That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

Saying “I’m wrong,” is All Right

Until you admit you are wrong when you are wrong, everything you try to do is going to fail. You don’t get to admit error in an arrogant, falsely modest, condescending, passive-aggressive way — I’m just a peon, all of you are really better at this than I am — while still continuing  the same course of action that caused the division in the first place. Sugary words mean nothing when accompanied by harmful actions.

I am speaking of a person in particular, but the principle is universally applicable. I can’t stand to be around people who are never wrong. (And Jesus ain’t just “PEOPLE”)

The reason I can have a continuously harmonious relationship with my wife is that we choose not to play these games with each other. If I am wrong — and she convinces me of it (chuckle) — I have no problem admitting it. How is it respectful toward her to KNOW she is right, but deny it because I don’t want to lose the high ground? All this will do is embitter her.

She shows me the grace to do the same thing. There have been times when I have had an issue or another with her and thought, “Oh, Lord, help me in this! I know she’s gonna push back hard, and we’re gonna have to rassle!” But invariably she will sit there silent after I’ve laid out my case. I’m thinking, “Here we go! She’s HOT!” and she will say, “You know what? You’re right. I was wrong” Just like that.

And what that does for me is make me more secure in the relationship! I grow to love her more because I know that no one likes to be wrong in a sincerely held belief, and to change a thought process is a huge thing. That she does that for me means that she really does love me for the long run!

Friendship is the same way. We all miss the mark. We all are selfish at times. We all shade the truth from time to time. We all simply make mistakes. But YOU, Dude to Remain Nameless, are never wrong. To pretend perfection only frustrates fellowship. I have friends who USED to be that way, and I USED to be friends with people who ARE that way.

What ends up happening is that you alienate those who seek to build a relationship. The fact that it is always the next man’s fault makes the next man take a hike.

When YOU play a wrong note, or show up late, or cancel an engagement, or miss a practice unexcused, there is always a reason. When someone else does it, it is a dearth of dedication or a lack of reverence for you or your endeavor.

What your feigned infallibility says to me is that you think I am either intellectually inferior or not important enough, worthy enough, to warrant the truth. The fact that you can lie to my face about the contents of a conversation that only you and I had, says to me that you respect me less than you would a slug sliding on the ground! It says that you think of your associates as women to be manipulated and that you are a player a la Bill Bellamy, just playing mind games to show your superior smoothness. Men don’t like that. Stop doing it. Real life is not a game of cat and mouse. Or dog and cat… Don’t try to play me like I’m some woman you’re trying to hit up in a club somewhere.

It takes strength to admit wrong. The strength to swallow all that pride and just say, “My bad,” and shut up and keep moving. Not the phoney, self-aggrandizing, “my only sin is that I care too much” kind of stuff you shovel out.

Do you know how angry you make people when you do that? You have “Proverbs” smeared all over you.

And if you drag God’s name through it, you commit the sin of trying to make Him an accomplice to your crimes. Don’t say you are doing His work if you treat His people like the dirt on your shoes. That’s just another player move. “I can get more followers if I say I am doing the Father’s bidding.”

As I said, this stems from a conversation I already tried to have with a guy I know. But we all know folk like him. If you don’t — then, it is YOU!

We would all benefit by learning to admit wrong, and to forgive wrong. I think that a lot of the problem lies in the fact that we often think that if we are found to be wrong in some way, people will think less of us or love us less, or cast us aside.

So, logically, if our friends develop the confidence of knowing that they will be sincerely forgiven, harmony will result. Nameless Friend, however… In the words of Celie, “…till you do right by me…”

And, no, I’m not talking about Stephen A. Smith. Although…

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September 22, 2009 Posted by | Adage, Advice, Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, Common Sense, Food for Thought, Friendship, Marriage, Rant, Stephen A. Smith, Stuff I Hate | 2 Comments

What’s so Amazing about “Amazing?”

