32B's Blog

…where I write my words

Church Date?!

It is Thursday night and I should honestly be asleep since I didn’t go to bed until 3am Thursday morning just to have both kids home from school, a load of work to do from home, and a paper to write by 4pm this afternoon in time for class at 6pm.  Yeah, I do not know why I am awake! 

This Sunday I am going to church.  I have not been to church since May of this year.  I think it was May – not completely sure.  Anywho, Mr. Law School asked me out on a second date which was initially supposed to consist of a jazz spot.  Well, that was until his dad’s birthday plan took the path of complete uncertainty.  Instead, he decided to invite me to his church this Sunday.  I am both impressed and uncomfortable.  First, the time that has passed since I last stepped foot inside of a church.  Second, if I never walked back into another church for the rest of my life I would have been completely content with that decision.  Third, in what world is a church invite considered a date?  Now, for the uncomfortable thoughts….

It is a non-denominational church which I mentioned to him last week is by far my favorite church to attend.  I was raised in a Baptist church but attended a large non-denominational church after college in Indiana.  I fell in love with the schedule of services, classes, programs, diversity, and just relaxed unorchestrated environment.  It never bothered me that the pastor did not know my name.  In all honesty, it is when people know my name that drama happens and this is from more than one experience.  First, what the hell do I wear?  Mr. Law School said anything goes but I know I probably won’t wear jeans and will likely dodge a dress too.  Slacks might be the happy medium.  Second, how much do I tithe or place in the offering plate?  I do not know these people and I haven’t tithe in months so what is a cool amount?  Rhetorical question since I am sure the 10% applies still unless you are one of those people.  Third, I need to brush up on my books of the Bible.  I used to know them well and in some kind of order.  Now, I would probably struggle to find Genesis which would be embarrassing knowing I ain’t fooling God anyways.

My sister has visited this church several times.  She said it is huge – not sure what that means but I know they have several services including one at 6pm.  Apparently, this is the same church President Obama was a member of while he was still a Senator.  It is amazing how people know Pastors like they are celebs.  Countless people say a pastor’s name and I give them a “who?!” look every time.  Should I know him?  Is he famous?  “He pastors blah blah blah church!”  Oh ok, so he is a regular person….of course, I wouldn’t know him.  But, I am curious to see what happens when I walk into this building with a cross on it (I assume).  Will it awaken a church spirit in me to fellowship with other Christians?  Will I, at best, become an Easter Christian?  Will it only satisfy date #2 and I resume my life as originally planned?  Will I be reminded of the greatness that is non-denominational churches and the anonymous nature of a large congregation?  That last one sounds the most appealing. 

After church?  Food!  Where?  I have no clue but I am sure it will be somewhere out south.  After that?  Bears game!  Mr. Law School said they play about 2pm so that is perfect timing.  I hope they do not piss me off!  I’m not in the mood.  My kids will be at church as well.  A friend from my former church will have them while she is at church so, look at that, the whole family will be visiting God this Sunday (in a sense).   My oldest has always gone to Bible Study with his afterschool program.  My youngest has been chillin on the couch with mama.  Next week, Law School and I are supposed to go see Denzel’s new movie or Skyline (some sci-fi flick).  Yes, we have date #3 planned before date #2 has even arrived.  Ok, I seriously need to sleep.  Buenas Noches and Happy Belated Veterans Day 🙂

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November 11, 2010 Posted by | Life | , | Leave a comment

Integrity – A Prerequisite for Leadership

This paper is due this Thursday for my Executive Leadership.  We are to write about anything that we determine to be an example of bad or good leadership whether it be an article, a news story, a  book, or a personal experience.  This is my personal experience. 

The noun, integrity, can be defined as an adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.  At a strange time in this country, many men in leadership positions with religious roles have shown a lack of integrity at the expense of those they claim to be called to lead.  My personal experience involves a Pastor of a church here in Chicago.  I joined this church after I accepted a job here resulting in my move from Indianapolis, IN back to Chicago, IL.  A relatively small church with 4 or 5 families who can trace their roots through the history here, I was a stranger.  I only knew 2 people at this time, both friends from high school whom I respected deeply.  Before being offered the job, Dexter (one of my friends at this church) and I kept in contact.  He would tell me about the many classes in Christian studies the church offered, his call to become a Deacon, and that his uncle was the pastor.  I was impressed with the education offered to study the Bible more, in detail, and to grow in ways I had yet to participate in.  I attended his church one Sunday and visited for the next 2 months attending Sunday morning church service, Wednesday Bible Study, and events held Saturday afternoons.  I joined the church shortly thereafter. 

About this time, I received several advances from different men at the church.  I was not at all interested in any of them and found the advances quite offensive because, after all, we are in church for God’s sake!  I complained to the Pastor about one man in particular to which the Pastor told me I need to thicken my skin.  To my knowledge, this man was never reprimanded but he was spoken to about the event to which he displayed an obvious dislike toward me.  Shortly thereafter, he started a rumor about me at the church to which I consulted the Pastor again who promised he would take care of it while at the same time outright asking me if I would have minded the attention if it was from any other guy I was interested in.  The answer to the question, rhetorical or not, was irrelevant.  It was a few months following this situation that the real drama took place.

