Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Observing the Sabbath

Observing the Sabbath- Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Creating a New Hope huh D?

You already know!! :)

I’m glad you post those Bible lessons every week, I really enjoy them.

Do you go to church?

Naww, I listen to different gospel shows on the radio or on the TV from time to time, but I don’t go to church.

Why not?

I dunno..a combination of things. Sundays are normally the only day I get to sleep in and really get some rest, and then by the time I wake up and get something to eat, it’s time to watch football. Ya feel me?

Yeah, I feel ya…as a matter of fact that used to be my routine every Sunday.

Really?? The way you write, I thought you were all ‘Mr. Church’ and thangs!!

(laughing) ‘Mr. Church’?

Why are you laughing??

I’m laughing because this is another prime example of how God will grab your heart and change the whole way you think and behave when you step out there on faith. From the time when I was a little boy, my parents and grandparents MADE me go to church, it was never something I wanted to do for myself.


Yeah..Sunday mornings always had a way to ‘bring out the devil’ in me. I always just wanted to do whatever it is I wanted to do, so having to go to church and sit down and be quiet and LISTEN to the service taught me patience and obedience.

What do you mean by ‘bring out the devil’??

I dunno, it seemed every Sunday morning I was always tired or in a grumpy mood. I never wanted to get cleaned up and wear those uncomfortable ‘church clothes’. I always just wanted to sleep in, watch cartoons or just go play. But going to church regularly allowed me to learn and grow with a religious discipline to my life. Looking back on it now, if I didn’t have the structure of religious worship in my life…I would be a lot different person right now.

I guess that’s what the Bible means when it says, ‘Train up a child in the way that they should go..’

Unn huhh..(smiling) you know what Word says! didn’t think I knew that Scripture huh??

No, that doesn’t surprise me..I know your mama trained you up right!

I’m down with God, I’m just not with all these phony church folks and stuff. Seems like everytime I go to church, I see something throwed off and it makes me reluctant to go, because I never feel like the people there are really sincere in their worship..most of them just want to be seen and most of the preachers don’t seem to care about saving souls or preaching the Word of the Lord, they just want my money.

Sounds like you need to move around then..and start checking out different church services until you find one that you feel comfortable joining in fellowship.

It’s not just that either tho D…there’s some things in my life I’m really not ready to put behind me and I don’t want to go in the church acting all holy holy, and then when I come out of the church, I’m still doing all the things I was doing before. I don’t want to be a hypocrite about it.

So you’re going to wait until you ‘get right’ before you start going to church??

Yeah..I guess you can say that.

But you’re not going to be able to ‘get right’ by yourself, you’re going to need the Lord’s help to strengthen you and guide you. And when you start fellowshipping and worshipping and learning more about the Lord, that’s when you start seeing the change in your heart. You’re supposed to come as you are mane, God will take care of everything else.

Maybe I’ll start going after football season…

They have a lot of churches with early morning worship service, you can be out before football starts.

But I like to sleep late on Sunday’s.

They have a lot of churches with service on Saturday evenings too.

I thought Sunday was the day we were supposed to go to church??

Well..that depends who you ask. Most Protestants, like Baptist folks, observe their Sabbath on Sunday’s to honor Christ’s resurrection. But the Sabbath was originally observed on Saturday, which is the 7th day of the week and a lot of folks still worship on Saturdays. Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Which one is right then? Saturday or Sunday?

Well..if you want to be ‘technical’ about it, Saturday IS the 7th day that God rested on after the Creation, but I don’t think it’s something to start a war over or anything. As long as you take that time and observe the Sabbath on ANY day, then you’re showing your religious commitment towards worshipping God.

What happened to you though? You used to be one of those football followers every Sunday too!

I still watch football on Sundays, but I make the effort to get up and go to church and learn in Sunday school every Sunday first.

What made you start going back to church?

My kids. I started noticing how quickly they were growing up and I knew how much the Lord had strengthened me from all the times my parents and grandparents made me and my sister and cousin go to church every Sunday. And when I started realizing that if it wasn’t for that religious structure that going to church gave me, I wouldn’t have been nearly equipped to handle a lot of the pressures that the world has put on me. I didn’t want my kids to miss out on that blessing, so my wife and I re-committed our lives toward training our children in the Lord. It’s the biggest grip we can give them.

See..I don’t have any I don’t have that same motivation to go.’s different for everybody. But rest assured, you WILL reach that point in your life when you get tired and you’ll start feeling restless and that’s when you’ll know that God is trying to tell you something.

D’mn D…you making a n’ga feel like he gotta change some thangs.