Why do some people use that word so much? Especially in reality shows like “The Real World,” “The Bachelor,” “Rock of Love,” and any other show where people who don’t know each other and are thrust together for the sole purpose of hooking up while we voyeuristically watch? Celebrities wear it out, too! “The director was amazing.” “This movie was an  amazing experience!” “Angelina was just so amazing that I just had to leave my first wife — who used to be amazing. Not so much now…

Overkill indeed! And it’s always spoken with three “a’s” in the middle of it for emphasis and extra amaaazingness. “I had an amaaazing time.” “You’re an amaaazing woman.” “Your body is amaaazing!” You would think they were juggling chainsaws and baking a cake while breastfeeding twins and bathing a cocker spaniel while looking super-hot! Now THAT would be amaaazing!

It is so awkwardly obvious what is going on. It is the verbal equivalent of buying a woman a drink in a club. As subtle as renting a porno movie.

They can’t ALL be amaaazing, can they? If they are, why are they lined up to do reality shows? If they are all amaaazing, where are the regular people? If every thing, situation, and blonde, and brunette is so amaaazing, why is the world so jacked up? If every parent, every child (mine are!) and every relationship is amaaazing, what do we say when we see a nine-month-old who can read, or a savant who can’t speak but can play Chopin, or Stevie Wonder, or Ben Carson, or that father who pushed his paraplegic son through an entire marathon because of a prior wish? Nope. Can’t call it amaaazing because you guys totally, literally diluted the uniquity — if you will — of that term to make some floozy think you were intense!

Save the superfluous superlatives for superlative situations. (I had to sit back and admire that one! Sorry.)

That goes for “miracle,” and “genius,” too!

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Advice, Celebrities, Celebrity, Culture, Current Events, Food for Thought, Humor, Hyperbole, Language, Relationships, Sex, Sexuality, Shallow People, Show Business, Stuff I Hate, Television, Things That Make You Go Hmmm, Words | 3 Comments

Ingreat?

I want to be great.

I struggle with this. I know that God says that He will give His glory to no man. I ask myself constantly if the reason I have not yet achieved my goals is that I want to be glorified in some way. Maybe God knows (I want to say, “Maybe God THINKS,” but I know He doesn’t wonder) that I would not be as humble as I need to be if He allows me to do the same things as those as whom I know I am at least as good. (prepositions! whew!)

Or maybe I simply have not worked hard enough.

I play music and I write words. I often think, when I see humorists and columnists and hear certain saxophone players, “I KNOW I can do this! I’m at LEAST that good! Why can’t I get a break?” I know I’m kind of good, but I want to be great. And not obscure. And I begin again to wonder if what is blocking me is simply my thought process.

Maybe my thinking has to change… Maybe I have to think more about what greatness will mean for God than what it will do for me.

From day one I have been Charlie Brown. I was the insignificant kid, the ridiculed kid, the unremembered kid. I was the one who the girls looked at from the edges of their eyes. I was the one who either ate alone at lunch or went and found others with whom to eat.

I was never at the center of the action, always at the outer ring. Never the life of the party.

When I started to play music, it wasn’t to get girls or to be cool. I just wanted to learn how to play an instrument — something no one in my neighborhood did. All through school, the fact that I could hear a tune and reproduce it and improvise a little bit did nothing to initiate me into that cool musical circle.

When I grew up and began doing it for a living, my mother, who worked at my high school, would ask me to come back and play for assemblies. My own band director (with whom I rode to school EVERY DAY for three years!!!) was shocked when he heard me, remarking to my mother, “I had no idea Derrick could play like that! When did this happen?”

He had not bothered to notice or nurture my talent. He never pushed me. While the cool kids were taking theory classes and playing in the jazz band, I was at home picking out Grover Washington and Spyro Gyra solos. Teaching myself.

When I was in the eighth grade and on the verge of academic mediocrity as a student in the first Optional School class in Memphis, my English teacher brought a knarry tree stump into the classroom and asked us to write a story based on what we saw. I, thinking myself a failure at English, got the highest grade in the class. In me was born the love for words I now have. I changed at that moment. And a lot of the arrogant kids in the class looked at me differently — although being good at English doesn’t make you cool.

Writing didn’t become cool for me until I began getting paid to write love letters for guys — something I was scared to do for myself for a long time.

This very blog is all about me trying to be great. It is more than a geek with a computer corrupting journalism. It is me trying to not just rant, but to make literature. I want to leave my children with something that shows them that their father did not just consume resources, but that he THOUGHT. I want to not get to God’s throne and have Him disappointed because I left unused some gift He gave to me.

