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.
Am I a GUTTA CHRISTIAN?
What type of spiritual environment bred my personal faith?
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 wild..in 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.
The other issue was the length of time you actually spent in church. Literally hours, sometimes all day and all night.
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.
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).
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.