I have a younger sister who was about 21 at that time.  She is rather attractive in every aspect.  She ran into my Pastor on her way to work one day and they had a brief conversation before she went about her way.  Well, one particular Saturday she calls me severely bothered by a text message my Pastor sent to her phone that read, “You are FINE”.  Let me back up a little here, my Pastor had counseled my sister and mom who had a spat months earlier.  He had my mom’s number and my sister’s number so that explains why the Pastor had my sister’s cell number at all.  This particular Saturday, my sister called our mom who was irate who suggested she call me since this was my Pastor and I should handle the situation.  My sister told me about the text message to which I told my friend Dexter who is the Pastor’s nephew.  Of course I thought there may be some bias on his part since the Pastor is family but his response was “that is so inappropriate so I do not understand why he would send that”.  This was after my sister came up to the church to show both of us her phone so we could see the message itself, the date, the sender’s phone number, and the make sure the cell phone indeed my sister’s.  I left the issue in the hands of my friend trusting he would do the right thing.

Trust is a funny thing.  You know better and you know that someone else knows better but it does not mean that any one person will actually act on what they know is right, moral, or honest as the definition of integrity states.  A week went by, I continued attending the church, and I never heard from Dexter.  I called to ask if he had spoken to his uncle and he said he was looking for the right time to approach him as nephew/uncle instead of as Pastor/Deacon.  This entire time I had several people in my ear telling me I am a fool to think he will address the issue and, if he does, that justice or an explanation will be given other than an attempt to sweep it under the rug.  I reached the point where I had waited enough.  I picked up the phone and made a decision which, I will admit, cast me in a bad light.  I called me 2nd friend from high school who I mentioned earlier also attends this church; I called the Pastor’s daughter.  I know her quite well and I know she stands up for what is right getting answers by any means necessary.  If I wanted answers I needed to involve someone who would get it asap after all, my sister and my mom were impatiently waiting for an explanation and so was I hoping that there was a good one to be had and not another trifling man in leadership who was up to tricks. 

I dialed her number, she answered, I told her about the situation explaining everything careful to not leave a detail out, she listened quietly on the other end of the phone, and then she said she would call Dexter (her cousin) and call me right back.  She called me back about 15 minutes later and I heard sorrow in her voice and what must have been tears welling up in her eyes.  Instantly, I felt bad and knew that my selfish need to get answers was not the best decision I have made in life.  She confirmed that the Pastor has spoken on the situation, that her mom was now informed, and that I would have my answer soon enough.  I apologized for her having found out this way to which she said, “it is not your fault” and we hung up the phone.  Another part of this drama I should mention is my phone call to the Pastor’s wife a week or so before this escalated.  I called her for some totally unrelated event mistakenly; I was trying to call someone else but pressed her name instead from my Contacts.  She called me back that evening.  I ignored her phone call and voicemail.  She called me again a couple of days later but I did not take her call.  I finally decided to call her one morning and let her know I had called by mistake reassuring her that everything was ok – her husband was in the room with her listening intently I am sure. 

A meeting was called.  I was brought into the Pastor’s office.  He pressed “play” on his personal sized audio recorder.  No one permitted to attend this meeting but myself, the Pastor, the assistant Minister (a man), another assistant Minister (a woman who I had confided in), and my friend Dexter.  The Pastor’s reason for the text message was, “to boost my sister’s self-confidence” and it was only a “compliment”.  I instantly knew that was a lie because my sister has so much ego she is borderline arrogant so boosting her self-confidence was a nice lie but it did not fool me.  I thought the meeting was called to address the issue but, instead, the Pastor took that time to tell me how I affected his marriage, his relationship with his wife, his relationship with his daughter, and I sought to cause hurt and harm to his family.  Never was an apology given as I expected.  Never did he take any of the blame.  And never did any of the other men in that room see the scale of justice completely lopsided.  Finally, the assistant Minister to whom I had confided spoke up defending me reminding the Pastor that it was his hands from his phone that the text message came and we should not forget that.  Nevertheless, I was asked to step down from all leadership positions I currently held.  In total disbelief, tears began to stream down my face as I searched for some soul in this room who had ever heard of the word integrity or justice.  This same female Minister spoke up again pointing out the discrepancy in my punishment when the man mentioned earlier who spread the rumors about me and made the inappropriate comments was still in his post in his leadership position.  After many tears and disbelief that my friend with whom I used to hold to such high moral character sat there silent even at least speaking against me, the meeting ended and I was allowed to keep my leadership roles but the damage had been done.

I left this particular church months ago and have yet to return to any church at all.  It took a while to forgive but I think it may be impossible to forget.  I am not sure which hurt more; the downright disregard for integrity and accountability, the silence of my friend who sat right next to me, the audacity to deem me unfit to hold any leadership position in the church while the offending party was the Head of the church, the accusation that blowing the whistle was an attempt to hurt two women (Pastor’s wife and daughter) who have always been nothing but kind to me, or the use of Biblical scripture to tell me how I ought to have handled the situation.  If there was a Biblical scripture addressing inappropriate text messages sent from men of the cloth to young women then I would had recited it but there is none.  Yet.  Integrity is a prerequisite to being a good leader.  We all know better but, often times, we do not.  Does that release us from accountability and the need to tell the truth?  We all make mistakes because we are all human but does that give anyone the right to sweep their under the rug and place the noose around someone else’s neck for their crime?  I stand my ground on what decisions I made admitting honestly that certain ones were not the best but I did not send the text message so I refuse to take the fall for it.  I would like to think I have enough integrity to know when something is in direct opposition and contradiction to what I stand for and know when someone’s leadership will lead me down the wrong path in life, in my Christian walk, and in my integrity.

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , | Leave a comment

Another Boring Running Post!

Yes – I know.  Do I not have anything exciting to write about other than running? I do but not today unless you wanna read about my cramps, my crying, my up & down emotions, and how I yelled at my supervisor as if I was his superior and not the other way around.  Yeah, it’s been a rough day.