I want to MATTER — to be necessary. I want to be great in His eyes AND send my kids to college. Can’t you do both? There is the rub… That which makes ascent uncertain…

Being so consistently rejected bred in me this thing, this need, to prove them all wrong. To prove to — whomever — that I was worthy of note. Not of exaltation, but just valuable enough to be heard, to be listened to. It is the same drive, I think, that led Michael Jordan to prove wrong the coach who cut him when he was a kid. The same drive that made my father put cement and a pole into buckets to make his own barbells back in the fifties when kids laughed at him and called him scrawny.

I hate being treated as “less-than.” HATE it! I am the first one to esteem my neighbor as greater than myself, as long as my neighbor doesn’t presume to assume that position! I’ll get in the back seat as long as you don’t insist that I belong there. It is for this reason that arrogance is one of the things I hate most in the world.

 I want to show all those who belittled me and dismissed my contributions that they are what is wrong with the world. (But it doesn’t consume me as much as it may sound)

Maybe in a twisted way, though, that is revenge… I don’t know. I mean, I don’t have a desire to hurt anyone, or to repay in like fashion, so maybe it’s not vengeance. But maybe my thinking is wrong. Maybe I need to focus more on how GOD would be proved worthy of note if these things happened for me the way I want them to… I know I am not arrogant — I am PROUD of how humble I am! I make way too many mistakes to have an exaggerated idea of myself.

God, however, sees things in a different way than do I. Maybe my thinking is out of synch with His. Maybe if I can figure out how greatness and fame intersect, that last door will open.

Or maybe it is just not time yet.

I know He has not closed the door though, because I have continually been able to support myself, and because step by agonizing step, I have done a little bit better. I have worked with some pretty big acts and have played as though I belonged there.

We all live and eat by having people give us money to do something we are good at doing. Our gifts make our way for us. That is all I want. No Bentley, no floor length mink, no gaudy jewels. No breathless fans or VIP status.

Just ample recompense for art rendered. Commensurate compensation.

Lord, I don’t want Your spot or your shine. And if I don’t speak up enough, it is of shyness, not of usurpation. Create in me that right way of thinking, and even closer fellowship with You.

I’m not so haughty, reader, as to think that my life is so compelling that you just HAVE to know about it. I just hope the words are interesting enough to keep you reading them.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Arrogance, Artistry, Christian Life, Christianity, Fame, Food for Thought, Glory, God, Greatness, Humility, Life, Music, Saxophone, Words, Work, Writing | 9 Comments

What’s Been on My Mind

I haven’t written anything here in a couple of weeks for a few reasons. (I thank you kind people for continuing to stop by in the meantime)

Some of the things I have posted in the past have had a slightly negative financial impact on me. No sweat. Christians are made of rubber, and rubber bounces rather than breaks.

The last few posts were getting kind of serious in light of the pending election, and I kind of had to breathe a little bit. There is a lot at stake here, and history is on the verge of happening, one way or the other. Some people hold tightly to their old ways of being.

At the risk of being mis-labeled, I wanted to talk about other tings than race for a minute, but all I saw in the news and around me — this crazy (or drunk, or both) white dude outside of Kroger said to me, “Ni@@er! F**K you, man!!”  I got kids to raise, so rather than kill this defenseless bigot, I called my wife, who told me to just go on into the store. — so I had nothing to write. Someone I know has already called this “An Angry Black Man Blog.” Yes, I am sometimes angry, and ALWAYS black, but I don’t fit the criteria for that tag. So I backed off for a moment.

Also, we went through a series at my church in which the pastors (we have three) took a poll of our most pressing issues and boiled them down to the “Big Ten.” Some of the topics were, God and politics, marriage, the end-times (I diverge on this one in a non-essential sense), and the top two, homosexuality and predestination.

I have my views on the whole Gay Rights issue which I have rarely expressed not wanting to be written off as a hater. I do think they (as an organization) play on this feeling and thereby further empower themselves and shut down debate. I am dead set against gay marriage, and I do not think one is born gay.

But I do not hate them. After the sermon on the subject, I began to think about how my “No Wiggle-Room” stance on gayness looked from the outside, and how I could be effective standing for capital “T” Truth while displaying appropriate compassion without seeming to give the “thumbs up” to the lifestyle. Complicated.