All I know is that the longer you stay away from worshipping the Lord, the harder it is to go back in to the house of the Lord. All you have to do is make that first step towards Him. When you seek God diligently in worship and in truth, He will meet you more than halfway…but it’s still on you to DO it. Everybody wants God’s blessings, but so few are willing to make sacrifices and SERVE Him.

I hear ya mane..I guess that’s just something I need to pray on.

You and me both.
As most people that know me can tell you, I’ve always been a bit on the buckwild side, I always just wanted to clown like you see me doing in this picture as me, my sister and my cousin Peaches (wazzup El Dogg! :) were on our way to church with my grandmother in Arkansas. I have never been one to willingly abide to a religious structure or format. I went to church because my parents and grandparents MADE me go. I didn’t want to worship, I always just wanted to have fun and church was never fun to me. It seemed like a waste of a perfectly good weekend day, that could be better spent enjoying life, not sitting up in some ol stuffy church. The good thing is that I DID go every Sunday and the lessons I learned in church stuck with me and gave me an edge that a lot of my playmates and friends who never went to church did not have. It’s an edge of being trained in the Word of God that allowed me to always know the difference between right and wrong. I didn’t always CHOOSE to do right, but growing up with a religious structure taught me a discipline that has paid immeasurable dividends throughout my life.

The wild part is, if I had never had children of my own or gotten married, chances are high that I would still be ‘out there’ doing whatever it is my heart contented me to do. But once I realized that it was my responsibility to prepare my children for this world, I knew that I had to make sure they had a good foundation to build their relationship with the Lord. Don’t get me wrong though, I still don’t enjoy structure. Sometimes when I sit in church even today, my mind drifts away to other things during the service or I start getting fidgety and looking at the clock, ready to go home and watch football or golf or whatever. I’m not into the fashion statements or those folks who want everybody to know how much money they gave to the Lord every Sunday, but I do enjoy listening to the Word of the Lord. That meat..that solid food, I crave it constantly. Fortunately, with cable TV and radio, we can tune into thousands of services throughout the world. Listen to some Tony Evans or some T.D. Jakes, check in on some Joel Osteen or some David Jeremiah. But as good as these virtual ministers are, it’s still not the same as entering the house of the Lord, praising God and fellowshipping with other Believers.

My parents used to remind me from time to time,

' need to make some time for the Lord. When you know He’s been good to you, you need to thank Him and praise Him for all He has done for you.’

Usually when this topic came up, I would avoid it, because I wasn’t trying to hear that, I still wanted to keep all of my time for me. But being a father made me step outside of my comfort zone and re-committ myself toward leading my family along God’s path. You’ll just reach a point where you know that God expects all of His children to be obedient and David laid it out for a lot of fathers to learn from, ‘As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.’

I still have a ways to go in increasing my worship commitment. There’s still a large part of me that doesn’t like a lot of the hypocrisies that are so prevalent in the church today. But I know I don’t go to church for the people, I go to praise the Lord..everything else is just people doing what THEY do, I know I can’t let throwed off folks deter me from my walk with the Lord.

The day after Uncle Elga’s funeral, I drove to Port Arthur to attend a revival at my uncle’s church.

“You betta get down here to hear this if you can nephew..this n’ga preaching the revival is bad”.

In this sense, it was not ‘bad’ meaning ‘bad’ but rather ‘bad’ meaning good! (to quote Run-DMC). The preacher was a mature minister, who had been through storms in life and yet his faith had obviously remained steadfast and unmovable. He preached out of the 17th Chapter of Luke, verses 11-19. In this passage, Jesus cleanses 10 lepers from their illness. The minister pointed out that the lepers had congregated together as a consortium, because since they all were stricken with the same disease, they shared a common misery. But when the time came and Jesus healed all of them, only one of the 10 came back to say thank you. All the rest of them broke out and went on about their business.

Now since this preacher was a man more than threescore and ten, he was able to lay one of those heavy real life stories on us that will make you snap to attention. He spoke of his days in college as a young man at Bethune-Cookman in Florida back in the early 50’s. And his parents lived about 40 miles from the campus, so every weekend he could, he would catch the bus and go home, ‘cuz it ain’t nothing like eating at mama’s table.’

One day he and some friends were catching the bus to their hometown, but they were running a bit late. By the time they reached the bus stop, the bus was set to go. But as they ran up to the door, right when they got to it, the (white) driver closed the door in their faces. And when they started to bang on the door, he yelled out to them,

You niggers get back!!