I was supposed to do mile repeats Thursday but my legs were still too sore so I ran 6 miles at a faster pace than  normal.  Bad thing: I started out fast.  Good thing: I finished.  Revelation: starting out fast does not guarantee a faster finishing time.  Lesson learned.  Sunday I did my 10 mile long run.  I seriously have to be mentally prepared for long runs.  I let my body know days in advance so it does not freak out.  I make sure I fuel it the day/night before.  I make sure I wake up on time so I’m not running during the heat of the day.  I make sure I come prepared to fight the mental battle because there is always one.  This Sunday, I got out the door at 6:15am and I did not have to fight as much as I used to.  I thought about my upcoming race & how inhuman it would be to make my body race 10 miles without training it to even run the same distance.  I actually felt good making it home.  I celebrated little victories like reaching this street and then looked forward to reaching the next street until I was on my way home.  I even ran the entire time unplugged since my iPod is on life support.  I hate having to buy another one so I will call Apple Support again for further assistance.  It’s only $40 to get a new refurbished one (I’m not buying a brand new one) but I do not want to spend any money.

I made it home, spent quite some time catching my breath and calming my heart rate down, and then I stretched focusing on my poor legs.  I went inside and seriously laid down in the middle of the floor like I was about to make a snow angel.  I didn’t move for about 5 minutes.  Then I went to pee.  Then laid back on the floor for another 5 minutes.  Then I got up to shower since I had every intention on making it to church.  Somewhere in my getting-ready-time I drank a bottle of Gatorade & ate an apple.  By the time I made it to the train I realized my limbs were quivering and I needed to actually eat something – protein if possible.  I stopped at subway and ordered a breakfast sandwich – first time eating a subway breakfast.  Not excellent but it did the job.  After church, I stopped to get a tuna sub with extra tuna.  I love tuna!  Only mustard, sweet peppers, and lettuce – tryna eat healthier.  Somewhat.  Anywho, I finished my 10 mile run in 1 hr and 37 mins and 32 seconds.  Not sure what time I will finish the actual race in but I hope it’s around the 1 hr and 20 mins mark.  I really want a medal.

This cartoon is by Naked Pastor (on my blogroll) called Closing Time.  I liked it and he said we can use his pictures on blogs free of charge (hope I read that right) so yeah.  I went to church for Youth Day.  Service was awesome!  Hot – but hell is probably hotter I assume.  Not trying to confirm that assumption.  My mom came from the pulpit to speak to me 🙂 I was so touched that I hadn’t seen her in months I wanted to give her a big bear hug but she’s so little I might bend her or something.  I made it home and felt the need to pray asking God to give her her own church.  If not for her, then for me.  I need it.  Yes, it was a selfish prayer and God probably knew my own selfish intentions before I opened my mouth but at least I got it out.  Good thing: I have no probably asking for what I need.  Bad thing: I have no problem asking for what I want.  Relevation:  He can always just stamp a big fat “no” on either and I will still be happy I got it off my chest.  But, I still had to ask anyways – you never know what may happen if you only ask.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , | 1 Comment

Safe?

I haven’t been to church since some time in April or March or February….I really can’t remember.  I was the Prayer Ministry librarian but Rev. Allen called asking if she can keep the books since they have more new members who need to get caught up esp since the ministry is on the second to last book of the series.  I dropped the books off to another Prayer Warrior during one of my wfh days.  Then Rev. Allen called today wondering if I was attending the Prayer Ministry meeting this Saturday esp since my name was on a lot of ministry documents.  So, was I with them or not?  I said “no”.  She asked if I had joined a church already.  I said “no”.  She said I know that is not of God, right?  I was not going to agree at all but since she put “right?” at the end I kinda had to so I said “yeah”. 

Then she mentioned how my kids and I were outside the arc of safety and how, if I wasn’t in sin before, I am on my way there because Satan sees me.  I understand her point and I know she is looking out for me….however, it felt like a scare tactic.  I thought we are in sin anyways.  I thought we are sin while in church too.  I honestly haven’t changed anything I have done since joining the church, since leaving the church, or since joining the church again and leaving again.  All my sin God already sees and knows.  It doesn’t make it any better but I haven’t add any new sin other than the “forsaking the assembly” sin which Rev. Allen mentioned as well.  So, that means I shall start going back to church this Sunday.  I will not attend my former church and will not venture to say I never will but it’s not at the top of my To-Do list.

Rev. Allen asked if I was over the “situation”.  She asked if my sister had moved on from it.  She mentioned how others involved had moved on.  She suggested I ask God for assistance in getting over the “situation” (although I never said that was the reason I stopped going) and that I should repent and take my rightful place.  I just want to leave things in the past where they should belong.  I want to go on and live my life.  I will start going to another church (yes, I hear folks yelling that things will not change no matter where I go…..I know) and at least make the effort to not forsake the assembly.  One day, I will write a book.  I will write a book and outline every single hour of my life focusing on the highlights in painstakingly detail and all the key players who have touched my life in some way.  One day, I hope people will try to understand that every decision I make is not a diss toward God and his assembly.  She even said I was never one of those people she dreamed would come to church once or twice a month or not at all.  She said I was too “faithful” to become such a person. 

