Monthly Archives: March 2012

Education

In class Wednesday night, our professor, as an educator and highly committed to pedagogy,  expressed to us that the education system was screwed up because of how the definition of “education” has been skewed. For him, the process should not be a mechanism to fill students full of data that they may never be able to access.  It is, instead, the vehicle to pull information OUT of a student – to stretch their thinking and allow them to put their concepts and precepts on the table – to then either affirm or reshape them.

In looking around, he’s is absolutely right. Systems of education have failed because all people want to do is regurgitate other people’s opinions.  They take no stand of their own, and even if they do, the minute they are challenged their entire house of cards collapses.  Do not do yourself the disservice of becoming a robot.

Church,with its multifaceted purpose and mission, should certainly be a place of education as well. Yet it can present itself as the exact same type of demon that any other student encounters. Some classmates and I were talking about the difference (or sameness) between preaching and teaching.  Yes, I want to be engaged. No, I wouldn’t want to listen to a monotone speaker. But even those things are way down on the totem pole of growth and usability.

I don’t really care about the inflection in your voice if you haven’t really said anything…or repeated the same nonsense over and over.  I don’t want to see you jump up and down and spin around to make a point, when you could have made your point with actual information without the theatrics. And please do not insult my intelligence – you cannot puff up a lack of content by adding sound bites.  “Hmmm”, “Well'”, and “Ain’t He Alright” does not constitute  material for edification…it just shows you were 1) too arrogant to study or 2) just don’t know nothing.  And heaven forbid you have a generally learned leader who refuses to allow you to learn for yourself. You must not question their presentation, message, or anything else that could possibly cause them discomfort. But everything you know must be funneled and confirmed through them. If this is the case…Run… And run fast.  Do not do yourself the disservice of entertaining complacency.

Regardless to the setting, there’s too much at stake to not require more than stuffing.

 


Writer’s Block

I get two types of writer’s block: one, where I have absolutely nothing I want to share and two, where I have too much on my mind.  Both suck. Especially when they both run together.  I had to admit that the bout that has come on now is simply because there are still things that I’m wrestling with saying “out loud”.  I can assure you, it will come…just not today.

What I do want to do, however, is share some PDA with those who have gotten on this train with me – those who have followed my posts, made the most encouraging comments, and simply just took a minute to hear me out. I want to thank all those with whom I’ve had experiences that became integral pieces  in the creation of what’s already done and what will come.  Good, bad, or indifferent – none of it can be taken for granted and I’m grateful for it all. It was all important and it’s all good.

Thank you again.

 


Muddy

I remember asking Revvie (my pastor) how we would or could know that we had the Holy Spirit. I needed to understand how you could feel so powerless, yet supposedly have the power to live as we’re supposed to.

I heard it called “the conflict of the Spirit”.  We are so obligated to be phony.  We throw a smile over everything because we think that’s what we have to do. But if we are truly new creatures, there will always be some type of conflict.  There are things that used to make your day that now bother you to your core.  Aspects of  the life you used to live, and the people you used to live it up with, stress you where they used to be your entire life.  There is a serious contradiction in our lives that is the utter core of the Christian life. And we don’t have to apologize for it, run from it, or try to explain it away – especially since most people who will expect you to do any or all of the above, won’t accept anything you say anyway. They just like seeing you squirm.

I was listening to a sermon by T.D. Jakes and he told this story:

A lamb and a pig both fall into a pit of mud.  The same pit.  Both covered and dirty.  The way to tell the difference between the lamb and the pig is that the pig wallows in the mud its fallen in; the lamb immediately starts to cry and starts fighting his way out. It might have to wade in it some to get out, kick around in it to get out, it may even fall back down in it – but it’s getting out. It ain’t staying. 