And after that he gave them a sneer and drove off. The problem was that there was only one bus that ran every day, so this meant they would miss a whole day of being at home, so of course their remarks towards that white bus driver on their way back to their dorm room wasn’t very ‘Christian’, if you know what I mean. So the next day, they made sure to arrive before the scheduled bus time, and on their way they noticed the early morning newspaper headlines...


There were some powerful emotions that went through their souls when they saw that this was the same bus that denied them access just the day before. Imagine that..a racist redneck had saved their lives! Some folks may call it weird or ‘spooky’. Some call it providence. Christians call it Amazing Grace. The key point he made though, was that although we all have a common misery in which we folks..poor folks, lonely folks, whatever..we should all remember to thank God NO MATTER WHAT. Because we never know how God is working toward His purpose. Sometimes flat tires are meant to save you from a car wreck, or obnoxious people that cut you off are meant to shield you from a larger dilemma, we never know. But no matter what happens, we need to thank God for it, for we KNOW that ALL things work together for good for those who love God; for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path ya’ll…FO-REAL!!

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Dash

The Dash - Monday, October 25, 2004

As my writing exercises have increased, there has also been an increase in the amount of Christian expression in the content of my material. When you check out things I posted last year, like Hittin Licks or Black Entertainers, then you will notice a gradual movement toward the exposition of Christian principles. I didn’t even know it was gonna be like this. But the thing about the Lord, is that once He puts His hands on you and directs you toward a purpose, you’re either going to heed the call and be an obedient and fruitful servant, or you’re going to be subjected to being swallowed up by a great fish. has taught me that there is a vast group of souls floating around along the peripherary of obedience. They know what is right, because their parents and grandparents trained them up in the Word, so they know what’s up. But somehow, somewhere along their journey of life, they lost faith in Him. Doing what they wanna do because,

‘no one KNOWS if the Bible is the same as the ORIGINAL one, it’s been translated and printed by MAN!’.

I was one of these people for a significant part of my adult life, psuedo-Christian if there is such a thing. Jesus was cool and all, but how can He be the ONLY way??

It wasn’t until after I went through some serious life events, such as becoming an unwed father, and hustling to provide for my family in George Bush’s America 2000, that I reached a point in my life where I knew I had to know Him for myself. I could no longer ride along with the faith just because that was what I was brought up as…I thirsted for truth. So I started reading a Bible that my wife’s sister had gotten for her, it was a MacArthur Study Bible. A lot of my past ventures into the Word were met with confusion and ignorance, I just wasn’t understanding all of the reasons why God would do some of the things He does. But as I prayed a prayer for a teachable heart and an understanding mind, I delved off into the Book, starting with Genesis and making my way all the through to Revelations. It took me almost 8 months to accomplish the read. I took my time and read not only the scripture, but the footnotes and historical context notes at the footnote of each page. And once I was able to read for myself about the creation and the fall of man, the history of the nation of Israel, the prophesies, the prophets, the voice in the wilderness, the virgin birth, the bloodline, the life, the parables, the miracles, the love, the betrayal, the crucifixion, the burial, the resurrection, the ascension and the promise…it all clicked for me.

People can doubt the authenticity of the Word all they want, (and most people who do have never READ the Bible for themselves to really see what’s going on) , but once you start reading and studying the Word for yourself, God will touch you in a way that you have never been touched before.

So, I’m here..and I’m steadily trying to move closer and closer towards the glory of God, because I know that my day will come when my work here will be finished and the Lord will call me home. Some people get freaked out when you start talking about death, they call it ‘morbid’. But since it’s an inevitable thing for ALL of us, I don’t consider it morbid, I consider it real.

This past week, I served as a pallbearer for a very dear and distinct southern gentleman, Elga Steward, Sr. He’s ’Uncle El-gee’ to me. I had the privilege and blessing of marrying into the family and all of my conversations with Uncle Elga were intellectually stimulating and soulfully charged. He was a man that had strong convictions and it came out in his conversation. Once he found out that I was writing, he invited me over to his study and we sat and talked about computers, the internet, and the art of writing itself. Uncle Elga was a writer too, as well as a radio personality that was commonly known over the airwaves as the “Hip Skipper’. He told me about how he used to travel and cover local sporting events and write articles for various publications here in Houston..