I am so confused right now.  I am at that point where I am not sure I am doing something because I want to, because Satan is on my heels, or because God is about to rain fire on me in 5 seconds.  I swear being a Christian was much easier when I didn’t get so involved in church, meeting people, making friends and foes, and just becoming more than a pew warmer.  Being a Christian was perfect when no one knew my name.  I went to church every Sunday, I went to Bible study every Wednesday, I paid exactly 10% to tithes every Sunday, I prayed often at will, and I stopped having sex (that was the biggest struggle).  Then I moved to Chicago and all hell broke loose.  I am not forsaking the assembly….I am trying to find that pure place again.  The purity when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the “why” I was doing A, B, C, and D.  Rev. Allen said I must go to church not to say “I’m here now leave me alone” but because I want to be there.  There’s a catch-22 to everything when all I want is to figure things out.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Christian, Life | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Color Me Bad

It took me a weekend to get back to the normal me so now I feel better.  Saturday I spent hours that night applying to jobs, researching which certifications are in demand, and figuring out how to better position myself for a better opportunity.  I’m not in search of more money but in search of satisfaction.  I keep asking myself what would I do even if I didn’t get paid for it and my answer is always running but I have my days when I don’t feel like running so my real answer would be nothing.  If I could get paid to do nothing that would be great but, if I had to choose, if I could get paid to do something it would involve about 5 things which kinda defeats the point of the question itself.  Sunday I did laundry but I ran out of laundry detergent so I didn’t finish.  I applied for more jobs which I liked which weren’t many.  And I cleaned up.  Well, I gave the kids tasks and I did the things they usually half-ass due to age. 

I have gotten to the point of letting things go or at least I am trying.  My co-worker asked if Mr. D and I go to the same church and I wanted to say “I dnt go to a church at all” but instead I said “no”.  My soror asked if I’d gone to church and I said “no” and then she asked if I was an atheist again and I laughed and said “no” again.  I stopped answering the phone for Prayer Line on saturday mornings often because I don’t go to sleep until past midnight and other times because I don’t think I should continue with it anymore.  I haven’t talked to Mama Allen in months.  I haven’t talked to anyone really.  Someone asked if I was against the establishment of organized religion.  I didn’t know how to answer that.  I have been told that I will find the same problems in any and every other church I go to.  Well, that leaves me perfectly content staying at home.  Someone asked if I cared about my kids and teaching them about Christianity.  I am confident in my own abilities to teach them everything I know including what I never learned in church.  

Some things I do not agree with and it’s present in every church.  Some things I have questioned since I was young that I see in every church.  Some things should be overlooked in favor of Christian fellowship.  Some things should be ignored in favor of having some place to give your time, talents, and treasures.  Some things are bigger and more serious than people care to admit.  I passed a church….honestly, I walked pass millions of churches and saw names in big bold letters on the outside.  When did it become important to know who is pastoring or leading the church?  Why isn’t it more important to announce the denomination instead?  Just thoughts I have had.  I walked into quite a few churches and saw huge pictures of men in leadership inside the church.  Where is the picture of white Jesus?  Or the brown Jesus most black people put up?  Why is this guy on this huge ass picture instead of Jesus?  Who are we following?  Are we Thomasians (Pastor Thomas) instead of Christians (Jesus the Christ)?  Why do we go to church once a week to worship Christ but about 4 times a week to worship the men in leadership for their big days (anniversaries)?  I do not agree.

Nothing more than I do not agree.  I am not saying these things are wrong.  I am not saying these things are against God because I don’t know how He feels about it.  I am not saying anything other than “I do not agree”.  I thought this same thing as a youngster but my father was associate minister eager to climb the ladder and get his own church so I kept quiet.  He also had a good backhand so I didn’t wanna injury this pretty face of mine.  I thought the same during college when friends went to church Sunday morning after partying and laying up with ol’ dude Saturday night.  I did the same things too and had plans on doing it next weekend as well so I didn’t wanna lie to myself or fake the phunk.  I didn’t agree with it.  It is not to say they shouldn’t have, should apologize to me, or should change their ways.  The beauty of disagreements is the freedom to have an opinion but not impose that opinion.  Just to have one is beautiful.  I thought the same here but church people from various places in the USA whom I call friends have told me “that’s what churches do” and I agreed.  That is what churches do but that does not mean I have to follow the crowd and participate. 

Other than that, I am the bad girl who does not attend church anymore, who does not pray on the Prayer Line, who does not believe all in the Bible, whose friends joke is an atheist, who questions everything so I know in what I believe, who does not think even man is qualified to lead no matter how many were “appointed” by God, who is in complete disagreement with more than I am in agreement with.  There is more I would like to type (financial matters in the church) but I promised I would not since it is sensitive information and, frankly, I should not know about it anyways.  I color myself bad so I can stand out in direct opposition until someone can give me an adequate explanation of “why” as opposed to “it’s tradition”.  Let’s see if I will make it to Heaven with no active/current church membership.  I guess if ol’ dude hanging with Jesus (literally) on Calvary can make it to Heaven without the earthly hoops to jump through then I should be good too.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Christian | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pray For Me Too

Today is the 2nd Saturday of the month which means it’s Prayer Ministry time.  Meeting is from 8-945a…I got there about 815a.  I have missed the last 3 weeks of any & everything church related partly because I’ve been out of town so, when I walked in, I could tell some people were surprised.  I sat down and looked over the agenda to see what we’d be discussing today.  Our book of the month is Spiritual Warfare.  Honestly, this has been the book-of-the-month for the past few months.  Why?  Because no one has read it and because Mama Allen refuses to go on ahead without knowing most of the Prayer Warriors gained something from the book.  The point of this post is to highlight my own shortcomings, the time I was downright rude during the meeting, and the time I talked to Mama Allen about my own concerns with the ministry. 

