VS... IGNORANCE, FEAR
If I was standing at the beginning of time with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now. I would take my mental flight by Egypt and I would watch Gods children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt across the red sea through the wilderness on toward the promise land and in spite of it’s magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there. I would move on by Greece and take my mind to Mount Olympus, and I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Epicurus, and Aristoclea assemble around the Parthenon, and I would watch them around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality... but I wouldn’t stop there. I would go on even to the great hey day of the roman empire and I would see developments around there through various emperors and leaders... but I wouldn’t stop there. I would even come up to the day of the renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the renaissance did for the cultural and ecstatic life of man, but I wouldn’t stop there! I would even go by the way that the man for whom I am named had his habitat and I would watch Martin Luther as he packs his ninety-five thesis’ on the door at the church of Wittenberg... BUT I WOULDN’T STOP THERE! I would come on up, even to 1863 and watch a vacillating president by the name of Abraham Lincoln, finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the emancipation proclamation. BUT I WOULDN’T STOP THERE! I would even come up to the early thirties and see a man grappling with the problem of the bankruptcy of his nation and come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. BUT I WOULDN’T STOP THERE. Strangely enough I would turn to the Almighty and say if you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I WILL BE HAPPY! Now that’s a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up, the nation is sick. Trouble is in the land, confusion all around... that’s a strange statement. But I know somehow that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century, in a way that men in some strange way are responding, something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And where ever they are assembled today, rather they are in Johannesburg South Africa, Nairobi Kenya, New York City, Jackson Mississippi, Atlanta Georgia, Or Memphis Tennessee, the cry is always the same... We want to be free.
I am going to stop there. Black History Month is long gone, and some of you may have recognized those words of Dr. Martin Luther King. I am not big on Black History Month, for various reasons, but I am not going there. I am more concerned with championing the words of Dr. King, and addressing an issue that I ran into this morning. Well, actually, in this post I will try to address a few issues... sort of. They are tied together but lets see how this goes.
I think it's safe to say that we all have pain, turmoil and troubles. Some of us have weight problems and high blood pressure to a point that our lives are in jeopardy. Being over-weight, to any degree is never a good thang. Some of us have baby momma problems and babies daddy problems. Then there are those that have drug and alcohol problems. To ease our pain and solve our problems, some of us look to Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. Others run to marriage & family counselors for tips on how to do the right thang. Doctors, phychiatrist and treatment centers are frequently a source of temporary relief. To a large degree, doctors and psychiatrist are nothing more than legal dope dealers. Their one stop prescriptions that temporarily impedes the daily stress of life, may keep the boogieman away for a day or two, but woe is thee. In most cases the elephant is waiting in the morning.
Legal addiction is what I call it. The 12 step program, in and of itself, does not work. I sure wouldn't tell anyone to stop right there. Go there but don't stop there. It's really a dismal failure.
The above MLK passage was taken from a very long speech. I don't even know it's title, so I am going to refer to it as "But I'm Not Going To Stop There".
Why do we stop before we find real answers?
I wouldn't be foolish enough or arrogant enough to tell anyone how to solve their problems. However, I do believe that many of us stay in our misery because we simply do not where to go or where to find real answers. The championed escape routes are filled with misinformation and pitchmen offering half baked solutions. Jenny Craig might as well be called Craig's List, because a person has the oppurtunity to pick their own poison as she gently picks their pocket. Hey, it only cost 20 dollar to start. But, start what?!
Treatment centers have become parking lots for drug dealers of the professional variety. Insurance companies are becoming increasingly aware that treatment doesn't work, so the New Jack drug dealers have joined hands with treatment centers to continue their smoke and screen of successful recoveries. Their new cry is "if the person would have stayed on his meds, "this" wouldn't have happened". See, that's the slick move. They give a person a mind altering drug that does not get them high, and then, tell them to continue to take it. And, now they have a NEW very dangerous drug dancing in their heads. That's like giving a rapist a rubber blow-up doll. It's not going to work.
The overweight person or the family in distress or the addicted person, and many other lost souls, have become victims because they simply did not know where to find the right answers. They are not at fault, but they suffer with good intentions. Even at church, sometimes the answer are not there.