When he passed, it was a bit of a surprise, but fortunately the family was already prepared for such an event, for we are an Easter people. When non-Christians keep trying to figure out what it is that Christians are about, you should observe the way we perceive our mortal death. The scripture reading at Uncle Elga’s funeral was right on point :

And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the earth; but he would not, neither die he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead; for they said; Behold while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him and he would not hearken unto our voice; how will he then vex himself if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered , David perceived that the child was dead; therefore David said unto his servants, is the child dead? And they said, he is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed and anointed himself and changed his apparel and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped; then he came to his own house; and when he required they set bread before him and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. - 2 Samuel 12:15-25

When Uncle Ray read this scripture at the funeral, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of consolation come over my soul. I had already read those same verses myself many times, but every time you hear the Word of God, it will feed you. God’s Word shall never return void. And when you see how David understood the order of the beyond, it makes those of us here in the world better prepared to accept God’s decision to bring one of His children home. Our faith lies in the fact that those who believe in the Lord, will be immediately whisked away into His presence at the time of our mortal death. Aunt Connie followed with the reading of the New Testament Scripture:

Therefore we are always confident knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; For we walk by faith, not by sight; We are confident, I say and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. - 2 Corinthians 5: 6-8

So now a lot of you non-Beleivers can better understand, why Christians see funerals as a homecoming, because absent from the body means present with the Lord. Already. After the last rites were said, and uncle Elga’s veteran comrades fired off a 21-gun salute to another soldier going before the Lord, the family used this time to commune closer with each other. Catch up with each other, see what’s been going on, enjoy each other. Thanks for all the warm words of support and condolences that the family has received during this time of bereavement, but rest assured you don’t have to cry for us, for we are an Easter people, in life and in death. If Uncle Elga was here to read this, he’d probably point out my grammatical mistakes as well as my butchering of verb tenses, he was an English scholar ya know. But if there’s one statement, that I’m sure he would want everyone to know, it is to always remember ‘The Dash’. It’s not the numbers that portray the birthday and death date on a tombstone that are important, it’s what you do in between during those dates, ‘The Dash’, that’s most important.

Thursday, October 14, 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 n’gas 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!

Friday, October 08, 2004

A Heartbeat Away

A Heartbeat Away - Friday, October 8, 2004

Whatchu been up to D??

Grinding daily baby…doing what I do.

What’s up with your title? ‘A Heartbeat Away’??

It has a two-fold meaning actually…on the serious tip, we’re ALL a heartbeat away from getting our number called and having to go see the Judge.

You got them warrants too huh?

Nawww n’ga!! I ain’t talking about warrants and those judges here on earth…I’m talking about having our books closed and having to go before the Throne and answer to Him.

Oh..yeah..that’s real..we all gotta go before God one day and give an account of ourselves.

Already!!..You ready??

Almost..I got a few thangs I need to gone and get right.

The time is now mane…tomorrow is promised to NO man.

Yeah..I think I’m go be alright though..I don’t be tripping or nothing no mo’.

Being ready isn’t about tripping..being ready is all about where your faith you BELIEVE? You gotta believe in your heart mane.

Oh yeah..I’re all on your Jesus crusade thing..I believe in God mane..but you know I ain’t sold on Jesus being the ONLY way mane..but I’mma let you make it on that, cuz I know that’s your thing. ain’t letting ME make it..cuz I stay ready to defend the reason for my faith..sounds to me like you’re procrastinating on making a spiritual decision in your life.

I already told you that I believe in God!

Yeah..but do you SEEK Him?? Do you worship Him? Do you exalt His name? Do you read His Word for guidance and comfort??

Alright now n’ga..don’t start getting all ‘holier than thou’ on me now…I know you…you like to do all the same things that I seems to satisfy us all!

I’m not trying to get ‘holier than thou’ on you..I’m just trying to tell you what’s real. Now whether you accept it or not..that’s on you. But don’t try and front and say you believe, but then you turn around and through your actions all you do is give God lip service, ‘God is great, God is good’ while you pause and pray with a mouthful of French fries..if you believe in God, you’re going to give Him the ain’t what it say mane, it’s what it DO!

I hear ya mane..but like I told ya..everybody ain’t in to the Jesus is the ONLY way thing.

I understand that..and all I’m telling you is that even if you don’t have faith in still need to seek after the Lord and don’t just keep putting it off..and putting it off..thinking it’s something you’ll be able to ‘figure out’ later when you get older..cuz if I haven’t learned anything else in my 33 years here on this’s that tomorrow is promised to NO MAN.

So I guess you’re just Mr. Church now huh?

Naww..I mean, I go to Sunday School worship service every Sunday to learn more about the Bible and God’s will..and I stay for church services sometimes…but when you’re REALLY into God, worship doesn’t start and stop on Sundays. You worship in your car while you’re praying and driving..or you worship at home when you’re reading your Bible or listening to evangelist on find your ways to worship and praise God daily..going to church is all about gaining strength through the fellowship of other Believers.

I guess I never thought about it like that.