We have a facilitator for the book who has been absent from the ministry most of this past year while she battled cancer so it was good to have her back.  She opened the discussion and a couple women shared their opinions on the book, what they got from the book, and how it somehow pertained to their personal lives.  No big deal, right?  Wrong!  What the discussion is supposed to do is get everyone talking about key aspects of the book highlighting some line or passage from the book that they liked.  That did not happen too much today.  I won’t say it didn’t happen but I will say it didn’t happen as intended.  One lady (who we all know you can’t pay her to shut up) started talking about something in right field.  Then another lady (who should honestly never speak publicly) started talking about something in left field.  By this point, I was highly irritated because, yet again, we were off topic, not discussing the actual book, and we were going to add yet another month to this already old book!  When the lady talking about left field started to recap a story involving her friends’ house, casting out demons in this house, how she went and bought a bottle of oil to anoint the house, and how she went from room to room speaking the word of God and pleading the blood of Jesus….I was past pissed.

Maybe it’s just me but some people want so badly to be used by God for all the wrong reasons.  She has no anointing.  I will venture out there to say that.  Everyone kept saying how real and serious Satan and his demons are.  How you shouldn’t play with casting out demons because they will surely find a home in you if they know you are just faking the funk pretending to be anointed and all that oil in your hand is good for frying some chicken only!  Yet and still, they say this and people will take up a good 15 minutes recapping their stories.  It’s cool if you wanna take that risk but not during the time when we are supposed to be discussing the book.  So, since I’m used to people at this church constantly muttering under their breathes “I wish she will sit down” or “here she go again” I raised my hand and the lady stopped talking probably assuming I had something to add to the story but, instead, I pointed to the facilitator and said “you can go on to the next chapter”.  You should have seen her face!  She looked like she wanted to say, “how dare you b*tch” but I held my ground cause I was serious….move on!!  Mama Allen starting talking, this chick gave me one of those looks, I leaned forward about to tell her what part of my anatomy she can kiss, but instead I got up and walked out.  I was feeling frustrated all over again.  The ministry is not meeting my expectations nor is it meeting Mama Allen’s expectations given to her by the Holy Spirit. 

Mama Allen called me later during the day and I told her I did feel irritated, I’m tired of waiting until someone decides to do the work needed of Prayer Warriors, I’m tired them wanting the entire church to know they’re Prayer Warriors but not do the work to build the foundation, and I’m tired of feeling stagnant.  My shortcoming?  I felt arrogant during that moment in the meeting before I raised my hand.  This lady said “and I dos it” instead of “I did it” and it was all downhill from there.  In my head, I started to have arrogant thoughts such as “I’ve read all the books and memorized the scriptures so I should be on an accelerated track” or “this lady can’t even speak properly but she’s casting out demons?!” or “these people are holding me back” or “I refuse to call grown women to make sure they have read their books”.  When I walked out, I felt guilt at my thoughts, irritation, and the sad realization that some people need someone to hold their hand in this.  I admit I am not that person.  I am hands off.  Either you work for it or you won’t.  I am not a teacher & I am not a coach because I am the best student/athlete you can find.  I don’t give up.  I don’t whine the whole way.  If I know I can’t then I bow out but not before giving it my all.  I lack patience for people who complain more than they try.  Mama Allen has bust her skinny azz tryna put shyt together for this dang ministry so it pisses me off when some grown azz woman says “I ain’t got time to be reading all these books!”  Do they say that to Mama Allen?  No, they’s bytches.  I hear them say this shyt all the time and they say it to me or when I am standing right there basically not caring how time and effort Mama Allen has invested so it does piss me off and I wish they’d just bow the phuck out.  I told Mama Allen on the phone that the meetings aren’t timely and people talk too freakin much.  How can we move on?!

In the end, I don’t know what I wanna do.  I stepped outside to gain my composure, the Pastor walked in with a deacon and didn’t look at me just muttered a “hello” as if it was required, and I just about screamed.  Why am I even here?!  Why?  My mood is ten times worse from being here for just 2 hours.  Maybe it is Satan up to no good.  Maybe it is a spirit of discord and division.  Maybe it is but I know I want to learn more and I should have learned more but the ministry is not where I would have hoped it would be.  Mama Allen mentioned a “what if” situation that involved her leaving the church or letting the ministry go in the hands of the current leaders….I’d surely leave it as well.  It prb won’t die but it will be on life support for awhile.  I cursed.  I yelled.  I stomped my feet.  I grabbed my coat and left as soon as I could.  I ran from the church and doubt I’d be there tomorrow morning.  If this is Satan’s way of keeping me at bay then it must be cleverly disguised because all I can think about is the mess called organized religion and the Christians who resemble Satanists if anything.  Strong words to type but imagine the way I feel to even type that and stand behind it.  Pray for me too.

February 13, 2010 Posted by | Christian | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Step Away From Your Bible

The best part of church growing up were the sermons.  I love a good story which is why I loved hearing about the different people in the Bible.  That should have foreshadowed my future because I could have cared less about the choir, prayer, or anything else.  I wanted to hear the stories like I was sitting on granny’s lap listening to a fairy tale where I can lose myself in this other world.  But this is not supposed to be a fairy tale but the truth.  It grew from loving the stories to wondering how true and real they were.  My questions began when I began to question most things in life.  Not when I’d lost a loved one.  Not when I was down and out.  It just seemed to happen when I wondered who had taught the person teaching me, who had taught them, and so forth and so on.  I wanted to know what qualified them to teach and not I although I have no desire to teach I do want to make sure the information I teach my kids about our faith is indeed correct and not how most black folks teach their kids….from what/how they were taught.