What is the right thing? Why should I do the right thing and where do I find the right answers?
Well, this morning I was visiting Freeman's Blog.
He inspired this post. His post was titled "misleadus".
In essence it was a knock on preachers and the whole christian philosophy. The following is some of his words and some of the other comments. But first, I told him that I had a few problems with his comments, and he was cool with that. He said, "Brother Carey – You know I welcome the challenge. Maybe I can learn something new? If not at least it’s fun debating the undebatable huh?
See you after PTL aka Praising The Lord!"
One comment: "Say what you want (all of y’all) but church is bullshit. The exact same bullshit that kept our ancestors in slavery. That’s why I’ll be sleeping late Sunday morning instead of rushing out to sit next to a bunch of fake ass hypocrites that know very little of and actually practice even less of the book that is supposed to be the basis of how they live their lives"
Freeman: Now I usually go light on religion because I know it’s a emotional thing for a lot of people. If you criticize the motherfuckers leading it someone says you shouldn’t follow the leaders. If you criticize the book then motherfuckers don’t want to investigate it as fact. If you introduce evidence that it’s based off old Ancient Egyptian religion then motherfuckers think the devil planted it there. If you question the church saying if it’s so damn good why isn’t it cranking out righteous motherfuckers then people say humans are imperfect.
'Motherfuckers go to church out of tradition not to learn anymore. So the preacher now becomes the guru instead of guest speaker. We all know with the wave of his mighty hand he could have hundreds of people picking up trash in their own neighborhoods but instead we get a whole bunch of singers hoping to get on American Idol. A person is usually judged by what they produce but in the case of the church since we don’t understand the power of God we can’t see it.
Well, at first I told Freeman that I wasn't going to get in that conversation but I went back after I thought about it a little longer. I don't think we should try to figure it out. I believe an abundance of acquired knowledge is only as good as what we believe, and more importantly, what we remember. I told him that I was going to write a post and quote him. He said cool, and the following is my reply.
BUT IF NOT!
You see there's what is you may call an if faith. And there is a Though faith. And the permanent faith, the lasting, the powerful faith is the though faith. Now, the if faith says that if all goes well, if life is hopeful, prosperous and happy, if I don’t have to go to jail, if I don’t have face the agonies and burdens of life, if I’m not ever called bad names because of taking a stand that I feel that I must take, if none of these things happen, then I’ll have faith in God. Then I’ll be all right. Now that’s the IF faith!
And the thoughfaith says that though things go wrong, though evil is temporarily triumphed, though sickness comes and the cross looms, nevertheless, I’m gonna believe anyway, and I’m gonna have faith anyway. Though the waters they off-roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake were the swelling thereof, the lord of host is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Religion is not a bargaining matter. Religion is not a bargaining experience. It’s not a commercial relationship. No great experience exists in a bargaining atmosphere. Think of friendship, think of love, and think of marriage. These things are not based on if, they’re based on though. And these great experience are not based on a bargaining relationship, not an if faith, but a THOUGH faith.
Somewhere along the way you should discover something that’s so dear, so precious to you, and so eternally worthful, that you will never give it up. You ought to discover some principles. You oughta have some great faith that grips you so much, that you will never give it up. Somehow you go on and say, I know that the God that I worship is able to deliver me, but if not, I’m going on anyhow. In the final analysis if you do right to avoid pain and to achieve happiness and pleasure, then you are not doing right. Ultimately you must do right because it’s right to do right.
You must do it because it has griped you so much that you are willing to die for it, if necessary. I say to you this morning, if you have not found something so dear to you that you will die for it, than you are not fit to live.
I don't believe church should be about the preacher nor the people that go there. I've come to believe that religion is not about Heaven or Hell. I personaly believe it's a way to move away from my own thinking, and thus find a better way to do things right. My history tells me that when I rely solely on myself, I find myself in lonliness and a world of trouble. When I read the bible, it shows me how to do things right, for all the right reasons. I don't suffer fools lightly. By no means have I arrived, but I believe I'm looking in the right place. I've been places that I do not wish to return to.
Can ignorance and fear, and being too dang smart, be a road to constant suffering? Where do you find relief?
Why do you do the right thing?