Yeah..I went to a revival last Friday and the minister was very descript in expounding the reasons WHY we should enter the house of the Lord and worship God. He preached out of I Thessalonians the 5th chapter all week and I just caught that last sermon on Friday night. But he was explaining to us and going through each verse, on how God wants us to line up to Him.

Line up?

Yeah..if you BELIEVE, then you first have to SUBMIT to leadership. Most folks just want to do whatever it is THEY want to do..they don’t want to submit to a higher authority and follow HIS rules. After you submit, then you’re supposed to find a church body so that you might share in your fellowship and the last point he made about ‘lining up’ was how we all need to surrender to worship.

Surrender?? What is a stickup or something?? “I give up!! You got me!! I’m coming out!!” (laughing)

You actually IS like that. Because you WILL reach a point in your life, where you realize you can’t do it by yourself…and you’re going to need something real and eternal to lean on. That’s when you’re going to humble yourself and surrender yourself to’s not about you’s not about’s all about Him.
What church do you go too again??

Blueridge Baptist Church uncle, Rev. Ceola Curley Jr. is the Pastor.

And who was the preacher who gave the revival??

Rev. A.W. Colbert..he’s the pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Galveston, Texas.

I might have to come check ya’ll out and see what ya’ll are talking about.

You’re more than welcome mane..Sunday School starts at 9:30..morning worship at’s a intimate little church in the hood and we uplift the name of Jesus..He’s our Lord and Savior. Don’t wait too long to start giving God the glory mane..He’s more than worthy.


Last week, I gave a rundown of the 1st presidential debate. A couple of people have asked me about doing the same thing for the vice-president debates, but I had to be honest with them, everything I wrote on it would be from written transcripts, cuz I didn’t see the debate. Sometimes I like to take a time out from all politics and ‘serious’ issues and just get off into the things that I ENJOY. This past week has been a wonderful ride for sports enthusiast, especially here in Houston. From the Astros making the playoffs, to Trinidad’s stunning 9th round TKO of a more than game Mayorga, to the great NFL games that were on Sunday and’s on a popping if you enjoy competition.

But away from the world of sports and church worship, we had the 1st debate of the vice presidential candidates. And since I didn’t actually SEE the debate, I decided to read the transcripts and see what I could surmise to be ‘real’. While doing a little research, I found out some interesting facts about the history of the office of Vice-President of the United States of America.

The requirements to be Vice-President have the same Constitutional rules as the office of President. The candidate must be a natural born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. When they first started having elections, the office of Vice-President was filled by the candidate who had the 2nd most votes for President. But once political parties took shape, this practice’s flaws were exposed, so in 1804, Amendment XII directed the electors to use separate ballots to vote for President and Vice-President.

The official job of the vice-president is to serve as the first in the line of presidential succession in case the president dies or becomes incapacitated while in office. That’s why thy often refer to the vice-president as the person who is ‘a heartbeat away’ from being the president. Other than that, the only official duty of the vice-president is to serve as President of the Senate and oversee procedural matters. In the event the Senate has a tie in voting, then the Vice President casts the deciding ballot on an issue.

Our two vice-presidential candidates. Senator John Edwards and V.P Dick Cheney squared off this past week and they both had a chance to express their parties (and personal) platforms for the upcoming election. Of all the items they went over in their questioning, there were 3 main issues that just seemed to ‘jump out’ and me and make me go..’Hmmm..interesting’. Politics will bring out the claws in candidates, so you already know every chance they get to make the other one look bad, they’re going to jump on it.
Cheney remarked that even though he has been vice-president for the past 4 years, and thus had the job of residing over the Senate (of which Edwards is a member), that particular evening at the debate was his first time meeting Senator Edwards in person. He made comments to Edwards low attendance record in the Senate and he even went so far to refer to labels of Edwards as ‘Senator Gone’, due to his frequent absenteeism while the Senate was in session. This was odd to me..because this photo taken a couple of years ago, show Cheney and Edwards crossing each other’s path at a Senate prayer breakfast. Obviously this meeting had slipped Cheney’s mind as well as Edwards’ because he didn’t refute Cheney’s remarks. I guess I’m just happy to see ANYBODY attend a prayer breakfast it’s good that they both pray!

The next part that jumped out on me, was when the moderator brought up the issue of same-sex marriage and how the candidates feel about it. Edwards said what he had to say,
"And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry.

I also believe that there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships. "

Cheney on the other hand completely passed on the question. The wild part here, is that although Cheney is part of the Republican party and he has to be affiliatied with their parties’ conservative platform on this issue..Cheney declined to comment. The moderator brought it up and Edwards referred to the fact that Cheney has a gay daughter and his views on same-sex unions are not in line with Bush and the rest of the conservative Cheney just stayed quiet on the issue.