I have completed Genesis and just wanted to read some of these famous and not-so famous stories for myself but I can’t help feeling like I’m creating more work for myself.  Reading I get to a point where something catches my attention, followed by something else, leading me to A, which peaks my curiosity in B, and later I’m nowhere near where I started!  Where is my curiosity wanting to take me now?  Jesus outside the Bible.  I read the book The Case for Christ and what I never thought about was if Christians (myself included) really believe in the Biblical stories and accounts then where do they exist outside the Bible?  Let’s start with Jesus.  If he is indeed who we claim him to be then where else is it documented outside of the Bible?  I do not want to base 100% of my faith on the Bible nor will “just have faith” do.  Some historical non-Biblical documents refer to Jesus as a sorceror…what was he doing that made them think that?  Some who documented his sorcery never said he didn’t do things that defied scientific laws…they just said he was not doing it by divine intervention. 

The picture in this blog does not mean to burn the Bible….just step away from it for now or let’s pretend that a world of Bibles no longer exists.  Let’s look outside the Bible because, in the world of science, it must hold true within it’s own realm and outside it.  If the laws of gravity are true then they must hold up everywhere unless you add an asterisk which outlines certain conditions apply.  Does my faith have an asterisk?  There must be evidence elsewhere to prove the validity of the Bible.  If the Bible’s authenticity is questioned then provide a historical document that has been accepted as fact that shows references to Jesus and other folks of the Bible.  Christians like to say “we don’t have to provide anything else. They should take what we offer them.”  Who does that benefit?!  In the secular world, a reluctance to provide further evidence simply means a) you have nothing else to provide b) you are afraid of what this nothing else would mean and/or c) you know what the other documents say and they are not in your favor.  However, if I ask for more data to support your claim it only means a) I’m just not completely sold which is a good thing because it shows I won’t believe just anything, b) I am still curious in what you have to say, and c) your religion should be able to stand outside your world to prove to others and yourself that your faith is rooted in the right soil.  I am still reading the Bible, looking for more book/documents that support the claims of the Bible second, and asking myself the hard questions preparing for my oldest son third.  He is his mother’s child!  Question after question and not any silly answer will do that I normally give to people to blow them off.  I have to be ready to answer each question he may have or else I have failed the greatest evangelism test of all….my own child.  If he does not know what to believe he is vulnerable to believe anything but I am comforted by the fact that he does question everything so he will question me as well but I challenge him to do better than I in my search for more answers when what is given me from the church is just not enough….anymore.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Christian | , , , , | 2 Comments

Fresh Eyes

I have an hour before I get to leave work and go home. My eyes are tired and I know this because I keep catching mistakes on a report I did last month so, to prevent another “what the hell was I doing” moment with myself….I am taking an Eye break.  Fresh eyes are always needed when you star too hard at numbers for long periods of time….eventually they seem to run together or look the same.  I have a few random thoughts today:

I’m sitting in my little cubicle next to my supervisor when I get a little window from Outlook…I have a new email.  I glance at it to see if I wanna read it now or later.  I read “Denisha, you will be doing training for (company’s name)….” I clicked the lil box which opened the email and my heart started beating like crazy.  A one day training in Schaumburg, IL for a new client of my dept.  I’m nervous as hell!  My sup said I can take a veteran guy from our company with me but, as she said it, she sighed really loudly as if to mean “if you really feel you need help or someone to hold your hand” so I read between the lines.  I have to go solo.  No one asked me if I wanted to go solo.  She emailed my manager, he replied back “I agree with Denisha going”, and I was the last to know.  Great!  Some time next month I will do training #1 and #2 eventually which my sup kinda slipped on in the convo.  Public speaking is not my thing.  I like to talk but in front of people about something they have no clue on and I am supposed to be the “expert”…nope!  It should be easy if they don’t know anything anyways, right?  Well, it’s not.  I’m just freaking out.  I’ll be fine.  I’ll prepare beforehand and make sure I can set the training crap up (lord knows I know nothing about setting up technology anything) and I’ll give it my all.  I hope I don’t pass out.

I printed off 2 forms I need for my taxes since my childcare provider would prefer I not claim the thousands I paid her for 2009 but she has clearly fell and bumped her head on something.  She doesn’t have an EIN# and she refuses to give me her SS# so the IRS told me how to file for my credit(s) and still cover my butt just in case.  It’s something called Due Diligence but the forms are needed so I gotta get that done.  I usually do my own taxes but I’m not sure if I will this year since I have additional paperwork that is new to me….don’t wanna mess things up for myself.  Also, I need to file because I married an azzhole who may try to claim one of the kids for his tax purposes.  Per our divorce documents, he can only claim one of the kids if he is current on his child support.  If he is behind for whatever reason (which he is since he quit his job for p*ssy over the summer), I have the legal right to claim both.  If he claims one behind my back, I have to take him to court so the judge will legally force him to pay the money back to me along with my attorney fees.  See how irritating this can get?  No one has any idea the ball of shyt I married….all they care about is seeing my family back together again.  Walk in my shoes first and then you can suggest how I wear them.  I don’t get frustrated anymore although I used to.  I just let people have their own opinions, think I am going to hell, blah blah blah, and smile as I walk away.  So, tomorrow I shall file (I really have to make time actually) my taxes so I don’t give him time to exercise his potential to be an azz.

I made a meatloaf last night and it did not fall apart 🙂 this is my 3rd time in my life trying to make it.  This time I used eggs cause I don’t remember if I used any the last 2 times.  Anywho, my oldest ate it like he hadn’t eaten in years!  That boy has a tapeworm or something.  I think I cook enough just to find out I have nothing for leftovers.  Counterproductive if my goal is to cook enough for several days as opposed to one.