Rejection

The issue of rejection is running rampant. So many people are settling for ignorance and nonsense just to try to outrun that feeling. But what is this thing that they fight against?
Rejection = to discard as useless or unsatisfactory, to refuse to recognize, medical definition: to have an immunological reaction against (a transplanted organ or grafted tissue): i.e. a patient who rejects a transplanted heart
So a rejection means that you’re ‘useless and unsatisfactory’? That you have no worth because your worth was not recognized? I see why the fight then.  But there’s also the medical definition which opens up a whole different door.  Even doctors, with their training and skill and student loans, can’t graft two matters together that are incompatable. One will be rejected. Doctors painstakingly work to find suitable transplant matches and sometimes it simply doesn’t work.  And it doesn’t mean that either thing is “bad”, it simply doesn’t (and can’t) work where it’s been placed. I wanted to look at one other thing from that med definition.
Immunological reaction = a bodily response to an antigen when lymphocytes identify the antigenic molecule as foreign and induces the formation of antibodies and lymphocytes capable of reacting with it and rendering it harmless.
Ok, so that’s a big long definition with medical words, but the point is that the only reason some matter gets rejected is because it’s perceived by the receiving body as foreign, and as such that body reacts to protect itself and render the thing harmless.  When a heart transplant patient rejects the heart they’ve been given – it renders the new heart useless in their body. It can’t do its job effectively, if at all. And the receiving body works to cut its ties with that heart so that it can’t do any damage to the rest of the body. The body doesn’t recognize it and says “nope, gotta go”.
And it’s the same with people. When your thoughts, ways, life, actions, beliefs are all foreign to others, they will have to get rid of you. You won’t work together because neither can do their job effectively. Your wisdom and their ignorance don’t graft together. And in that,  they will do everything can to protect their way. And just like a transplant patient, even though the new thing is necessary for their life, if the body don’t like it – sometimes there’s a violent purging where doctors have to remove the new organ almost as soon as they implant it.  And the one thing about transplants… they don’t use the same organ twice in the same body once they’ve found that the receiver won’t accept it.
So even though rejections are disappointing, the reality of them lets us realize the truth of the situation and that truth allows us to freely let them go — without blame, without guilt, without anger, without drama. They can go and we can wish them well.

I Don’t Care

I’ve gotten to the end of the list of people that I trusted and loved and I don’t have any intention of adding anyone else. I know we aren’t to trust in people but we do need to be able to trust people. I don’t and what’s worse, part of me wants to keep it that way.  I’ve spent the majority of my life giving up some piece of me for someone else – only to have those same people turn their backs on me, betray me, talk about me, call me every name in the book, etc, etc.  I used to think it was selflessness, now I realize it’s just stupid.  What’s worse is that I’m stuck in the past because everything in the present looks exactly the same now as then. It ain’t even a pattern any more, it just is what it is. I used to think I was so strong – that I could shoulder anything, especially for and from my friends and the people I loved – but I’ve found that that belief only allows people to dump their insecurities and problems and judgements on you and walk away, leaving you with their mess. And FORBID you even hint at the fact that it’s too heavy or you can’t hold it, now you’re the worst in the world.  Get over it. Ain’t nothin that bad.  Whatever. You should be fine and I don’t want to hear about it again.
I’ve been here before – where it was tough, but I fought and got through it. I put how I felt to the side and I tried to focus and buckle down and kept going.  Now I feel like quitting every day. I get up and I thank God for another opportunity to live for Him another day but I don’t have any desire to actually attain it.  That scares me because I’ve never felt that before. I go to work and I come home and I turn on the TV and I blank out til 2am then I finally go to sleep and do it all again. I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of holding on. I’m so tired of being strong. I’m tired of being the bigger person. I’m tired of going through by myself.  I’m tired of the only in-depth conversation around being what Beyonce’s last performance was like or who is getting back at the man they been sleeping with but never got a commitment from.
I don’t care.

Rolodex

There’s nothing like having a healthy mental Rolodex. Every now and again you can flip through and pull out pertinent stuff and sometimes it’s just whimsical nonsense that was fun for you at the time you filed it. But every now and again, you will find a few indexes that you thought you threw away. Actually, that you believed you set fire to and danced while the ashes shimmied around in the air. And it’s upon that discovery that you have to decide, once and for all, what you’ll do with that information. Do you shrug and tuck it back behind the “X” section (because how often will you actually go there)? Do you rip it to shreds and scatter the pieces in various garbage cans so that it can’t be pieced back together again?

Or do you acknowledge that you did indeed leave it there, discern the reason you kept it, then with clarity of thought, purpose and intent either destroy it because it is indeed useless information, or put it back where it belongs?


Move…now

I’m standing at a crossroads – a final crossroads – because this next decision will be the starting domino for the rest of my natural life.  My obedience has begotten and necessitated more obedience and I’m being asked to trust far beyond my personal capability.  As much as faith and trust should hold hands and sing ‘cum bah yah’ while working in tandem, they can’t if you won’t let them.

It’s time to move on. I’ve held on to my fears and “this place” long enough.  Granted, they’ve been with me for 38 years – but that doesn’t make any difference now.  The only thing I need now is the strength to keep pressing because I have “haters”.  Those ones whose sole purpose is to keep you from accomplishing ANYTHING you set out to do.  They crack jokes at your expense, they whisper discouragement in your ear, they talk about you behind your back, they lie and deceive other people to join in on their fun.  I have more than my fair share of those.  And what’s worse is that they all reside in me.  I have at least two Sanballats, one Tobiah, four Sybils and a partridge running around freely in my own head.  I don’t need anyone from the outside telling me how impossible this is or how insane that is because I am quite capable of expressing those things to myself.