The last part that made me pause and go, ‘Huh??’ was when the moderator (a Black woman by the way) brought up the issue of the soaring HIV rate among Black American women reaching epidemic levels and what the candidates saw as the best course of action to address it. Cheney was very frank and blunt..he had NO IDEA that there was such a problem in the U.S. In 2004..the Vice-President of the United States of America had NO IDEA that a large section of the citizens of our country..namely Black and Hispanic women, were contracting HIV at epidemic levels???? To me..that speaks volumes as to what he’s really interested in and paying attention to. You can’t find a solution to ANYTHING, until you first recognize that there’s a problem. Uhh..Mr. Vice-President?? We have a problem mane!! But this is yet another example, of how our government officials rarely start taking notice of anything, until some rich white folks start getting infected..I mean, affected.

Anyway..I guess this is why I temper my journeys into politics, because it can be very disturbing. If you want to go through the full transcripts of the debate, here’s the link. If you want to learn more interesting facts and history about the role of the vice president of the United States..check out this webpage. But when you’re ready to talk real and just chill with a Southside Christian writer on the internet???...come get your serve on!! SERVINEMUP.COM BABY (Tell yo peoples about it!!)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Wednesday, October 6th

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Ooowee D!!


Mane..I was reading through some of the things people have written in your guest book/comments tab…mane, some people really be tripping!!

Why do you say that??

On one hand, you’ve got people telling you good job, keep up the positive work, but then on the other end, you have a lot of folks talking about you need to stop using all those ‘unholy’ words and stuff.

I know..that’s wild huh?

Mane..I guess it just goes to can never please everybody. used to bother me when I first started getting emails and comments that chastised my language or content..but now I take those comments just like any other one.

What do you mean? know, you’ve got to realize that everyone has their own world that they have been privy too.


It’s like..if you’ve never lived on the Southside and your whole life you spend around only highly educated upper middle class black folks ..then your chances of having the word ‘n’ga’ as a common part of your vocabulary are greatly reduced.

Aww c’mon now..I can see if you was up here talking about f-this and d’s and p’s and all those nasty curse words! All you do is say a coupla hell’s or d’mn’s or maybe even a sh’t or two every now and then. This ain’t no website for kids..ain’t nothing but grownups here..I guess I just don’t understand why people spend all their time worried about the wrong thang.

Well..on a higher level..since I am a person who has publicly confessed my faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..well, there is an added responsibility when you’re a believer.

Yeah..and you know I’m not tripping on that..I mean, when I read Soldiers in the made me think about the whole Christian mission in a whole different I know that’s a good thing. But I can’t believe how people can expect you to be out here pushing the Word into the world, yet talking and acting all ‘holy’ like this is church or something. I mean.most of the people who NEED to be in church learning about the Lord never go and not only do that not go to church, they don’t read the Bible.

I would agree with that.

But with the way you get down..kinda like a folksy intellectual..mane have a way to communicate with folks that makes them feel the message you’re trying to convey. I already know when your books hit the street it’s gonna blow up..cuz people really want to read something that’s real…not all fake and flossed up. I don’t think you should let those holy rollers deter you mane..cuz the harder you hit and the more real you keep it..the more pull you’re going to have on the street.

Well..therein lies the problem.

What do you mean?

Once you give your life over to become His servant.


That means that you no longer live for worldly gain or for what's 'live' on the street..your life is given toward uplifting His kingdom.’re starting to weird me out now.

Why does that weird you out??

You know..that sounds like some of that creepy, ‘Drink the Kool-Aid!!’ type talk. I mean..I understand God may have a purpose for all of us to serve and it’s up to us to receive His calling..but at what point do you KNOW it’s God that’s calling you to do something and not just some weird voice in the back of your head?

That can be tough..but one thing you can that whatever it is you feel called to do, if it’s from God, it will be supported by Scripture. God is not telling anyone to act against His Word and even deeper than that..when God beckons for you..that Holy Spirit will touch your heart and make you FEEL it mane, all you have to do is be willing to heed the command.

So that means everybody is supposed to quit there jobs and start walking around in robes and sandals telling people they need to repent??

If that is what God puts on your heart to do..yeah.

C’mon now D!! You gotta be joking!! You don’t REALLY believe God calls people to give all their money away to the poor and live the life of a broke holy man!!??!