Church.  I try not to complain or let anything bother me so I have something to complain about but I just have small annoyances.  The guy I mentioned earlier who is married gave me this big smile and opened his arms to hug me.  I suddenly found my 4 yo very interesting as I walked on by pretending I hadn’t noticed his arms.  One lady told my oldest I need to have him in Sunday School.  My initial thought, “is she coming to pick you up?!”   My next thought, “she need Jenny Craig but you don’t see me putting my nose where it don’t belong”.  My kids should go to Sunday school.  I would even say they need to go to Sunday school.  That comment just irritated me a tad bit because she could have said something to me instead of to my son but it’s cool….I’ll act like I didn’t hear it.  But, if I do take them, what will I do for that hour??  Adult classes are boring. 

I haven’t ran in 2 weeks but the weird thing is that I’m losing weight.  When I do run regularly I end up gaining weight.  Really strange!  It’s warm enough outside but I don’t feel like dodging patches of ice still on the ground AND my work schedule for this week and next is cutting into my work from home days (aka running afternoons).  This week, I only have 1 work from home day but my 4 yo is out of school that day too so I will have him home with me.  Next week, we have auditors coming in which means we have to be in the office that whole week but I have Friday off to go to Indy for the weekend.  You see?  I won’t be able to run til February 😦 I’m losing what fitness level I have gained but it’s cool.  I’m Bunny…I will bounce back.  Ok, back to work and happy MLK day!! Hasta luego amigos!!

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday

I went to church yesterday because I sincerely wanted to be there.  No one knew I was coming.  I got up, got dressed, did something decent to my hair, put on my boots, and got out the door.  I took the train since it gets me there faster which means I can take as much time as I want getting my butt ready and still make it at a decent time right after Devotion.  I got off the train and was walking down the platform to the stairs leading to the street below where I will walk the 1 block to the stairs of the church when I heard a guy screaming from the direction I was walking.  I looked up curious and saw another guy bending over a guy on the ground.  All I saw was his fists going up and down swinging on whoever was laying on the ground behind the bin I couldn’t see around.  The voice was likely from his entourage….I don’t know and I didn’t stay to find out either.  I did a 180, walked to the other exit, made sure no one was following me so I wouldn’t have to grab my stiletto boots from my bag and use it for what it was not intended, made it down the stairs to the street, and called 911.  I told them what I knew and what I saw and the lady promised to send a car over quickly.  In the movies, someone in my position would have yelled out “hey!”, walked over to see what was going on and take the chance of either breaking up the fight or becoming a part of it.  At 5’3″ 125 lbs wearing a sweater dress….that was not a smart move!  I could run like the wind but fight….I have no intentions on ever doing such a thing esp not with this masterpiece God gave me to sit on my neck. 

I got to church and I felt….weird.  You know how you feel like the Pastor is talking to you but isn’t really talking to you because you don’t know for sure.  The church needs help in so many ways.  I don’t have anything in my power to help and, even if I did, I doubt it would do much good.  I did inquiry about a tutoring program but that’s every Friday evening which would be asking a lot of me with 2 kids, in the hood, after dark, and no car.  I don’t mind tutoring but it’s too much of an effort and risk on my part to get over there and back home.  Does that sound selfish?  A lot of people have come up to me saying “haven’t seen you in a while”, “we missed you”, “are you back?”, “where have you been?”, etc.  I think I know which man in leadership keep hitting on the women although he’s married lol I know because he said something strange to me and, in my attempt to walk at the speed of light in the opposite direction, I almost walked into a friend of mine.  Walking into him I said “hey!” kinda surprised and thankful lol we hugged it out.  Ok, I probably shouldn’t admit this because my friend is now married but I swear he has a nice butt or maybe it just looked nice yesterday.  I was sitting in the sanctuary looking at him from across the room as he was talking to my oldest son.  I was watching how nicely the material of his slacks draped over his butt and how those same slacks moved oh so nicely with each stride he took.  I was honestly kinda mesmerized thinking to myself, “I don’t think I ever noticed his butt before”….in church.  I mean it really looked good and I was really staring hard and thinking all kinda thoughts but the main one was, “I bet you he giving it to his wife real good!”  Shameful…..I know.  To be thinking this in church….I know.  But, I have to admit I have a problem with men and nice butts.  It’s his fault.  He shouldn’t have turned his butt toward me leaving me nothing to focus my eyes on and he raised his shirt to put his hands in his pockets likely on purpose so I can get a better view of his butt.  I was a helpless victim here.  Completely helpless!  But, then I shook my head in shame when I realized what I was doing and I looked elsewhere for the remaining time I was there.  Didn’t stop me from reminiscing about it as I write this blog though.  Hmmm, I hate to see you leave but I love to see you walk away!

Other than that, every thing was good. I talked to Mama Allen, said hi to a few people, got my things done, and realized what Mama Allen always used to say, “I’m not here to please people. I’m here to do God’s work”.  My sister always says, “why you even bother going to that church?!”  I don’t think I know the answer to that question.  I don’t even think I care to know the answer anymore.  Only one thing keeps me coming back so that’s all that matters.  I always wondered how cordial church folk should be to each other.  How friendly we should be.  How fake we should be out of respect.  How real we should be.  Human interaction annoys me!  I love you but can’t I love you from afar?  I do that with non-church members all the time and it works out fine.  Some can’t get along long enough to help someone else and then folks wanna pray about it and on it.  How about more effort than leaving it in God’s hands.  How about you consciously make the effort to not be a bytch every time you get here?  How about you stop with the little snide remarks?  How about you look grateful like those songs you sing about in the choir stand?  How about we, one person each, make a conscious effort to like each other and work on the love part when we get there cause some of y’all I might leave stranded in the middle of the road.  Ok, not really but I’m just saying.  It’s the winter and I don’t have lots to do at the church much less a means to get there.  I don’t like the neighborhood.  People stare at me when I’m around there as if I’m foreign.  I get in and I get out.  But, this is the people we are supposed to be helping.  Church is not the building….it’s the people.  I think I’m a good person in general I just keep failing this People course so no I don’t dislike going to church….I just dislike some of the people who happen to show up there around the same time I do.  And they probably dislike me too.  At least I have a good poker face lol so I’ve been told.