Christians — Evangelicals in particular — have lately been more apt to point the finger than to lend a hand. We are quick to point out errors in doctrine and separate ourselves from “The World” believing it to be a place not to be reached but to be repelled.

We, in our self-righteousness devoid of compassion, have given the non-Christian every reason to keep doing what he is doing while claiming to desire to make more Christians.

We picket and protest and put out warning notices for certain movies with unwholesome content. We keep our children from the slightest chance of interacting with “those” kids. We show not the least measure of the Godly love we claim emanates from Him. Why would a gay person want to come to us for advice on changing?

This blog has been a way for me to shout through what I see as maddening, increasing Godlessness in our society. I have been able to state my position unwaveringly and back it up with Scripture and common sense, the two being not mutually exclusive.

I have railed against crooked preachers, racists, lenient parents, atheists, black miscreants (more to come. Pacman Jones, grab your playbook and come to the office.), rappers, and stupid drivers. But I don’t want to come across as just another fundamentalist Christian close-minded fool. Unjustifiably. Truth without love is a bunch of baking pans falling out of a helicopter onto your driveway at 5 AM.

I have love, and don’t want that to be lost in all my diatribes. I think righteous anger and love can co-exist. Ask my boy, Max. The main reason I do this is that I hate to see people deceived. From withIN or withOUT.

But pastor Loritts’ sermon on how Christians deal with the gay issue — along with conversations with my friend and fellow church member, Kirk Whalum — made me think about how to be truthful yet winsome. It is easy to do face-to-face, harder to do on a computer.

I went to vote Thursday. At a white Church with nothing but pictures of stiff looking white folks on the walls. Not diverse in the least. I stood in line for exactly two-and-a-half hours! And I later found out that that was peanuts compared to other places.

What struck me was that the hundreds of people in that serpentine collective were engaged in dozens of conversations. The area was largely white and overwhelmingly conservative, but there were all races of Americans there. I’m sure assumptions were made as to who was voting for whom, but there was an air of joviality there. People who, moments before, had never seen each other were all of a sudden laughing and sharing life together in the midst of the most potentially explosive event in any of our lives. Events which could potentially put us all at poles even further apart than before. And there was civility, kindness, and even affinity.

Old white ladies who first voted in the fifties were engaged with black men who probably only ever voted once. There were, in those hours, no conservatives or liberals, but Americans. While the principals and their surrogates fought on like stray dogs over a bag of garbage.

I’m not a “flag pinon the lapel” guy. You won’t see a flag waving on my house. I don’t tear up during the National Anthem. Unless the singer is really great, or really bad (Carl Lewis). But as I wound my way through that maze, I was proud of that group of people. I was proud to be American. NotthatI’veneverbeenproudbefore!!!

American people can get along in spite of deeply held differences. I saw that. And, as a Christian, I try to show on this weblog that while I disagree with a whole lot of what I see and hear, I can do so without being hateful. I can state my case or cast my vote and still love my neighbor.

So, yeah, I’ll still rant, and still shout, “WOLF!” when I see one. I’ll still state my position on issues like race and abortion and Affirmative Action and crime and the rest.

But if I don’t love you, I’m wasting my time, and time is like buffalo nickels: There ain’t no more!

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, Christ, Christian Life, Elections, Evangelism, False Teachers, Food for Thought, Gay Rights, God, John McCain, McCain, Obama, Politics, Voting | 5 Comments

Another Malaprop

Kathy, on this post-partum diet, said to me yesterday, “I’m thinkin’ about becomin’ a veterinarian.”

“Fine, ” I shot back, “You can doctor on aaall the animals you want to, as long as you still cook ’em up for me!”

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Christian Life, Diet, Dieting, Food, Food for Thought, Home Life, Humor, Malaprops, Vegetarians | 2 Comments

“Thou Shalt Sell No Bootleg Movies.”

The other day, while the band was on a break, the subject of the new Denzel movie, “American Gangster” came up. A couple of the guys were talking about how good it was, and since it hadn’t come out yet, I asked, “Waitaminnit. How y’all see the movie and it ain’t came out yet?” (My conversational grammar is not always as polished as my published grammar. Besides, there were no White folks around!)

