Monday, November 28, 2005

An Indifferent God?

I was reading a blog by summer m.'s partner in crime Saf where she talked about an indifferent God. As I recall it was a term her mother used to describe some religious pundits who tried to explain the events of 9-11. One of the things she said " Whenever something happens that we want, we call it a blessing and thank God. Whenever something happens that we don't want, we call it an opportunity to learn and try not to resent Him. God is responsible for the miracle of birth and the inevitability of death." I guess in many ways that is what we who call ourselves Christians do on a daily basis. We live in the midst of a mystery. We live and we thrive serving a God who has us in suspense, not knowing when God will return, yet promising it could be any second any minute any hour. Yet we are not allowed to sit on our duffs, being good and holy and waiting on the return. We must act out the great commission.

It is the weirdest thing my logical mind ever processes. I think about it all the time. I pray for preachers and teachers who have to live in this messy existence who authentically believe what they preach. Who earnestly are committed to serving one who is the creator of life and one who allows and evens prophesies physical death.

But then again, I do not understand why good things happen to bad people. I do not understand why it rains on the just as well as the unjust. I do not understand why I have to go through some of the challenges I go through or I went through. Yet with every fiber of my being, I do trust in this so called system called Christianity. I know all Christians don't love me or even see me as a brother, yet I find myself trusting God more and more as I grow older.

I used to believe that if you just lived right and did not do anything to harm others then it would be okay. But then I have watched as these same people have suffered through difficulties with their children, children just like mine with 2 parents, middle class, educated parents who did the soccer thing, the boy/girl scout thing, the jack and jill thing the PTO etc. Right now I am feeling not self righteous but blessed that I did not experience that tribulation.

I remember being very angry with God when my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Why her? She's been a good mother and a good person. Why her? Didn't God know that I needed her? Didn't God know my brother needed her? Well I kept praying that God would miraculously heal her but it did not happen. But something else happened and maybe it's my stretch, but she was helpless. Her greatest fear she remarked is that her son's would have to clean her ass. She never wanted to be unable to care for herself.

After her last release from the hospital she was coming to my house to live in my dining room in hospice. She decided against any further surgeries, because she was okay with dying but not okay with being sick. They brought her home to us on a Saturday afternoon, she played with the grandchildren joked with us and had the worst night of her life. She was sick, and she could not go to the toilet seat without assistance. She told me to go away and let my wife tend to her.

That morning I was supposed to serve at the church but I was going to stay home and she said, you need to go to church. I will be here when you get back.

When I got home, she was on her way home. She was alive when I got home but less than 30 minutes later she was gone. I did not cry but I laughed. I said to myself God answered her prayer. Was God indifferent? I don't think so. Her death was not traumatizing to me but it helped me understand that life is complex, and God is like a mystery and I just can't put it down.

Katrina, Wilma 9-11 Iraq civil unrest, suicide bombers, I can't explain them at all. I don't why they happened or why God allowed it no more than I understand why my mother got lung cancer and she smoked 9 mos. and My mother in law who smokes all the time for over 50 years does not. But like the song writer said It is well with my soul.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My Favorite Crack Addict

I think I have written about this woman before, she is a crack addict, not a suspected addict but one who has been confirmed. Not only is she a crack addict she is also involved in her church, she works with the youth, she has a great heart for young people.

She also is mother of two girls she adopted when their parents were sent to prison by a judge. So she is a good person but her addiction is driving her to the very depths of hell. When I refer to hell it is not the hell of theology or denomination. I am speaking of the hell that Paul referred to when he found hismslf conflicted. Doing what he should not do and not being able to do what he should.

She was recently arrested for prostitution. It was all over the newspaper and local radio. So its no secret in our town. I recently spoke with Sarah after she was released from jail.

Sarah: Gibby I did not like being in jail one bit.

Gibby: I'm sure.

Sarah: I was entrapped.

G: Why do you say that?

S: Because I kept asking the man was he a police officer talkin to me like that.

G: And you believed him.

S: My sister says I am too friendly with everybody.

G: Sarah, my friend Monica said the only women who prostitute these days are on drugs. Now we know you are on crack. Don't you think it is time to pull up?

S: What??? I was not trying to do no crack.

G: Please tell that to somebody trying to fool themselves. Monica is right! Women who want to sell their bodies rent a pole in a strip joint. You my sister are on crack admit it to yourself don't worry bout me.

S: Yeah I have an affinity to the deriative. But still I wasn't trying to be no ho.

G: Sarah, please, just stop it. I don't know much, and tryin to know less about that kind of crap but everybody knows you were picked up on Castle Hill Road, the ho stroll in our town.

S: You know the 66 (Phillips-Cononco) gas station is on that street. I was down there trying to get the girls--

G: Will you stop it for goodness sakes. Woman you cannot keep a dime in your pocket. You been evicted three times in the last four years, your lights and your gas have been turned off. You "borrowed" the girl scout cookie money for goodness sake. Your car was repo'd and you cain't find no job and now you on administrative leave as subsitute teacher. You weren't out there for the girls, you wanted some crack.

S: Whatever you say Mr. High and Holy.

G: I just want you to keep this shit real

S: I did not do anything unusual. I was just talkin to the man, he was talkin about me givin him head and him playin in my pussy so I got in his car and the next thing I knew cops were all around.

G: And so you think normal ordinary everyday women allow "white cop-looking muthafuckas to talk them about giving some head and then they get in car with these potential serial killers cuz they just tryin to be hospitable?


S: Fuck you.

G: Only in your dreams and my nightmares.

S: You a Punk Ass Bitch

G: And you are a Literal Serial Ho (for real, for real)

Laughter then tears.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Blessed Feeling

Today I feel blessed. Don't ask me why, not because I am trying to withhold information but because I really do not know why.

No it's not the same as happy. Because I am not exactly happy, I have several pressing issues going on right now, so no it definitely is not synonymus with happy. But I feel blessed.

One of the reasons I feel blessed is because I am learning how to trust God in the midst of my storm. Yeah, I know about God and Christianity being tools of ethnic oppression and domination but you know something, it works for me.

I was watching a renowned young preacher on television this morning and while much of his sermon was full of contradiction and rife with hyperbole, I got something out of it.

At one point he said say the name of a friend who is going through something and then say Jesus.

What you have done he said is to call forth the power of Jesus into the broken area of that person's life.

Wow, at first I howled. That shit is funny (you probably should not call stuff in a sermon shit) I thought damn it, I want to make it easy on folk, I need to design a praise machine.

Whenever you in trouble just press a button, and the machine will shout, JESUS. When you feel like moaning flip the switch to Gospel and the choir will moan out JE---SUS----JE---SUS---JE---SUS. If you are feeling a little nasty flip it to hip-hop and it might say Aw F**k, help me Jesus, n-word-a.

I am not making fun of Christians, because I am a sanctified, holy ghost filled man from way-way-way back. I am a "I-really-love-the-Lord,-you-don't-know-what-he's-done -for-me-gave-me-the-victory" type of man. I am not afraid to praise God but I know that in the midst of praise pain exists, somebody is hurting, somebody is crying, somebody is facing a difficult dilemma and the preacher reminded me that there is power in the name, just saying Jesus is therapeutic at times.

It is as easy as that? Heck no, being spirit filled is continuous work and not a one time activity, and living that way is even more of a challenge.

So on a day when happiness is not mine, I feel blessed, I shouted the name JESUS and nothing happened on the outside but something is going on and as the old song says I feel like going on.