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Christian | , , , , | Leave a comment

My North Star

I think I’m at that stage in life where I’m completely directionless, clueless, and lost.  I think I felt like this after high school.  I didn’t know what I wanted to major it but I did know what subjects I liked so I picked those.  Ended up changing my major countless times once I realized that my liking a subject did not mean I wanted a career in it.  Anywho, until I find my north star, I’ll be wandering aimlessly and until I know for sure what I need to be doing.  Other than that, I’ll be doing what I want as free as a bird. 

So yesterday my company participated in a community service project called Feed My Starving Children.  They don’t do any real marketing in an attempt to keep costs down so check them out if you get a chance.  Basically, they pack food for starving children overseas.  We were asked what kind of events we should do as a company and one of them was community service so that’s what we did yesterday.  We work 2 shifts: 12-2p and 230-430p.  I only worked til about 415p though because I had to leave and catch the train back into the city.  Anywho, we packed these little bags full of lab engineered food that included 20 vitamins any starving child b/t birth and 5 yrs old will need to survive and thrive.  It included some vegan chicken flavoring which included the 20 vitamins, dehydrated vegetables, soy, and rice.  We put a scoop of the first two and a cup full of the second two in this plastic bag.  Apparently, this one bag weighing about 380-400 grams will feed 6 children for one day.  I looked at that bag and thought, “this ain’t nothing but a tease! This lil bit of food is supposed to feed 6 kids?!”  But, I guess that’s coming from an American….a country where portion size is as much as you can fit on a plate.  The event was really fun.  We broke into smaller groups of 6 maybe and packed the bags assembly line style, weighed them, sealed them, and boxed them.  During our 1st shift, they said we packed 71,000 meals.  I wonder how that stuff tastes after it’s cooked though.  Lab engineered food never sounds or looks appetizing.  During our 4 hours there, we all had fun while listening to music and getting excited about finishing as many boxes as we could.  People outside the office are different creatures normally but, with my company, they are the same no matter where we are!  It was great that we got paid for that time while doing the community service.  That was awesome of our execs!  This upcoming Friday is our Christmas luncheon which is during the day as well.  I’m not sure about the attire but I know one thing, taking the train in the suburbs is not cool!  Surburbans act like it’s foreign to take the train and look at me like I’m homeless or something.  Anywho, it’ll be my last Friday in the office til January so I’m all smiles about that 😀

Today, I went to the Womens Retreat.  It was freakin awesome!!  It surpassed my expectation partly because I didn’t know what to expect.  I thought we’d have a couple classes, talk about spiritual stuff, pray a little bit, sing group songs and hold hands, and then we’d eat and be merry.  Actually, we did all that which is kinda weird because I’m not a sing-a-long type person but it was a great environment.  Everyone was open to whatever and we all connected on a level that I guess was the goal.  At the beginning before it started, we were asked to remove the masks and keep it real.  This ain’t church where we walk around like we cute and perfect…..we all got issues so let’s talk and leave them here.  I’m sitting there thinking, “there ain’t enough time allotted for this retreat for just my own issues so I don’t know how this gonna work”.  People started talking, talking about their own testimonies, some I have heard before, some that shocked the heck outta me, and I actually left feeling great.  Great about what?  I have no clue.  I was free, happy, relaxed, we ended it by giving hugs, and I felt every woman in there was my family and dear friend.  I wanted to believe we could all have peace and tranquility.  That is my main problem.  Throughout my horrific childhood, I have not lost my utopia expectations, tragedy has not shattered the lens of my rosy glasses, and I still get want to hug it out like my friend just stepped on my shoe instead of a major offense. 

That is why I loved the retreat because it showed me I am still a kid at heart.  I work, I have adult responsibilities, and I am responsible because it’s tiring so sometimes I wanna just go play.  I don’t wanna think about some drama that occurred that we can’t get pass so I walk up to you and smile and say hi to just get a mean glare and no response at all.  It hurts because the child in me is hurt and I thought we could just go play.  Sounds stupid I know but that’s the only way I can forgive, forget, and move on because my intellect is giving me countless reasons why someone’s past is a great indication of their future potential to piss me off or do me wrong again & my analytical mind to documenting each and every action so I have a proper counter attack.  It get to be too much.  It’s much easier to be a kid.  Naive?  Yes.  Innocently sweet?  Yes.  But, during those moments of naivety and I found myself blindsided by an attack, I’ve never lost the battle because (in all honestly with my hand on my Bible & Jesus’ cross & a foot on each of my kids) He never ever left me to defend myself.  Listening to others’ people’s life stories reminded me of my own and made my petty issues look…..petty.  I’m not a shouting person, yelling person, you might tell me to turn to my neighbor and say ‘blal blah blah’ and I’ll roll my eyes thinking this is pointless while I look at them and say ‘blah blah blah’.  I didn’t stand to speak, I didn’t share a story, I wanted to but then I didn’t want to because I didn’t know what to share.  I sat and took it all in.  I wanted to stay there all day though.  I didn’t wanna go home.  Back to reality.  Back to life.  First time I ever understood the importance of fellowship.  One lady asked if I’d be at church tomorrow.  I told her prb not.  I still don’t know where I should be yet but I’ll be at the church next Saturday for Prayer Ministry meeting. 

I haven’t found my North Star yet but I think I know it’s vicinity so I’ll stay right there as much as I possibly can.

December 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment