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