When you read the Bible..the message is clear..the Word WILL be spread to every mountaintop and every valley before it’s all over. Everyone has their own mission and the Spirit moves with 'diverse operations'..some folks may have one person in their life who they are supposed to ‘touch’ and enlighten to the Way, the Truth and the Light others are called to lead a congregation of thousands, it all depends on the person. I’m not saying God wants everyone to quit their job and walk around carrying a sign, I’m just saying that He comes at everybody differently.

So..what calling did God give you??

I don’t know if this is my final mission..but I do know that God wants me to keep on servinemup in a way that gives Him the glory. If this is my lifelong task, or just something He has me doing while He’s getting me ready for bigger things..I dunno. Either way..I know that I pray daily and I constantly seek His guidance while I keep on getting down with the pen.

I guess they say He must not be guiding you too much..with you using all them ‘n’ga’ words and stuff!! (laughing)

God put me on the Southside of Houston for a reason mane..we all have to dance in our own arena. I’m a servant of the Lord for eternity, but I’m a Southside soldier for life. If my books never spread past Sunnyside, South Park and Third Ward, I’ll still know that I was performing my duty in serving my Lord..uplifting His name..letting n'gas know who the REAL KING is…so for those who are offended by the language, I’m sorry…I guess I should have some kind of disclaimer, saying I’m a rated-R Christian writer.

Aww man..with the stuff they have on TV and the radio these days..your stuff ain’t rated’s rated PG-13!!

Yeah..but the wildest part about it all, is that when I think about the things I WANT to write sometimes but I edit out?? Mane..if I didn’t have Jesus in my heart, I’d be triple X!! (laughing…but serious)

Aww ain’t nothing wrong with getting a lil freaky every now and then!!

There’s a time and a place for everything can believe that.


Monday, October 04, 2004

Presidential Intentions

Presidential Intentions - Monday, October 4, 2004

Well? What did you think about the presidential debate?

It wasn't really a debate if you ask me..the candidates weren't engaged debating each other, they each just had to respond to questions by the moderator.

Questions? What kind of questions?

Most of the questions were geared toward the 9/11 attacks, homeland security and Iraq.

So who do you think won?

Kerry was definitely the most fluid and prepared for the questions..Bush came across as a bit befuddled at times.

So Kerry sounded smart and Bush sounded simple?

In some ways..but the thing about Bush that most people don't get, is that he's one of those Texas good ol boys and he's all about sticking to his guns.

'Sticking to his guns'??

Yeah..the majority of Bush's support is from conservatives..and when you listen to the things he says, Bush wants everybody to believe that he's all about what's best for the family and if that means making some hard decisions of pre-emptive strikes to defend our nation..he'll pull the trigger.

C'mon now..this is 2004, most people don't get caught up into all that John Wayne talk.

Actually, some of Bush's strongest support groups are the religious groups.


Yeah..Bush is a 'born again' Christian and when you listen to a lot of the things he says, it's geared to prick the hearts of those who believe and abide by the Word of God.

I don't understand.

Well take one of the questions, 'Has the war been worth the loss of life?' Bush was waiting on this one and his response blended 1st hand contact and prayer:

You know, I think about Missy Johnson. She's a fantastic lady I met in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and her son Brian, they came to see me. Her husband, P.J., got killed. He'd been in Afghanistan, went to Iraq.

You know, it's hard work to try to love her as best as I can, knowing full well that the decision I made caused her loved one to be in harm's way.

I told her after we prayed and teared up and laughed some that I thought her husband's sacrifice was noble and worthy. Because I understand the stakes of this war on terror. I understand that we must find al Qaeda wherever they hide.

Oh I see what you mean..Bush is trying to present himself as a man of God..right?

Right! And there's still a very strong community of Americans who hold a candidates religious faith in high regard when they're deciding who to vote for.

So is Kerry one of those atheist dudes or something?

No..Kerry is Catholic.

That's religious too..right?

Yeah, but the thing about religion, is that it's one thing to say you have faith, but then there's another thing to demonstrate your faith through your actions. If the knock on Bush has been his good ol boy veneer, the knock on Kerry has been his readiness to waiver on the issues. Kerry was lambasting Bush about striking Iraq without the support of the global community, but back when the vote was put to the senate, Kerry voted in support of the pre-emptive strike.

So which one are you going to vote for the cowboy or the scarecrow?

I don't know yet, cuz I don't trust either one of them for their word. All I know is that we ALL need to pray for America mane..we have issues.