And this is what has to change.

Now.


“C” Thru

I was sitting and talking to God about how I remember days when I’d be going through something but hiding behind a godly smile because 1) I didn’t want anyone to know I was having trouble, 2) I thought that if you trust in God then you should smile, and 3) I thought it was wrong to be honest about it — seemed like complaining. But I was never really at peace or ever really had joy even though everyone may have thought I did because of the front I put on.
I’ve spent 92.8373% of my life as a walking, talking brick wall.  Thankfully, I matured enough to only spend 4.225% of my life as a side of sheet rock.  Transparent? No. Readily understood? Absolutely not.

Only certain people know certain things, and even then, it may only be slightly more than the surface layer information.  I never had the opportunity to establish a healthy vulnerability with others.  Very few people “played nice” with me.  And because of the powerlessness that I felt, I built up defenses to keep them all away.  Because between the male misogyny and the female maliciousness – I never stood a chance.

I realize now that my wall wasn’t built so much to keep people out, but to keep me in.  I had/have secrets. Secret thoughts, secret trauma, secret desires, secret memories that if anyone knew, they wouldn’t want to know me.  And this was before I truly started my walk with Christ.  So once I became “perfect”, as the church folk say, I had to keep pretending to be “perfect”.  I couldn’t possibly show my scars because that would mean that I’m not really trying hard enough to be “good”. I couldn’t possibly be hurt or disappointed or sad or frustrated because that would mean I didn’t believe enough or have enough faith.

But eventually the space that I’d given myself got really, really tight.  I didn’t fit anymore.  He kept shaking my tree so that I couldn’t stay walled in behind my own mind.  I didn’t notice it, but every time I would step into a stupid situation, God would use it to chip a brick. And frankly, the more absurd the situation, the more I had to be real about.  I had to cry…publicly. I had to speak…publicly.  I had to hurt…publicly.  And I am private – I don’t do public.

But eventually, after the kicking and screaming died down, Christ started to show me that public was the only way to shine the light that was transmitting through me and that I had been blocking for so long.


This can’t be….

Life.  Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines ‘life’ (n) as:

1. the propensity or quality by which living organisms are distinguished from dead, esp. as shown in the ability to grow, respond, and reproduce.

Wow. At a cursory glance, that doesn’t say much…basically as long as you breathe, can get an inch taller (or wider), can answer a question, and/or be part of making another little you, that’s “life”. You qualify.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary also defines “[to] live” (v) as:

1. to be or continue to be alive;  2. to subsist

My Jesus. Is that all we got? So to have life, we just need to breathe and to live we simply need to exist, to have only what’s necessary to maintain life.

I’ve been surrounded by too many of the walking dead to believe that’s all there is.  Hell, I was one of them – and if you catch me at the wrong time on the wrong day with my arm or leg out of my Christian suit, you can likely see her again.

And if these two verses are the truth: 2 Tim 3:16 and John 10:10 then WHY are there so many dead Christian folk traipsing about? Especially us. This CAN’T be life. Just maintainin’. Getting by. The minimum. It can’t be.


Not so nice

I am un-apologetically Christian.  I have a burden and a calling to be good to everyone.  I must live “right”. What I am definitively NOT held to is being “nice”.

I was talking to my mentor recently and she was explaining a business situation involving another party.  They had been discussing this deal for close to a year.  As she and the party finalized the deal and she gave the final contract them, they abruptly required that she lessen all her terms and cut the amount of the deal by thousands of dollars…with no real reason. The stipulations were not at all unfair and they had been discussing the exact same things for quite some time. When she would not accept less from the party involved, they got upset and responded to her “What happened? Everyone told me you were a nice Christian lady!”

I was speaking with a friend who was troubled by the fact that an ex had contacted them angry because my friend hadn’t reached out to them for their birthday.  The ex was an ex because they lied and swindled their way through the relationship, and it ended definitively. Yet, the ex was convinced that the “nice Christian” person would have forgiven and forgotten and at least given them well wishes.  My friend was more concerned about ensuring that the evil spirit that they had gotten rid of didn’t come back with its seven cohorts; swiftly ended the call and changed their number once again.

Let me make something very clear. Being nice and being Christian are not synonymous…especially in the context that people think.  People think they can get away with anything because you’re a “nice Christian”. People think you have no scruples or standards and that you assuredly won’t have any stipulations on the way people should treat you personally or in business. You’ll just go with whatever flow they want…even to your own physical, spiritual, and mental detriment.  Cause that makes you “nice”.

I ain’t that one.