shag rug carpet. So when all that potted soil got into the carpet, you couldn’t sweep it up, you had to get the vacuum cleaner.

I mustve got my az whupped over that plant at least 3 or 4 times.

It just got to the point where my mom wasn’t trying to hear anymore ‘It was an accident’

You knocked this plant over AGAIN!!!????

Momma..I wasn’t trying to.

I don’t want to HEAR THAT!! I done told you at least 3 TIMES to stop running through this house like you ain’t go no sense!!! Now you done knocked over my plant..AGAIN!!! I’m tired of talking to you…

At that point, she was usually in a huff and spitting mad and headed toward the closet to get one of my dad’s leather belts..usually the black one. She never heat me with the buckle tho, only the strap. Thanks be to go, I was HEALED and DELIVERED!!

Nowadays, if parents put a belt on their child’s behind, they’re liable to ‘catch a case’ and have them white folks in their life. Child Protection Services have helped a lot of families, but they’ve also hurt a few too. On both sides of the coin: Neglect of sheltering a child truly in harm or danger’s way AND over-reacting to a situation that ultimately ended up damaging the relationship between child and guardian.

I don’t want to see any child hurt or abused, but at the same time, I know I was one of those hard headed little boys that needed physical reprimand to garner my full attention.

I read stories about those 4 sisters in Washington D.C. that were found in a decomposed state and I almost start pacing the floor sometimes. I still get crunk over stuff like that. Another reason of why I cling as close to Christ as I possibly can..I need to lean on Him a lot. Or else I would have ‘flipped out’ a LOONG time ago.

Quite the contrary of my Michael Corleone, Godfather admiration, I would have never been the Don, cuz I could have never killed my brother Fredo.

And when I see instances of gross neglect and blatant evil such as this, I am reminded and re-affirmed that there are spiritual powers in high places working hard every day to spread evil and hate into this world.

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

I’m very much aware of this battle that is raging.

I believe in education, living a healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise) and taking care of your families. Working hard at whatever it is you do. Giving your best.

As many ills of society that there are to fight against: child abuse, domestic abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism, greed, strife, poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy..all that stuff and more is going down in full effect in 2008.

Some people ask, “Is it REALLY getting bad or has it been this way all the time and it’s just getting publicized more now?”

I dunno..all I know is that there’s much work to do and when our book is closed, the question we have to ask ourselves is if He is going to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. (Matt 25:21,23)” Or is He going to say, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.(Matt 7:23)”??

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Dying Family

As I was driving her to school this morning, my daughter asked me if I had made any New Year’s resolutions.

I told her no.

“New Year’s resolutions never made any sense to me. If people want to change something about themselves, why wait until January 1st ?? Do it right away!”

Of course, that’s not to say that I don’t have some things that I can improve upon.

Tidiness. Punctuality. Punctuation. Grammar. Sentence structure.

There are definitely a lot of areas for me to tighten up my game.

But at the same time, I thank God for giving me a passion and a purpose.

I like to write.

I like to read.

I like to study the predicament of the human soul.

I love to study God’s Word.

It’s not just a passing fancy for me.

I don’t see Jesus Christ as a genie in the lamp for me to rub on when I need Him and keep tucked away in a back closet when I want to do MY thang.

Instead, I take the words from Joshua’s and the Psalmist pen to heart.

Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Psa 1:1-2 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

These words mean even more to me, now that I’m a husband and a father. This past Sunday our church had an installation ceremony for all of the new and re-elected ministry leaders. As my wife and I stood together before the congregation, along with all the other ministry leaders who took the pledge and prayer for the New Year, I made sure to grab her hand as we recited the pledge and prayed together.

I know it’s a blessing to be happily married and living under the covenant of Christ. Everybody ain’t got it like that.

In fact, in the neighborhood that we live and attend church, the family structure of a husband, wife and kids is quickly becoming an extinct species.

Drug abuse. Children born out of wedlock. Divorce. Adultery. Deadbeat parents and a plethora of other ‘issues’ are plaguing our community.

As much as I would love to thump on my chest and tout how strong MY family is..I know I can’t take any of the credit. Because the bond that fuses my family together is a lot stronger than anything I could have done on my own.

A lot of people look at my wife and me and assume that everything came so easy for us. Little do they know that our marriage was in no means a fairy tale beginning. Like Mahalia Jackson used to sing, we came up on the rough side of the mountain.

If anything, our marriage is a testament to what can happen when you make Christ the head of your life and your marriage.

I know there are a lot of marriages that are teetering on the brink of destruction. Most of the questions and inquiries about God and the Bible that I get from men always seem to center around the common complaint, “My wife ain’t submitting to me!!

I don’t try to get into anybody’s business, but if they ask me, I tell them. “Have you submitted yourself to Christ?”

Just like the military, there’s a God ordained structure or a ‘chain of command’ that must line up in order to operate in harmony.

My prayer for the New Year is for all the families that are struggling to make it. More specifically, my prayer is for all the men to stand up and assume their position and duty in God’s plan for the family. Loving your wives. Not provoking your children to anger. Being the king and priest of your household like God meant for you to be.

Because when the man doesn’t stand up and assume his role, that leaves a lot more responsibility and burden on the woman. And there are some strong and devout women with the courage and faith to make it work, but it’s not the way God intended for it to be.

Marriage is an exercise of patience and perseverance. In a lot of ways, you’ve got to sacrifice your own personal desires for the good of the group. Marriage definitely ain’t for everybody, especially selfish people.

But the joys you get from persevering and ‘making it’, can make all the hardships and struggle that you went through more than worthwhile.

Happy New Year everybody! Get some Word in your life in 2008!!