Believe it or not, I've never been one to get real deep into political issues. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do and let the world deal with everything else. But as you get older, you realize you have to face politics in everything that you do. From school, to neighborhood groups, to work groups, there are political motives involved in almost every aspect of our society. Of course this means that when candidates put themselves out there to be judged by the voting public, they have to present themselves in a politically correct way. I'm sure a lot of the things they REALLY believe, they can't say all the time, because it will alienate too many people. You can't turn voters away, you've got to find a way to make them be on your side.

My realization of this 'political correctness' was first brought to light when I was in high school and I had to run for an 'office' of the student body. As I was going around the school with the other candidates, campaigning from classroom to classroom, I found myself being 'caught up' in the hype. Although I was only running for the position of Secretary in our Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS), I found myself caught up in the political machine.

Question: D. Washington, why do you want to be Secretary?

Great question! (always sound enthused and ready) I've been a student here at Booker T. Washington and the High School for Engineering Professions for 2 years, and I felt that this was my opportunity to give back, to a school and to a society which has played such a vital role in my development.

Don't that sound good? The masses were eating it up too! They liked it! But of course I could have been REAL and told them the whole truth:

Cuz my advisor says we have a better chance of getting into good universities if we have a lot of extracurricular activities on our application..especially the ones that show positions of leadership.

But somehow I knew that if I broke it all the way down to the real, it wouldn't help my chances of being elected. Of course, like all elections, it turned into a popularity contest, and since I had a reputation of being one of the 'smart' students who was still 'of the people', I won that election by a significant margin. My opponent was one of the 'smart' people too..but his personality came across a bit more..John Kerryish if you know what I mean..kinda bland. I had that Southside flavor ready for them, I hooped and played baseball with the fellas, I was pushing up on the girls like all the 'regular' guys and I was always ready to cap (verbal spats of derision) on whoever wanted I won.

My next foray into the political arena was when I was an undergraduate student at Stanford University. Since I was an engineering major, it made sense to join the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). NSBE is a national student organization geared toward meeting the needs of Black collegiate scientist and engineers. My freshman year I campaigned and won the position of Secretary. My sophomore year I campaigned and won the position of President.

Once again, it comes down to how you present yourself to the voting group. My strength has always been my ability to relate to the common man. No airs, no fronting, just keeping it real. Now if everybody knew me to be some dude that was a big dummy and flunking most of my classes, then I wouldn't have had much political pull. But once again, people like candidates who take care of the business, but at the same time, candidates that can relate to Joe Six Pack have their own appeal. I was always a contributor to our long study sessions and I was also known for drinking a lot of six packs, so it was a smooth fit for me.
My last excursion into the political arena was when I ran for a regional office in NSBE. This was on a larger scale than just the chapter offices, regional offices meant all the student chapters throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon..all the schools in Region VI (GOO SIX!!) assembled at the regional conference once a year to vote for the various board positions that need to be filled. Being a black engineer from Stanford had it's own challenges, because a lot of folks who didn't go to Stanford assumed we were all stuck up and snobbish. Once they met me, they couldn't always figure me out, because I was kicking it with all these smart upper middle class black folks, but yet I acted like your average hood n'ga in a lot of ways.

Where the dranks? Who's throwing the party? Ya'll wanna get some fried chicken??

Each candidate had 7 minutes to get up to the podium in front of a ballroom with several hundred black engineering students in it and give our campaign speech, with the general assembly vote to follow. Since Stanford is pretty much an isolated campus, most of the people in the assembly were laying eyes on D. Washington for the first time, so I knew I had to make a good impression if I wanted to win the position of Vice-Chair. Forunately, I had my Bruhs supporting me, passing out, 'Vote for D. Washington' flyers and such and right there in my ear coaching me on before my speech was my brother Okon. Okon was an 'old school' bruh who had taken a lot of us younger bruhs under his wing and he showed us how to get things done.

No matter what you do D..always remember that you want them to vote for YOU.

When you have a political goal, there are a lot of personal things that you will put to the side out of display to maintain as large a group of voters as possible. I'm sure Kerry and Bush face these same struggles, but on a much more intense level on their campaign trails. Being true to themselves and their core beliefs, but at the same time demonstrating that they are the best candidate for the job. Some people won't vote for you if they find out you drink alchohol or had a lot of children out of wedlock or even if they find out you go to a church that doesn't worship God the same way they do.

Unlike a lot of Americans, I don't vote for candidates just because they're affiliated with a certain political party. Instead, I try to take the time and really focus in on the candidate and what really drives them..what they're all about. There's good and bad things to say about both Bush and Kerry, but when it comes down to the decision we're going to have to make this November, it's going to be about what's best for our country and even more specifically, what's best for our families. No matter WHO you think is best for the job, make sure you get out to that poll and exercise your right to vote. It DOES make a difference mane.