They laughed at me, the church boy.

“Bootleg, mane*! You wont it? I got it,” Dude 1 said. (I’ll not name names here)

“Naw,” I replied. “I’ll wait to see it at the movies.” Chuckling.

Dude 2 laughed and said, “The preacher don’t want to tick the Lord off!”

Dude 1, the seller, eyed me sideways over the top of his shades and asked sarcastically, smiling, 

“The Lord don’t like bootleg?” He was trying to corner me…

“Nope.”

It is important for the sake of timing,  to note that the rest of this exchange came rapid-fire, without pause:

Dude 1 asked, “Aw, rilly**? Where dat at in the Bible?”

” ‘Thou shalt not steal!’  (They fell out laughing!) Yeah, thass EARLY in the story! Thass in the firss act, even before the firss commercial!” (They’re rolling, laughing now, falling backwards and stomping like we Black folk do. We LOVE to laugh.) Yeah, man, you ain’t even gotta be a theologian to know that one! I gotcha, didn’ I?”

“Yeh, mane! I cain’t argah*** witcha right there!” We kept right on laughing.

I don’t get many opportunities to preach to the guys with whom I work, and it is cool when I do. It is a delicate balance– trying to be relevant while not selling out the Lord. They see me as separate, not doing many of the things they do, yet they do not shun me thereby rendering me ineffective.

This is one small reason why I do not see a problem with what I do. I play music for a living. “Secular music.” (I HATE that term! Is YOUR job “secular”?) I don’t get high, I don’t get drunk, I don’t run around with women, etc. And if I slipped, my entire Christian witness would be torn down. But how many street folk read the Bible recreationally? How many of them go to church and ACTUALLY adhere to the ad they hear? We are told to go out inTO the world. That’s where the people are.

These guys knew that selling and buying bootleg movies was wrong. That’s common sense. I didn’t impart some startling new revelation to them. But what I hope I did was to let them know that God is in every corner of life. And that, hopefully by my meager example, it is possible to be holy and still be an enjoyable person to be around. Christian life is not to be boring and stiff! Will Heaven be that way?

*Man
**Really
***Argue

November 13, 2007 Posted by | Christian Life, Christianity, Common Sense, Entertainment, Food for Thought, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Movies, Playing Music, Work | 2 Comments

The Charlatan’s Mantra

 “Have a need?

Plant a seed.

Stop! Don’t read!

Put on speed!

Feed my greed!”

Sheep, take heed!      Derrick L. Williams

September 5, 2007 Posted by | Benny Hinn, Bishop, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Thomas Weeks, Charlatans, Christianity, Creflo Dollar, E. Bernard Jordan, Faith Healer, False Doctrine, False Prophets, False Teachers, Food for Thought, Frederick Price, God, Hermeneutics, Immorality, Joel Osteen, Juanita Bynum, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Kerney Thomas, Paul Crouch, Paula White, Prosperity Gospel, Pulpit Pimps, Quips, Religion, Robert Tilton, Rod Parsley, Salvation, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, Thomas Weeks, Truth, Word Network, Word of Faith | 5 Comments

I’ll Love You Forever. Right Now…*

A Married couple cannot “drift apart” if they are in the same boat!

                                                                                   Derrick L. Williams

*Or: “For Richer or For… WHAT?!?!”

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Celebrity, Commitment, Common Sense, Divorce, False Prophets, False Teachers, Food for Thought, Humor, Juanita Bynum, Life, Love, Marriage, Morality, Paula White, Pulpit Pimps, Quips, The Battle of The Sexes, Thomas Weeks | 5 Comments

Jesus Is Not The Result Of An Opinion Poll

Christianity is not right because I say so, any more than Niagra Falls is beautiful because of the mere opinion of the first person to see it.

He and I just adhered to the facts.

July 19, 2007 Posted by | Christianity, Common Sense, Food for Thought, God, Jesus, Logic, Religion, Truth | Leave a comment

Just a Thought… For the Country Folk

Just how big is a tick’s eye,

and why do we always try to put stuff in it?

July 17, 2007 Posted by | Food for Thought, Humor, Miscellany, Quips | Leave a comment