That NEW Adage

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

“Yesterday”, Today, FOREVER!

I hope this is not a long post…

I just got through watching a Toni Braxton video, and one line of her song, “Yesterday” stuck with me: “I just don’t love you no more…”

It’s as simple as that nowadays. I just ain’t feelin’ you, so, I’m out! Just like that. You come home from work, and she”just don’t love you no more,” so get your stuff, put it in a bag, and go sleep on your boy’s couch while we divvy up all the assets.

I believe she and her husband are seperated, but that is not the main point of this post. The point is, if the only thing a marriage has holding it together is whether one spouse STILL LOVES  the other, it is doomed! I can’t sanely live as a married man from day to day, year to year, if I am depending solely on that girl in the other room back there to continue loving me with her own resources.

There has to be another driving force. I, likewise, cannot say with confidence that I will not leave her or cheat on her if I am relying on my own feelings to be the glue. Kathy knows, and I know that while — yes — we do have enourmous affection and tremendous passion, and all the other touchy-feely stuff for each other, it is the unwavering unmoving, unchanging hand of God that gives us the assurance of “till death…”

Feelings change. That’s why when I see shows like “Entertainment Tonight” talk about how much “in lovvvve” a particular couple seem, I get the stirrings of rage that make me want to take all of them by the collective collar and counsel them on the real aspects of true love. People who base marriage on how they feeeel today should put the lawyers on speed dial. Don’t marry someone because you have passion alone for them. Marry because you will be committed to loving them more than you love yourself until you die! “Love” being an act and not a feeling.

If you don’t think you can do that — don’t.

If you believe that God will sustain you when your feelings wane, jump in with both feet! It is not an absence of lust that will keep you — or her — from cheating.Muscle maintenance  will not keep her chasing you around the room. (an EX-girlfriend saw my arms in short sleeves once, and said threateningly, “don’t loooose it…” *She gone!*)

I could say a lot more, but it’s 2:25 AM, I’m tired, and the baby is crying. And I love him. GET it?

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Christian Life, Christianity, Jesus, Love, Toni Braxton | 5 Comments

When God’s will and mine, serenely intertwine

I have three sisters. No brothers. ALWAYS wanted one.

My father, who was raised as an only child and found out at age 35 that he was adopted, had three sisters and no brothers. One of them had died when they were in high school.

That is a long, good story that Kathy insists I write down.

I have a cousin whom I first met back in the late eighties. He and his wife, Shelene, own a martial arts training studio in Pasadena, Ca. Were he alive now, he would be in his early sixties and would look maybe 38.

He made a profound impact on me from the first. When I did a series of  gigs out west back in ’92 (during L.A. riots), he came and got me and showed me the sights and introduced me to family who treated me like a visiting dignitary. I will NEVER forget that. A few years later, he did the same thing, taking me to Venice Beach, his studio, Rose Bowl stadium, and many other places. We almost hit Kareem Abdul Jabbar when he pulled out in front of us.

He was a multiple-degreed black belt martial artist in many different disciplines, and trained with Bruce Lee. He trained English Mastiffs and Rottweilers to respond to hand signals! Very impressive! And with all of this, he was the most mild-mannered, peaceful dude you’d ever seen!

He and Shelene met Kathy soon after we were married at a family reunion that I missed because I am known for not missing gigs. (I missed out on a lot of things because of that. I’m going to change.)

They swept her up and made her like one of their own! But Kathy has a personality that will do that to you…

A couple of years ago, they said he had cancer. But when I talked to him, he said everything was fine. Never thought I would never see him again.

His death hit me harder than anything I had ever felt. I have been blessed to have all my cousins, both parents, all but one uncle, and all of my aunts still here. My mother’s father died when I was a child. I was grown when my grandmothers died, but one was in her nineties and afflicted with Alzheimer’s, and the other… long, tough story.

I could not go to the funeral. It was in L.A., and I couldn’t afford a ticket, and I had to work. But really, I just couldn’t bear to see my cousin not alive when I still had so many things to learn from him. The funeral was broadcast online, and while Kathy watched it and said how beautiful it was, I couldn’t do it. I lay in the other room — in earshot — and cried so hard my head hurt. All day. Between bouts of vomiting because Max had gotten me sick when he threw up all over me three days earlier. (And I had to go to work.)

His name was Steve Hearring.

 

I don’t think anyone in this entire world loves my daddy as much as I do. And I know he’s flawed. Who isn’t? But, as with God, my cousin, and all my heroes, I admire strength and power. That’s why leopards, bulls and rhinos are my favorite animals. And my father epitomizes strength and power.

Despite the rough time I had growing up (which is a positive story in light of the way things turned out between us) I always sought his approval and respect. I heard the stories about the things he did as a boy and as a man, and I wished I could be as tough and as calm. Indulge me one story…

Back when he was in his twenties, as a high school coach, he and his team had an Away game against a heated rival. My mother, known for her tactlessness in awkward situations, was — according to her — talking some trash in the stands.

Apparently, one of the guys behind her took offense. Someone pointed him out and whispered to my mom that he had a gun and ill intentions toward her. When the game ended (Home team won), my mother made her way to the locker room with the guy following her through the crowd. When she got to the locker room and walked in sheepishly, my pop, who was mad about the team losing and in no mood for foolishness, asked her what she was doing there. She NEVER went back there.

Out of fear for the OTHER guy(!) she refused to say. He made her tell him. Mom pointed the guy out still lurking outside the locker room.

Daddy acted out for me what he did next: Ma had an umbrella — the kind with the point on the end. He, unarmed otherwise, took it from her and went to find the dude.

The thug had his right hand in his pants pocket and Pops figured he was holding the gun. He went up to the guy, grabbed a handful of wrist and pants (He almost sprained mine acting this out. Adrenaline…) so he couldn’t get the gun out!, shoved the umbrella deep up into the soft meat under the guy’s chin and proceeded to threaten his very life with well-chosen words that I can’t repeat! He held the guy until the cops got him, and there was indeed a gun in his pocket!

It was all so unbelievably smart and strong! Even with his finger practically lifting me from the ground, I was smiling HARD! “That’s MY Daddy!” I thought! “Did I inherit any of those guts?” My daddy was like a cross between 007 and Jim Brown!

I’ve got a bunch of those stories — all true — and he won’t even tell me any more. He is so understated and modest about it all, saying that he was just crazy.

He was the biggest, the strongest, the toughest, the bravest, and the fastest, according to those who grew up with him. Yet he stressed reading and learning with my sisters and me. As did my mother. He took pride in figuring things out, he loves brain teasers and The Discovery Channel.  He got up every day and went to work, sometimes spending too much time working his players. They would have basketball practice at 5 AM before school AND after school. But he single-handedly turned them from chronic losers to winners.

He never called in sick, he taught me how to use wrenches and how to box. He taught me stuff that I don’t have the heart to do unless my life is threatened. He made me do push-ups, lift weights, run track, and fight when scared.

He hated, I’m sure, when I focused more on model cars and cartoons and being in the band than trying out for teams, but he loves it now. He was hard! Hard as steel.  Scared me to DEATH!! But he changed.

He learned and I learned. And from the first time I knew what it meant, I always said that I wanted to name my son not after ME, but after him! His name is Horace.

My wife had a very bad time as a child with her father. She says he wasn’t really one at all. From the moment she met my parents, she loved them to death. She raves about how great her in-laws are. But she loves my daddy to the point that I sometimes feel that I have not a wife, but a fourth sister as it relates to him. She sees him as HER father, and is not ashamed to tell it.

 

I love Diana more than my life. But when Kathy got pregnant this current time, I prayed hard for it to be a son. I never had that brother I longed for, and I wanted Max to have someone with whom to stand back-to-back in this sickening world. I wanted him to have that thing that brotherhood means.

I wanted Diana to have two boys to keep the fools at bay! I wanted to be a little bit like Jacob with all those sons.

And I wanted to give my father that legacy. I wanted his name to continue.  Since he was adopted, he was the only Williams. And until I got married and had Max, it was looking pretty bleak for the team! But God apparently said otherwise…

Now we can be sure that there will be more Williamses.

My sisters all named their kids after their maternal grandfather — which is cool! But what about my daddy?

And Kathy, having loved Steve so much for the same reasons I did, saw this as an opportunity to honor what she described as two honorable and strong men. She has already said that the new baby has the pressure of keeping that great name clean!

Two weeks ago, in a dark room, God granted our sweated prayers! We are having a boy. And it means so much more than just having somebody to throw to and wrestle with and teach about girls and smoothness and heartbreak and fidelity (although it is all of that, too!). It means that God actually DOES know me, and LIKE me, and that He does actually act in my life. He is faithful and true!

And if this minor thing is real, I shudder at the thought that He DID create the universe and that He meant — means — all that stuff in the Bible! He is not an illusion or a figment. He is my friend. In every profound way. I am undone.

With that, we await the healthy arrival of Steven Horace Williams!

I’ve got so much to tell him!

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Babies, Baby Names, Birth, Childhood, Children, Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, Faith, Fatherhood, Fathers and Sons, God, Heroes, Jesus, Kids, Parenthood, Parents | 2 Comments

Yes, God is my Father, but He’s also my Big Brother

Back in May, I bought a new horn, remember? I posted a picture of it…

It came with some problems that I shoved to the back of my mind — not wanting to disappoint my wife, and not wanting to think that all the waiting was in vain.

It was made in Taiwan, which until recently had been known for making substandard quality saxophones. I did over a year of research on this particular brand and came to the conclusion that Taiwan was the new Japan in the sense that where they once had a bad reputation, they now were becoming leaders in the industry with brands such as P. Mauriat competing favorably with the big brands, Selmer, Keilwerth, Yamaha, and Yanagisawa — the BIG 4.

So, I contacted the “owner,” the guy who’s name is stamped on the bell of the horn, and placed an order. The main selling points were that these horns were of pro quality but two or three  thousand dollars less than what a comparable one would cost, and that I would have one-on-one contact and consultation with the main guy. You can’t expect that from Selmer!

The one I ordered was their newest model, a copper horn which was about a thousand dollars more than the ones I had been researching. It was way more than I had prepared to spend, but it was so unique… There was something about having something that no one else has.

I received an e-mail from the owner’s “partner” confirming my order. He told me that the demand for this new model was more than expected, and that I would have to wait at least a month. I ended up waiting almost four.

In May I finally got it! When I opened it, there were some problems… It had been damaged in shipping, and one of the key guards was bent. There was a lot of room for the horn to move inside the case, and it had obviously been bumped around.

I guess there was a look on my face, because as soon as I opened the box, Kathy asked me with anticipation, “So, you LIKE it?!?”

“Yeah,” I said, but there was something in the back of my mind…

The brace that holds the body of the horn to the bow was bent as well, and off track. I assumed this was all due to the shipping.

I got out my tuner to see if the horn played in tune, and it did from the lowest note until I got up to the palm keys (I realize that I am speaking in esoteric terms, but you’ll get the gist), where the Eb and E were waaaay sharp! This was disconcerting, but I attributed it to my not having a new tenor in eighteen years.

And there was a problem with the way the left-hand palm keys fit my hand. One key was too high, and another too low, making it hard for me to move with speed.

I got the horn set up by a technician who called it, “a beautiful lookin‘ little horn” disdainfully. I sneered at him and just wrote his opinion off to not recognizing the name. He fixed most of the damage and lightened up some of the springs, quickening the action a bit. But the ergonomics were basically unalterable.

Long story less long, I contacted the “owner” and his “partner” about the problems (and some others I haven’t mentioned here), and was told basically to keep them appraised. Not the first-hand customer service I expected, but I wasn’t eager to have to box up and ship the horn back and wait months more for it to return.

So I played the horn — which sounds a lot better than my well-run old Selmer — in good spirits ignoring that fading ringing in the back of my mind.

I had been steadily checking the internet for reviews of this horn by other players, when after work one night, I was reading and discovered that the two guys from whom I bought the horn had split!!! The owner was continuing to sell horns out of his home as usual, but under different names. The partner was now in the saxophone business on his own.

Not only that, but I found out that the split was over the very model horn I have!

It turns out that the horn was NOT made in Taiwan, but in CHINA! They are known industry-wide for making junk horns in pink and blue and red and orange that play way out of tune and are basically thrown together.

I did NOT spend all my money for a Chinese saxophone! Shoot, I had JUST grown accustomed to the idea of a Taiwanese one! All those nagging fears had been justified.

I e-mailed the owner in New York, and went to tell my wife what had happened. It was after 4 AM Wednesday.

The next morning, he called me. Now, this guy is not a shill. He has almost thirty years in the business making mouthpieces for well known heavyweights.

What he told me shocked me. He said that I did not buy the horn from HIM! That I bought it from the other guy, and that I should contact him if I wanted my money back, but good luck, “cause he still owes ME money!”

I was groggy from sleep, and did not say the things I would have said had I been fully coherent.

I e-mailed the other guy (I don’t really want to name names based on how this all played out) in Austin Texas(!) and asked what the process was for getting a refund since the horn was basically misrepresented.

HE responded that two months was too long for a refund, but that he would be willing to pay for any repairs. He vouched for the quality of the horn.

Now fully awake, I called New York and got into an only somewhat heated back-and-forth. I told him first how sorry I was that his reputation was being damaged and that this must be awful for him, but that to ME this was world-shaking because it was all the money I had, and that I make my living with my horn.

 He seemed to wash his hands of the matter, telling me repeatedly — as though ANYONE would see it — that I did NOT buy the horn from HIM, that I bought it from the other guy!! I threw every logical point at him: “YOUR name is on the horn! I ordered it from YOUR website with YOUR name on it! YOU advertised that these were YOUR products, and YOU stood behind them. I contacted YOU about buying a horn! He was YOUR partner (He was not my partner! He was just my distributor!) He worked on YOUR behalf…!”

He deflected every argument. “So, I’m basically screwed, hunh? I gave you guys my hard earned money for one thing, I got another, and I’m just screwed?”

“No, no, you’re not screwed. I’m gonna make it right for ya.” in his New York brogue. “All ya gotta do is contact the Attorney General of your state, blahblahblah, blast ‘im on the internet, blahblahblah and when I get proof that you’ve done everything you could, then I’ll see what I can do. Butcha didn’ buy the horn from ME, blahblah…”

I was a ball of stress! I felt awful. But through the whole thing, there was a calmness in me. As angry and stressed as I was, I said to God, “YOU gotta work this out for me, ‘cuz I can’t!” And I didn’t fly off the handle and start cussing folks out like many thought I should.

I had to play it cool withthese guys because they had my money and they were spread out all over the country. I had NO leverage. One wrong word from me, and they could just hang up the phone and act as though I never existed. I couldn’t make unreasonable threats and demands because I — as my father says — had my arm in a lion’s mouth!

I posted the bones of the case on a popular saxophone forum. Nothing slanderous and derogatory. By that night, I got a note from the ex-partner (the owner HAD publically called him that) suggesting that we try to come to a reasonable conclusion… maybe I could swap this horn with one of the ACTUAL Taiwanese models (which cost LESS money).

We talked on the phone, the ex-partner and I, for over twenty minutes the next day. He told me what he had in stock, the properties of the horn, and about all the controversy. He gave me a different perspective, of couse, from the one of the owner. Both of them were angry at each other, and I just happened to be the dude that bought th first horn in this new batch and got entangled on this mess.

He was extremely helpful, attentive, and apologetic. This was the kind of customer service I expected from the owner and NEVER got. It was Thursday.

By MONDAY I had the other horn. IMG_2089

It was GREAT! Undamaged, and in a cool case that allowed for no movement. And it played almost by itself! Big, booming sound, perfect ergonomics, and in tune all the way up. Just a great horn!

This was what I wanted all along.

All that was left was to work out the amount of money for the other horn. There was about a $700 difference in price, and the thought of that last pending battle gave me just the slightest anxiety. “God, work it out.”

Two days ago, I sent an e-mail to Texas, saying compactly, “I LOVE this horn! What is the next move from here?”

This was his reply:

I have been trying to think about what would be appropriate and fair to you regarding the situation you got caught up in.  

 I continue to believe the MAC 20 is also a great horn.  It is different but still a terrific horn.  I know you have had your MAC 20 adjusted and that you have it setup for you etc.

Derrick, I think in view of all you were put through that you should just keep both horns. The MAC 8 is my gift to you.  All I ask is that you be fair with your assessment with both horns on any reviews you may wish to write.  I am not asking that you say anything you don’t believe in your heart and if you really feel the MAC 20 is not a good horn you should simply state your reasons.  I respect whatever your opinion is good or bad.  

Blown away was I!! He went from “No refund,” to “just keep both horns!!!”

I never thought it would work out this well. At best , I thought I would have to make an even swap. At worst, I thought I would just have to come to love a horn I only liked. My wife would have felt forever that we got beat.

I can’t express the emotion that I felt as I read that e-mail. Not that I get to keep these two pretty things, these material items — but that through seemingly insurmountable circumstances, God pushed me out of my way and fought the unseen bully into submission.

He made me keep my cool, showed me the moves to make — the perfect balance of firmness and compassion — and he worked it all out.

Some may say that the guy in Texas only made a smart business move. I agree it was smart to treat a customer right.

Some may say that he only let me keep the horn because he wouldn’t be able to get rid of it. But I say that were that the case, why send me another one? The horn is in better shape now than when it was new, and he could have sold it as new, or taken a few dollars off it and gotten a LOT more than the difference in price between it and the one he sent me. But he let me have both.

GOD did this. And there is no remaining doubt in my mind that He really does fight for me. He really is concerned about the ins and outs of my daily life. He really does intercede.

I never had a brother. I had to fight my battles and learn all the hard knocks myself. But in God, I HAVE that Brother. In fact, He has ALWAYS been there… Like the time when that gang of boys surrounded me at the bus stop and had a three inch long pin a millimeter from my eyeball. I had to smooth talk my way out of that close call, and the LORD was in my ear telling me what to say.

He has always told me when to fight, and when to get out of the way and fight the bullies who were too big to engage.

Closer than a brother.

August 7, 2009 Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, God, Jesus, Music, Music Business, Near Misses, Saxophone, The Nature of God, Work, Writing | 2 Comments

Who’s God IS God? (or do they work by committee?)

A couple of days ago, on facebook (of all places), I became involved in a discussion on a hypothetical scenario:  If a Non-Christian saves 3 children from a burning building and dies…And a Christian saves 3 children from a burning building and dies…Who has the most favor from God the Christian or Non-Christian??

I was greatly distressed — but not surprised (is this possible?) — by the responses.

I don’t expect most people to be Christians. But it is sobering to see how unsaved so many of us are. And how unconcerned they seem to be at the fact.

These were black folk, and most of them seemed to filter their views through the screen of their race. That is, their pro-blackness seemed to take precedence over who God may or may not be.

The responses were relativistic and pluralistic. And, of course, the Christian POV was lambasted. We were called arrogant and short-sighted.

There were a couple who told the hard truth — No Jesus, no Heaven — but most of them put the emphasis on the goodness of the deed and judged that they BOTH should go to Heaven.

I said:

“I’m glad God is not like us, judging on personal merit, or else no matter HOW many good deeds I did, the stuff I did wrong would overwhelmingly condemn me!”
I naively thought that that was a debate-ending argument. I leaned back with pride and read and RE-read what I wrote. I usually try to formulate those kinds, but I constantly forget that most people don’t debate by the Marquis of Queensbury rules!
They went on, saying things like, “Who’s to say that Christians have a monopoly on what is the right way? I believe in Jesus, but who am I to be so arrogant to think that my belief is the only way to ‘The Creator’? Religion is what separates us and causes problems. I’m not bashing Christians– I grew up in the Baptist church — (So! If I grew up in a can would that make me sardines?!?), but who wrote that book? Was Jesus a Christian? There are people who have no religion at all who are more Christian that most Christians I know?”
 
I said: One thing I can’t STAND is arrogance! So that’s not me. But in matters like this, I try to say what GOD says, so when He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” I say, “Okay,” and get on board! If a dude can lay His life down and pick it up again, I tend to believe what He says.
God may not label us as WE label ourselves,
but He has this book called “The Lamb’s Book of Life” in which HIS are written. He sent His Son to save us, and if we reject Him, we get to spend eternity just as in life — separated from Him — according to our OWN will.
The end of it all for me is this: We all leave our fates in the hands of an Infinitely fair Judge! He will deal squarely with us all… even those in the remotest corners of the Earth (whom we seem to mention only during debates like these). I trust that He will judge us based on the degree of light and revelation we have through Him. All of us on FACEBOOK have heard the name “Jesus” and know what Salvation means.
 
I thought that was pretty good. But they just totally ignored what I said and continued with the idea that good deeds should be the measure of eternal life.
 
I guess I knew that that would be the way it would go, but I just wanted to leave no one with the idea that they had never heard the Gospel.
 
The guy who brought up the whole subject basically told me that I was narrow-minded and had my nose stuck in a book somebody wrote and corrupted, and that I pretty much bought whatever the preacher said on Sundays. He thanked me for being reasonable and told me that I needed to get out more and think more critically.
 
This was, to me, an hiLARious mischaracterization of who I am! No one scrutinizes what preachers say more than I! But as I told them:
Thanks, man! It is ALWAYS good to be reasonable! (I DO look at more than just what I hear on Sundays. Christianity is waaaay more than just a Sunday worldview! Plus, I have to try to understand where others are coming from and not be myopic. But at some point, a person has to reach a conclusion. Based on study and information. Nothing wrong with that.)
I don’t know… This kind of thing bothers me. It is the main reason why I write this blog. I hate to see people NOT GET IT!!! What seems so obvious to me is foolishness to those who are perishing, and I  just want them to see the logic and seamlessness of God’s methods as it relates to soteriology.
And I rail against racism largely because young, progressive black folk take the hypocrisy,evils, and mistreatment of our national history — and present — and cast Christianity out with the dirty bathwater. They assume — erroneously — that the White Man’s God (born in Africa!) must be bad because His messenger is bad.
We got work to do!

August 6, 2009 Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Race, Racism, Religion, Salvation | 6 Comments

“Oh, How I Love Jesus…”

“…because He first loved me?”

Well, that’s how the song goes, but I was asking myself why I love Him, and I don’t think that that was why.

I’ve never seen Him face to face. I’ve never heard His voice.

Why do we love anyone? Because of how they look? For their personality? Are they cute or fine, strong or confident, vulnerable or expressive, smart or cool?

I think I loved my parents for the same reasons my kids love me: because I am there to provide them the attention and care and affection and provision and correction and comfort they need. I am there every day, unchanging, no matter what. My parents did the hard things without giving up, and would still readily die for me. Check one for Jesus!

I loved my wife because I saw her heart and her coolness, and I wanted to just be around her all the time. Check two.

I loved my children because they share my particular nature. Check three for the Lord.

I loved my uncles because they were so cool! They knew the right things to say at the right times. They were capable and competent and had muscles. Girls liked them. Check four! (Look at how many women there are in the church…)

I loved my friends — the REAL few — because they were down for me. No matter what I did, they would not abandon me. They put up with my immaturity and selfishness, and corrected it. Check five.

I became a Michael Jordan fan because he was flawless at what he did. He was singularly focused and mastered his occupation. Likewise, my admiration for certain musicians and public figures usually stems from the same root. Six.

I love my family because, to them, I am special. To them, I am who I think I am, that person the world ignores. They listen to me, they ask my advice, and they let me flourish. That’s a round, complete seven for Jesus.

Jesus is all of that and more.  I don’t care about how cute He is. He provides for me — even though I selfishly take the credit, He is never too busy to listen to me vent, and He died — DIED — for me!

Who cannot, upon seeing the heart of Jesus, come to love Him? He is selfless, giving, and attentive.

He was completely God, but completely man as well. He is in me, and I am in Him.

You can say what you want, but there is no Rat Packer, Bruce Lee, or Nat King Cole cooler than Jesus! Never rattled, quick-witted, and never at a loss for word or action. When His enemies tried to corner Him with sly words, He wriggled out with Truth. When they tried to stone Him, He simply slipped away. When Lazarus was dying, He did not panic or even skip a beat. And though He sweated, He didn’t let ’em see it. I just want to hang around Him.

He is a true friend, telling us when we’re wrong, but telling us how to fix it. He doesn’t water down a Truth to spare our feelings, but He will go through a wall for us. He gives loyalty and expects it.

He came to Earth for a singular reason. He had the hardest job in existence and finished it with NO help from any of us! The whole plan was executed with more synchronicity than all the 007, Indiana Jones and Danny Ocean plots put together and exponentially multiplied. Every contingency was accounted for with not a single hitch! SMOOTH!

We are the crown jewel of God’s work, and are worth — to Him —  all the pain and torment of a task such as this, yet it was done without hesitation before we even came to be. And awaiting us on the other side of this vaporous life is an eternity in which we will blossom to full gloriousness forever.

Who cannot love someONE who embodies every positive attribute such as this?

THAT’S why I love Jesus.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, God, Jesus, Love | 12 Comments

New Adage

Life is just a bad neighborhood I have to go through to get home.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Adage, Advice, Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, God, Jesus, Wisdom, Words, Words of Wisdom | 9 Comments

Merry Christmas

No profound or erudite or smartly worded phrase can embrace the so seemingly mundane birth of a poor baby to poor parents so many incalculable days ago.

No gift given to child or friend can equal the present wrapped in human flesh and blood.

No act of kindness one to another is as sublime as that of a willing shameful death on a tree that others might live.

No forgiveness of great transgressions says as much as one man’s act of substitution.

But to try is to admit that we know, in some small way, that this day, this time, is much more than we are able to signify.

Thanks, Jesus. I love You so much, but if I loved You with every ounce of my being, it would not be enough to exchange for the gift of kindness, forgiveness, and love You showed us all with one excruciating, blessed act.

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Christ, Christianity, Christmas, Faith, God, Jesus | 4 Comments

The Devil You Know

Last week, while Christians were lamenting the loss of the Lord’s party and portending the end of the world because a pagan black Muslim OBVIOUSLY managed to circumvent the will God by being elected president, a far greater slaughter was being perpetrated on those who sought to find salvation.

Ravenous wolves were feasting on the poor of pocket and of knowledge via satellite in front of the ENTIRE world! And Christians did nothing. They sent up no hue and cry. They shed no tear. They kicked no dog. They tossed no popcorn. They cried no foul. They mourned no loss.

Rather than trust in the sovereignty of God and even for a moment consider the source of the joy, they cried, “God must be dead!” Rather than speak for those unable, they turned the channel on the carnage and let it go on unseen.

TBN was broadcasting their periodic “Praise-a-Thon.” (I call it the “Preys-a-Thon”) I am often asked why I watch this trash. I do it because it is like having the devil’s walkie-talkie. I do it for the same reason the feds bug mafia phones.

The most valuable thing we own is not our 401k, our homes, our economic stability, or our very lives! The most precious thing we own is our soul. And with souls dangling over the abyss, Christians cry and launch invidious invectives while these heartless hyenas prey on the desperation of those who have been taught to do church the wrong way for years.

They wrench passages out of context and hit the undiscerning over the head with the wrench.

Evangelicals claim to love God and thereby, His people. Especially the unborn. How noble. The unborn have one advantage over those who in ceaseless waves place their own butts into the gaping mouths of roaring lions: The unborn are not in danger of the flame.

While Godly people were crying in their chai tea about an OBAMA(!) having the gall to get elected, these “mend” and “womend” of God were sinking their fangs deeper into the souls of the seeking. Preying on greed and ignorance. And no one raised a finger to stop it.

You know why they are pimps? Benny Hinn, Paula White, T D Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Steve Munsey, Rod Parsley, Eddie Long, the Crouch’s, and the rest? Let me tell you who may not know one of the things a pimp does; A pimp pushes the envelope. He will say to himself, “I’m gonna see just how far I can go with this female… I’m gonna tell her to do the craziest, nastiest thing I can think of (hear me, R. Kelly?), and if she does it, I GOT HER MIND! And once I get that mind, thass IT! I can get anything I want! I can get her to do whatever to get money and give it to me. I’m the baddest pimp out there, an’ I’m gonna prove it by buildin’ up the biggest stable out there!”  I know guys who have done this! (I’ve been to college. YOU know it’s true!) I have seen and heard withering things.

A pimp has an ego that is never filled.

I have seen it. I have heard preachers brag to each other about how they “preached ’em under the pews!” They brag about who has the biggest congregation, the most cars, and yes, the most women.

Listen to this;

And this;

This stuff is the equivalent of a guy telling a girl, “Let me (perform all manner of perversion on your body — I cleaned it up).”

I guarantee you these guys were backstage afterward comparing (biceps). They were bragging,“Man did you see how those phones lit up when I quoted Matthew to ’em? They eat that stuff up! I’m telling you, the more predictions you make, the more they love it! At the end if I told ’em that at the ascension, Jesus turned into a crow and flew to the moon to build timeshares, they would have knocked each other down to sign up! They want MONEY, baby, money!! And it takes “money” to get money! My congregation gave me a Rolls Royce Phantom when I told ’em the Trinity was nine people and Adam could fly!”

Pimps! Pimpin’ h&es an’ slammin’ Catlack doe’s*

And rather than fight THAT fight and save SOULS, evangelicals were crying and expressing fear (and bigotry) because their candidate lost. God  lost. Do you know how many evil kings ruled over Israel? My goodness! Sunday, five days after the election, my pastor in an effort to quell growing despair and disrespect, quoted 1 Peter, 2: 13, which basically commands us to respect the authorities placed in charge. I was not allowed even twenty-four hours to enjoy the fact that this country had taken such a great step. It was like wrecking a new car as soon as I drove it off the lot. Regardless who you voted for the fact that America grew to this point deserved more from the Christian Right, who is already tagged with the label of not caring for minorities.

We need to get our priorities in line and do something about those who do ETERNAL harm. GET THIS TRASH OFF TV!!

 

*doors

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, Benny Hinn, Charlatans, Christianity, Creflo Dollar, Elections, Evangelicals, Evangelism, False Doctrine, False Prophets, False Teachers, Jesus, John McCain, Paul Crouch, Paula White, Politics, Praise-a-thon, Pro-Life, Pulpit Pimps, Race, Religion, Religious Right, Rod Parsley, Steve Munsey, TBN, Televangelists, Word of Faith | 50 Comments

Man of Steal

Kenneth Copeland,

Creflo Dollar,

Mike Murdock,

Benny Hinn:

Used to be that thieves wore masks and did their dirt in the dark. Nowadays, they do it in shiny suits, and on satellite teevee before God and millions!

I had tears of laughter in my left eye, and tears of sadness in my right watching this clip…

“Seeds” are not dollars, folks. “Seeds” are DEEDS. Don’t try to buy God.

Don’t let these guys with their “Aw, shucks,” cracker barrel twang, or their Philly cream cheese voices lie to you AND steal from you! You may not be able to stop one, but you can certainly stop them from doing both!

Steve Munsey:

September 10, 2008 Posted by | Benny Hinn, Charlatans, Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, Creflo Dollar, False Doctrine, False Prophets, False Teachers, God, Jesus, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Murdock, Pulpit Pimps, Religion, Steve Munsey, TBN, Televangelists, Word of Faith | 8 Comments

O’Reilly and Darwin — of Like Mind*

The conservative ideal of self-reliance is, oddly, out of line with the Christian idea of helping those less fortunate and IN line with the evolutionary tenet of the survival of the fittest!

Bill O’Reilly himself said, with derision, that being a liberal means using government programs to “level the playing field.” WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT?!?  Who doesn’t want a level playing field? And why not?

This is the definition of a paradox.

God said for us to cast our cares on HIM. He said that HE would make straight that which was crooked.

The Israelites out of Egypt received the ultimate affirmative action! They were allowed to pillage the government and take whatever they wanted! For 400 years of oppression and horror they got more than a level playing field. God Himself was their constant defense and provision. He had to MAKE Pharaoh do what he had consistently shown he would never do on his own.

How about this; Jesus, the King of Kings, (Isaiah, 9:6) embodied affirmative action for us all! We who were lost at the starting gate (Adam), and losing the race from that day till Zero A.D. were allowed to catch up because of a Supernatural quota system that took a “Chosen People” and moved them to the front of the line of eternity.

We elect, who are just as wretched as anyone else, will be separated from those who have ephemerally reveled in the wealth of excess and given that which we did not toil to get. All based on the recognition that without a Hand UP  we could never, ever get what we should have had because sin would never of its own will give up its advantage.

This is the thing that makes me part ways with the conservative movement. The other stuff is cool, but a person who claims to be “Evangelical” yet ignores the obvious fact that some people have had the path swept clear for them while other people don’t even have a butter knife to clear the jungle obscuring theirs leaves me skeptical.

Hey, I’m just saying… Since the Religious Right, Evangelicals, seem to be in a three-legged race with the Republican Party… It looks like there is a whole half of the Christian message that has been overlooked.

And don’t blast me with a bunch of racist stuff! I just noticed the fact because I saw it in the actual BIBLE!

 

*No, I am not a liberal.

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Affirmative Action, Bill O'Reilly, Christian Life, Christianity, Civil Rights, Conservatives, God, Hypocrisy, Jesus, Justification, Racism, Republicans, Sean Hannity | 17 Comments

Pastor Peas

We have had, in this recent torrid election season, prime reasons why we should not vote for a person because of what faith they claim.

The Religious Right (I really think that, to them, the “RIGHT” is more than a compass point but a perspective. I don’t like it) hold so much sway in politics these days in terms of getting people elected and furthering certain agendas that now every public official has to have a personal pan pastor on his arm like a prom date in order to win, and put at ease, that sizeable body.

“He must be a good person! He parts his hair on the left side, he wears a blue suit and a red tie, and Jerry Falwell likes him!”

Maybe we ARE sheep!

John McCain, after losing his last presidential bid, was known to have cussed out that evangelical body. They didn’t offer him their ring to be kissed, and he felt they cost him.

So, this time, he was running around (like Jim Valvano after winning the NCAA champeenship looking for somebody to hug) trying to get what HE thought were powerful, influential pastors to use as cufflinks and flag pins.

Just to show how unaware McCain is, he chose two of the most theological off-base, Word of Faith, Prosperity purveyors out there!

Rod Parsley is one of the biggest names in the pulpit pimp stables. He raises money for TBN regularly, telling folk that, basically, sending money to TBN will activate the will, blessings, and power of God on their behalf. Basic “Give to Get.”

I saw this tactical shift of his a couple of years ago to issues of abortion and gay rights (two of my own sticking points) and I realized that he was aiming to do just what he has done; get aligned with this powerful constituency. He began writing patriotic books on winning back America and such, and to the untrained eye, he looked to be just as orthodox as Dobson or Stanley or the late Adrian Rogers. His doctrine, however, is still as foul as it ever was. McCain seemed to miss that. No. What made HIM jump ship was that Parsley made negative comments about Islam. That made him sever his ties. As if it is the responsibility of a “Christian” pastor to uphold the tenets — equally– of Christianity and Islam. Or any other faith, for that matter… I have friends who are Muslim, and I dare not water down the Truth of Christianity for the sake of harmony. I respect them, but do not have to believe what they believe, any more than they believe what I believe!

Then there’s John Hagee! This man is cut from the same cloth as the others — Copeland, Hagin, Creflo, Hinn– but he comes across simply as a “fire and brimstone Texas preacher.” What McCain didn’t know, or perhaps care to know, was that Hagee has said that the Jews came to Jesus to be the Messiah to them, and that Jesus “flatly refused!” WOW! He is known to be one of these guys who interprets the Bible with a newspaper. He predicts, with every new disaster, that that is a further sign of the Apocalypse, and that each new dictator on the scene was spoken of in Revelation. Never mind the huge pile of unfulfilled prophecies behind the curtain on the stage…

It is his belief (along with many other evangelicals) that the desire of God is for the current generation of Jews (were these people of Russian and Polish and German descent the SAME people spoken of in the Bible??? Just wondering) is going to suffer His wrath for the Jews who rejected Him two centuries ago. Hagee — and just about every other American Christian church — thinks that the Jews are to be herded back to Israel in order for the events in Revelation, Daniel, Thessalonians, and other parts of Scripture to happen. I believe it is called “Zionism.”

So, he is a “friend” of the Jews. He seems to make his living from that starting point. It is all he talks about. What he doesn’t say, though, is that these biblical events, in his understanding, mean that two thirds of the returning Jews are to be killed after all the Christians are “raptured” away, a la the “Left Behind” series of books, by Tim LaHaye.

Wonder if they would consider him a friend if they knew that…? Hagee, it seems, believes that the Jews can be saved without acknowledging Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Many Christians today believe this, it seems. This is another subject for another time. I am still studying on it.

He has also regularly appeared on the TBN telethons raising money to support a lie.

It would seem that McCain, who champions campaign finance reform and honest fundraising, would have stayed away from these two men just based on the fact that they have been involved in fleecing the weak in the most egregious type of fundraising there is!

Okay, then there is Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

There is an incendiary preacher here in Memphis, Bill Adkins, who preaches and conducts church in what appears to be the same way Wright did. Liberation Theology. They preach from an Afro-centric perspective rather than a Christo-centric one, it appears. They wear the dashikis and the kufis and lament the ills and injustices of black American life with a little bit of Jesus and the way of salvation and holiness sprinkled on the top.

Listen, to be honest, a lot of the emotion with which they speak, the mistreatment and alienation, echo in my spirit as well. I understand the idea of seeing America from the point of view of an abused step-child who loves the parent but calls him out on the realities of the relationship. But I don’t ever let that supersede my faith! In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free…!

The irony here is that Bill Adkins, the aforementioned pastor, used to be the associate pastor at my old church. He was there when I was a kid. He was over the vacation bible school program, and upon preaching the Gospel and explaining what salvation meant, I — a fourteen-year-old boy– stood up to be saved and baptized, and I made my sisters get up and come, too! In front of all those other kids! In other words, he led me to Christ, along with my family members. I looked up to him and sat under his teaching, but I don’t agree with some of the things he has said in his pulpit. Hmmm…

While a lot of what these guys preach have a secular truth to it, while in the speeches of MLK a lot of the same tones are touched, their theology can sometimes alienate rather than unify. While I may shout, “amen” to acknowledging the injustices, I have to be careful to remember that if I don’t forgive my brother, God said that He won’t forgive me! While I am an activist at heart, wanting to right the wrongs of The Man against mine, I must — if my faith is real — realize that God let’s nothing slide! He will get the revenge that I sinfully want to mete out.

But to be honest, my educated guess is that Obama, wanting to be in a position to do some good in the black Chicago community, wanting to be relevant to black folk who can sometimes be rough to folk who are not just like them, went to this church back then because it fit his criteria. This pastor had influence and charisma, and it was probably to Obama’s benefit to link himself to this inner-city black church. He probably wasn’t going to bible study on Wednesday night! He, as any other politician, was surely not sitting at church every Sunday!

The Mayor here is a member of my old church, and he was there maybe once every two months! 

It sounds opportunistic, yes, but I submit that all politicians are opportunists at heart. I have, over the years, seen dozens of people, white AND black, running for judge or mayor or congress or senate or the school board or sheriff or roach killer or night manager come to my church to beg for a vote only to leave right after they finish talking! 

Hillary didn’t need a pastor. Her church is Feminism, and they are their own gods. 🙂

If these candy dates were truly well-versed in the faith that they claim, they would NOT be in support of killing an unborn baby, or denying real help to those who can’t help, or sanctioning the wedding of two dudes, or racist policies, or teaching evolution, or  any other Democratic or Republican tenet that violates the way of God. Their Faith would inform and influence their decisions in a tangible, visible way. Both parties have Spiritual dealbreakers in their core principles. Jesus is neither Democrat nor Republican. Christians in the Bible pooled all the resources and doled them out as needed! (Hear that, bootstrappers?) But Jesus ain’t a Communist, either! I will vote, but I won’t vote based on who the Christian is. Otherwise, I’d vote for my pastor!

How can Christians be effective no matter which group is in control? That is the question.

My feeling is that we cannot look to any politician or party to be the governmental conduit through which our faith changes the world. These latest “pastor problems” highlight that fact.

 

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Abortion, Barack Obama, Benny Hinn, Christ, Christianity, Church Life, Current Events, Democrats, Elections, False Prophets, False Teachers, Hillary Clinton, Jesus, John Hagee, John McCain, Kenneth Copeland, Liberals, Prosperity Gospel, Pulpit Pimps, Religious Right, Republicans, TBN, Zionism | 4 Comments

How Beautiful, How Sad

How beautiful, how sad
The stark dichotomy
How grand, how Galahad
The thought occurred to me.
How does a man react
When told this solemn tale?
The hardest heart is cracked
The strongest legs will fail.

A Man devotes His life,
His every waking thought
To them that hold the knife,
And those that know Him not.
He knelt that we might live
Instructions were complete
“Receiving is to give.”
“Refrain from all deceit.”

He lived without a mark
No sin to stain His Name
Yet, His eyes braved the dark,
For us He took the blame.
Without His sacrifice
We’d all embrace the flame
And miss sweet Paradise
While burdened under shame.

What man of you would give
When faultless thought and deed
Your life that sinners live
To meet a glaring need?

So I accept the gift
In grace and in relief
For shoring up the rift,
But cannot dodge the grief
When thinking of the hate,
Of clenching teeth and fists
Of bruised and bleeding pate,
Of spikes through feet and wrists.

This necessary wrong
Has fire allied with ice.
I weep, yet all along
My thanks cannot suffice.

So beautiful, so sad
The circumstance, the cost.
But for He woolen-clad
We ALL are hopeless lost!

        1996 Derrick L. Williams

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Christ, Christianity, Crucifixion, Easter, Jesus, Poetry, Religion, The Passion, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

God is the Fireman

God is the fireman.

We just put the ladder against the wall.

In other words, we don’t save anyone, not even ourselves. God does.

What we do is provide the tools — the hands and feet. 

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Adage, Christianity, Eternal Security, Faith, God, Jesus, Metaphor, Proverbs, Redemption, Salvation | Leave a comment

A Mighty Rushing Wind Saved My Ceiling

This is about God, not the people involved.

There is a line from one of my favorite movies, “The Count of Monte Cristo”, that often pops into my head when I think of how the Lord always looks after me: “Once again, God sees you out the corner of His eye!”

We’ve had some crazy weather these last couple weeks. One day, it’ll be sunny and warm, and the next day will be sub-freezing. About a week and a half ago, the wind was blowing high, breaking branches, causing accidents, and blowing down a large portion of the six-foot wooden fence in my back yard.

I didn’t even know it until my neighbor, Keith, told Kathy when she was coming in from work three days ago. I haven’t been back there much since Max got here, and it is quite a bit more neglected than is the front yard.

I asked my friend and church member, Tim (who, by the way, is the reason I blog at all) to come and look at it when he got the chance. He is in the process of putting up a fence of his own at his house, and I figured he would know how to do more than just nail it back up, which is what I was going to do. He came today.

While I was looking at the fence, which Keith said he would take care of, Tim noticed water leaking from the soffit (haha! Soffit! I know this word because I was on track to becoming an architect before I got bit by the starving artist bug!), the overhanging part of the roof.

“Hey, Derrick, let’s take a look at this…” he said, pointing to all that water dripping from somewhere inside my attic on this sunny, cloudless day. This could NOT be good. I stiffened my upper lip and set my jaw for the financial disaster dripping like sulfuric acid from my roof, or attic.

“Is your water heater in your attic?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered weakly, trying to hide the dread I was suddenly feeling. “What genius thought to do THAT?”

I mean, yeah, you save space, but there can’t be that much security in having forty gallons of boiling hot water two feet above your head!

Okay, Kathy and I own our little three-bedroom house. That is, the BANK owns it, and lets us live here as long as we pay the mortgage (Fixed-rate. Really low interest rate. That’s another whole story…). There is no way that any two other people who make as little as we do, and who are as deep in debt as we are, could live where and how we live! She is a tech-support/customer service rep for a cellphone company, and I play music “from time to time.” Yet we do it. We have two cars — one of which we bought new two years ago — and we have never missed a payment. This is what God does. Kathy has two loaves of bread, and I have  couple of fish, and God stretches it to an unbelievable degree! Plus we are almost the parents of two children! We have no business being as blessed as we are! It is amazing to watch how He, in Indiana Jonesian fashion, brings us through one near-miss after another. It is incredibly faith-building!

We had AHS appliance insurance, but I cancelled it after we paid a 500-some dollar yearly payment and our dishwasher began leaking and we called them and they came out (for a $50 DEDUCTIBLE!!!) and ran the washer through three rinse cycles and told me that the problem was soap suds from diswashing liquid and left!!! Heck, with my payment plus the deductible, I bought a dishwasher and a washing machine! All for the guy to tell me to use different soap! Insurance is a racket! But what can you do?

Anyway, Tim got out his drill, unscrewed the grate from the soffit, and found that the water was coming from a pipe in the attic, probably the runoff from the overflow pan. Me with no appliance insurance. My game of “Chicken” was about to come to a head! I was 911’ing the Lord as we took the death march into the house and up to the attic.

I tried to display some inner faith: “Whatever happens, the Lord will work it out. I won’t really worry…”

We get up to the attic, and sure enough, there is about an inch of water in the overflow pan. There is a stream of water running down the side of the water heater, and after some inspection, Tim sees that the cold water pipe on the top of the heater is squirting out a thin stream.

He turns off the line, removes the hose, and shows it to me. As we are loading into the car on the way to Home Depot, he says in that cool Texas drawl, “Man, the Lord shooore does look after YOU!” The hose looked to be moments from bursting and spewing water all over the attic!

“Yeah,” I said, “I couldn’t possibly be an atheist, as many times as He’s pulled me through!” The replacement pipe cost $4.89.

Had that windstorm not blown down my fence, and had my neighbor not just happened to see Kathy coming into the house, and had not Tim agreed to come and take a look at it, and had I not gone with him into the back yard (which I rarely do) and had he not been looking around and had he not noticed that leak, there is no telling what would have happened, and how much money it would have taken to fix it.

THAT is how God works through events and through people to work His magic. Yes, bad things often happen. People get hurt and they sometimes die. But because I have seen how He works, my faith (not my WORD of Faith!) is increased. Driving a new car inspires confidence, but nowhere near the confidence that God will see me through soundly to my destination. God always sees me out the corner of His eye.

February 3, 2008 Posted by | Christian Life, Christianity, Church Life, Faith, God, Jesus, Life | 4 Comments

Good Deeds ain’t Fireproof!

The problem many, if not most, people have in their conception of the Christian worldview is that of the Fall, and the way of Salvation. People think that they MUST do something! All other worthy accomplishments require some work on our part.

To pass a test, we must study.

To make the team, we must work out and practice.

To get the job, we must pad the resume!

Just kidding.

Yet, to be saved, we must only allow God… This goes against our method of operation. Surely we must do SOMETHING. Trim the hedges, armor-all the tires, make the bed, rinse the dishes… something.

This is what makes Christianity so foolish to the unregenerate.

It makes no sense, as some Muslims say, that one Person can pay for the sins of another person.

Oprah Winfrey, by most accounts, is a good person by human standards.

She gives away cars.

She gives houses to poor people.

She provides college scholarships to deserving youth.

She builds schools.

She informs us about health, weight, and interior decorating.

She has, by all indications, a beautiful heart.

But the universe, which she claims is god, is NOT God. The universe is scientifically shown to have had a beginning, which requires that it is subject to its Beginner. The universe has no personality. IT does not get angry. It does not THINK. It does not experience joy or pleasure. It only exists. Like a tree, or a river.

Oprah says that she does not need Jesus to get to heaven, because her good DEEDS will get her in. She says that there are milllllions of ways of getting to what YOU call God, and that there can’t POSSIBLY be only one way! She said it with such surety and conviction, too! (So, at that statement, we now have Jesus, that “good guy” they all tout, telling a HUGE lie! He is well known to have said that HE is the only way.)

Jesus is the God of the universe. Like it or not, just as, like it or not, George Bush is President. We accept other things with which we don’t agree — gas prices, death, ’80’s music, insurance (a racket!), “The Flavor of LOVE”!, line dances

Jesus is not just a cool guy walking around in dusty sandals, talking softly, with birds fluttering around at His shoulders. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is badder than Leroy Brown, even! He says that good works don’t save us. They don’t even help with the burden.

Jesus bore the FULL weight by Himself on the cross.

Oprah or Farrakhan or Richard Gere or Joseph T. Blow do Jesus no favors by claiming that He was a prophet, or a good and wise man who came with a message of peace and looove. Ahhhhh!

No one gets to the Father but through Him. As He truly is. God.

We didn’t just fall down on the ground from a standing position. We fell, and have been falling, from the infinite height of perfection, gaining momentum from Adam till this instance. There is nothing to hang onto, nothing to break the fall. Nothing between us and the Dragon’s mouth. We have no parachute. We cannot reach up and grab the ledge, for there IS no ledge. There is only God.

Do you realize how long an arm He must have in order to catch something that has been falling for millenia?

But this is the beauty –and the truth — of it. A man-made religion would not leave man’s works out of the equation! I mean, if Christians were going to fabricate a religion, we certainly would not invent one where we don’t get at least some of the credit, some of the glory. God gets it all. “Jesus paid it ALL.”

So all the school-building, and advocating, and car-giving, and donating, and photo-opping count for NOTHING apart from a relationship with Jesus. Sorry. Not my rules. Yours either.

Without Jesus, all you are doing is sweeping a dirt floor. Dusting a mud hut.

Our good deeds don’t get us through the door, they only furnish the room.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Atonement, Christianity, God, Good Works, Jesus, Justification, Oprah Winfrey, Salvation | 5 Comments

Juanita: The Transparent TeleVANDAList.

You ever had a feeling about someone, an inkling, an undelineated indication that you can’t specifically identify? I know you have. We all have from time to time. I have had this feeling on numerous occasions, and have been wrong a couple of times. However, I have been right a LOT.

 The person about whom I have this feeling currently is Juanita Bynum, the -self-proclaimed, self-fulfilled (pun)- prophetess. This feeling does not stem from my bitter aversion to her abuse of doctrine, or of her OBVIOUS prostitution of the Word and name of the Lord for her own personal accruement of wealth. (No, I am NOT jealous of her! No more than I would be jealous to usurp the position of anyone who would dare put a millstone around his own neck in the enterprise of misleading baby Christians!) No, this is not about her abominable doctrine.

I’ve heard her screeching at the top of her shrill voice countless prophecies that did not come to pass.  I’ve heard her say some of the most inappropriate, titillating things on the altar of the Lord that appear to be only for shock value. The shrieks of her mostly female audience prove my point. To her proponents, she is only being “real.” She intimidates those in her presence in a quite masculine manner. I’ve heard her demanding folk to empty their bank accounts and send them in. I’ve heard her speak of having “intercourse in the spirit(!)” with a male televandalist, and heard her justify this statement by saying “you have to have a male and a female” to do this! I’ve heard of her blessing out a woman in front of an entire assembly who DARED enter a thousand-dollar line with only fifty dollars! I have heard her torture the Scriptures in a more efficient fashion than an abattoir overseer!

I have heard all this and much more that I’ve forgotten, but her heresy is not my issue right now… When I hear her speak, I hear a profound arrogance. A pronounced self-importance! I get the sense when I hear her, that there’s no one in that room on her level. No one as important as she. The words she speaks seem to roll syruptitiously (my word) down her surgically reconstructed nose to the longing ears of her eager thrall.

I cannot STAND arrogance! How dare we seek to take credit from the Lord for any ability or blessing? Yes, one may claim to give God the glory, but their actions usually spell out the truth. She may claim humility, but she fairly drips with hubris.

I remember her relating a story one time recently where a niece of hers asked for a key to Bynum’s house. Bynum reproved her shrieking, “Naw, honey! I got MILLIONS in my house!” Her audience hummed approval; “Yeh, she DO! Umm-Hmm. Thass right, gurrl.” ARROGANCE. She often has her audience at the point where she can say just about any crazy thing without fear of reprisal. 

I come from a neighborhood where a lot of “worldly” guys lived. We had a pimp named “Percy” who lived down the street and always kept a yellow Cadillac and a woman with a rabbit fur coat on. Percy the Pimp!! The man next door did time for accessory to murder in the commission of an armed robbery. His son would lie and say, “He gone to the Army,” or, when we found out he was in prison, “He stole a lawn mower.”

There was a housing project in the neighborhood behind us, and when it was built, bikes mysteriously began coming up missing, and fences were erected in previously open yards. There were people who had a little, and people who had nothing, all living in the same neighborhood. We had police officers, teachers, like my parents, laborers, drunks, and hustlers, all there on Gainsville. There was a time when I was fairly gullible. I was quick to trust and believe the word of someone I thought my friend, because I thought the world was a nice place when I was five. I soon learned that if I were going to make it, I would have to be able to discern the truth from a lie. You see, a liar is not going to come straight out and say, “Okay, I’m gittin’ ret ta tell a lie, but ack like you believe me anyway*!” I had to get burned a few times before I figured out how to spot a liar. I had a guy in the second grade tell me that if I gave him my Hot Wheels ’68 Cougar, he had this machine at home that could turn it into a fancy CORVETTE! I’m STILL waiting on that car… You don’t have to have grown up on the streets to recognize a hustler when you see one, but it doesn’t hurt. (I saw Kobe’s arrogance WAY before he got into trouble!)

Watching Bynum on video doing an interview on her recent, alleged, beating at the hands of her Rook-I mean-Bishop husband left me with the sense that something was amiss. She was double-talking, contradicting earlier public statements in which she stated unequivocally that, “even if we KILL each other,” she would not leave her husband. Here, she emphatically pronounced the marriage over. She seemed the perfect victim: a few tears, an uncharacteristically calm, demure demeanor… All who know her story know that she is the dominant partner in the union. Just look at some of their photos.

 She has spent most of her on-air time since then touting her new destiny as the “Face of domestic abuse.” Not a scratch to be seen on that face. Now, I don’t expect her to come right out and say, “I’m gone ride this hoss till it DROP!” (that would be counter-productive) But something in her words and manner says just that! Growing up as I did makes me kind of recognize when someone is “Runnin’ Game,”** as we say.

I noticed that she said repeatedly, on the video, that she would not disparage Weeks, “As long as he is my husband.” (transparent statement) But I also heard her repeatedly refer to the occurrence as “a parking lot incident.” Over and over. I was reminded of Mark Antony’s clever speech in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” He claimed that he came not to praise Caesar, but to bury him, all the while subtly turning the crowd’s wrath on the men who murdered him while constantly repeating that they were “All, all honorable men.” I don’t know if the “Prophetess” ever read the play, but I recognized the strategy, and she employed it deftly!

I have seen the faces of beaten women, and they look just that. Beaten. Why do I have to pause here and say that any man who hits a woman is a punk? Of course that is the case. If he did it, HE needs to be medicated in the same way, so to speak. But I suggest that even if he just pushed her down, or tripped her, she can SAY that he did whatever to her, and will automatically be believed. I have seen it happen. Why were there no pictures of her face?

Why did she go after him when he chose to leave?

If you are going to fight in a parking lot, you’ll fight in a restaurant. If he was that angry, he would have done it inside. They are both public places.

The bellhop said THEY were fighting, not just that he was beating her.

She has used her platform as a motivational speaker (that’s all she really is) cleverly enough so that her legion of fans need nothing but her word that he did whatever she says he did in order to be convinced. She is so arrogant and prideful, that she, supposedly a minister, adamantly pronounces the marriage over- with NO adultery, the ONLY Biblical reason- and states that she would have to give 250% to her union in order to save it, while her ministry, her DESTINY, is more important, requiring only 190%! Does she not know that God says that you sin if you forsake marriage for ministry? Is it more important to be the the face of domestic violence than to lead souls to Living Water? Or, is it simply more lucrative?Does not Christ and the Gospel suffice? Should she not concentrate on proper exegesis and marital soundness? Should she not learn how to-Biblically- submit her pride and arrogance as a proper wife? 

Has she not made a cottage industry out of “teaching me how to love you,” and counselling couples and “ministering” to hurting women who need a good man? Should she and her husband already know how to navigate such waters as these? Don’t they know that God can fix anything? Are her “millions” more important than her standing before the God she claims to serve and obey?

I guess I write this because I know that she is about to milk this incident dry. At the expense of women who really have been brutally abused and murdered at the hands of their husbands and boyfriends. I am tired of her ubiquitous presence on “Christian” airwaves. I am sick of hucksters, pimps, and dream-sellers abusing those really in need, and unlearned. I am sick of the arrogance and pride with which they so boldly bilk the multitudes. It is just another business angle for her, and I’m frustrated because it is all so transparent.

There is just something about her demeanor and attitude that rubs me the opposite way. Something in that shrill, croaking voice that does not impress upon me the love of God… There appears to be a character chip missing from the programming. I don’t see that she truly respects people. Certainly not the ones whom she demands empty their bank accounts and such! There is refuge for her, I guess, in the fact that I’m not a prophet, not a mind-reader. But I know I’m right, and many of you feel it too. Is that what the Bible calls, “discernment?”

Maybe. However, I can’t stand arrogance in people. It’s okay if I esteem you, brother, as better than me, but humbug it if YOU esteem yourself so! How dare you, Rosie O’Donnell, or Trump (Paula White’s landlord), or T.O., or Bynum, or anypuffed-up “Apostle,” or “Bishop,” or any other phoney prideful prognosticator seek God’s prominence for yourself based on how much money, or power, or influence you have?! I don’t hate you, but according to I Cor. 5, specifically, verse eleven, I wouldn’t, don’t have to, even EAT with you, or anyone so haughty and disingenuous as to claim Jesus and be so obviously, repeatedly, out of His will. Get fixed up. Quickly.

Pride goeth before the fall, baby girl! Thass Proverbs 16:18! 

*”I am preparing to prevaricate. Conduct yourself as though you are benighted to this fact!”

**Being deceptive

September 9, 2007 Posted by | Bishop, Bishop Thomas Weeks, Character, Charlatans, Christianity, Commitment, Common Sense, Current Events, Divorce, Faith Healer, False Doctrine, False Prophets, False Teachers, God, Humor, Jesus, Juanita Bynum, Language, Marriage, Morality, Paula White, Personal Responsibility, Prophetess Juanita Bynum, Prosperity Gospel, Pulpit Pimps, Rationality, Religion, Respect, Sin, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, Thomas Weeks, Word of Faith | 6 Comments

The Passion of The Christ II: THIS time, It’s PERSONAL!!

I’ve got this great idea for a movie: This hero comes to save mankind and is wrongfully put to death. He goes to hell and engages in this epic three day battle with Satan, the ruler of hell. It is a war of unrivalled proportions, the hero wrestling the devil for his keys to death and hell emerges victorious with the keys clutched in his upraised hand!

One problem, though: that script has already been written by Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price, and their brand. While the Bible says that it wouldn’t take God three days to whup NObody, and that Jesus paid the whole debt ON the cross, the Word of Faith faithful feel the need to punch up God’s script with an extra action scene. ( The archangel Michael already beat the devil once!)

And another thing; Satan doesn’t rule hell! Hell is where he and his folk will be cast at the end of all things. If he were “in” hell, how was he “slithering” through the garden whispering in Eve’s ear? How was he in the presence of God debating Job’s trust or lack of trust? Why should we beware a roaring lion who lives in hell? How could he seek and devour us from there? He is not omnipresent! Revelation says that Satan was hurled to the EARTH with his angels. Even a little common sense and logic would shut these guys up.

And down.

These people kill me! Putting spinning, chrome rims on a Gullwing Mercedes! Gold-plating the Hope Diamond to make it shine! Putting rhinestones on an Armani suit! Putting wallpaper on the Sixteen Chapels! (I know!) Trying to shellac the Mona Lisa! (Personally, though, I don’t get her. She looks like Benny Franklin.)  The Atonement is a flawless fact as it is.

The Bible is a wonderfully woven tapestry.

Why try to make it better than God already did?

“It is finished.”

“Absent from the body, present with the Lord.”

“This day you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus’ work was done on the cross. Price says that ANY man could have died on the cross if that was all it took, that He had to go to hell to finish the work. Yeah, any PERFECT man! You know one? Another one?

Let’s study our bibles, folks, so we can shut these racketeers- I mean- raconteurs down.

August 27, 2007 Posted by | Atonement, Charlatans, Christianity, Common Sense, Creflo Dollar, False Prophets, False Teachers, Frederick Price, God, Hell, Hermeneutics, Humor, Jesus, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Logic, Pulpit Pimps, Redemption, Religion, Salvation, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, The Nature of God, Word of Faith | 2 Comments

Scrutiny Is Mutiny!

The following is a letter I wrote to the famous Word of Faith preacher, Creflo Dollar a few years ago. He is a prosperity preacher in the line of Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Clarence McClendon, Frederick K.C. Price, Rod Parsley, and many others. It was in response to a horrendously unbiblical doctrine he and his ilk espouse which suggests that mankind can and should aspire to Godhood. It also makes God submissive, in a way, to men in the “earth realm.”

 This appears to be a foundational tenet of the WOF movement, which is marked by a desire, not for God, but for the STUFF God has. Prosperity. Health. They also characterize “faith” as a substance one uses, through words, to accomplish one’s personal will. It is my opinion that they are charlatans, who have become rich at the expense of their uninformed followers. They populate the “Christian” airwaves to the point where they have become what many, if not most, mistakenly believe to be true Christianity. TBN, with their periodic “Praise-a-thons,” often feature the aforementioned “celeverends” along with other false prophets such as, Benny Hinn, Juanita Bynum, and Paul Crouch. We are often the butt of ridicule because of them. Rolling old women for their last dime! I am sick of it. We have to defend God in the face of this wanton materialism.I spent so much time complaining about this particular program, that one friend suggested that I do something about it, so I, having recorded the program (I still have it), wrote him, going line by line. The letter is, therefore, quite long and if you do read it, you have my gratitude. The crowning insult is that after having done all this work, sending this uncomplementary letter (14 handwritten pages!) via hardcopy AND email, What I received in return was a FORM LETTER THANKING ME FOR MY FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION AND ASKING FOR MY INFORMATION SO THAT I COULD MORE EASILY SEND MORE!!This guy cannot fear the God he claims to know! Thank you in advance for your time. Feel free to be outraged.

Dr. Creflo Dollar Worldchangers.orgI was recently watching your program (Developing Faith in the Anointing, the week of February 19-23) and I saw a number of things that disturbed me greatly. I was frustrated and dismayed at what I heard, and at the behest of a friend, was left with no option but to write you.

I am a Christian who takes seriously the exhortation of Jude to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jesus left us with a Gospel that was pure and in no need of our embellishment, and daily I see the outline of that Gospel fading and changing into something base and tainted.

It seems that the average “Christian” today has only a cursory knowledge of the belief system he lays claim to. Just enough to send him down that, wide path that leads to misery and teeth ground to powder! They glance sidelong at the light God put in us all, but instead of walking toward it, they head in the opposite direction toward the gospel of Earthly Pleasures.

Everywhere I turn, I seem to bump into someone who thinks that what Christianity is about is doing enough good deeds to go to heaven. And more and more, I run into amateur poets naming and claiming, believing and receiving, blabbing and grabbing, confessing and possessing ad nauseam! They treat the sovereign God of the universe as some sort of pinata to be smashed open and pillaged at their own will. They ignore the fact that God has never agreed to grant us ANYthing outside of His will. The Bible teaches us repeatedly that we are to ask of God those things that fall within HIS will, not ours. If I want a wife, and God says “no,” I cannot simply reach up and symbolically snatch it out of His hand! If I want a new job or a new car or a house, no amount of faith will give it to me unless God says so.

We are to wrap ourselves around the desires of the Lord, but instead you and an increasing number of others are teaching, in a transparent attempt to appeal to our basic human desire for material possessions and physical well-being, that God is a piece of string to be tied around our fingers. We with the wisdom of gum wrappers!! And when our prayers are not answered to our liking, you make us feel that our faith is lacking rather than noting that perhaps an all-knowing God knows what is best for us. Or that perhaps the “preacher” is not who he claims to be.

These and other of your teachings are disillusioning countless millions, and turning them from the true Gospel that has for us far, far more than our ephemeral satisfaction! “Store up for yourselves treasures in HEAVEN. . . .” “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. . . .” But bibles are left unread and multitudes leave their churches (if they even go at all) and God until next Sunday. They don’t study His word, and therefore, place themselves at the feet of whatever wolf wears the best sheep suit.

Our culture is hopelessly materialistic. We run ourselves ragged in pursuit of the sybaritic lifestyle Epicurus spoke of. We want as much money as we can get and all it can buy. We want offices on the top floor, personalized parking spots and license plates, mansions with views, fame, glory, and bodies free from pain.

And, seemingly, in response to this societal hue and cry, certain men of the cloth have created a god that answers all these demands. This god is not unlike the genie in the Arabian tale, only this one will grant an unlimited number of wishes. If you want a promotion, click your heels together! If you want your debt wiped out supernaturally–fold your arms and blink! If you want your cancer healed–wiggle your nose! If you want a loved one raised from the dead–say abracadabra! Presto! If you suffer in your life in any way, it is only because you don’t have enough Faith in the genie to invoke his power. He is at your beck and call, there to be bent and twisted to your will! Isn’t that wonderful?!

Where was he when Paul was suffering imprisonment, torture, and infirmity? Where was he when all those disciples–those who ate, slept, and walked with Jesus–were killed for believing in Him? Where was the genie when Christians in the early church days lived in the catacombs beneath Rome to escape persecution? Where was he when martyrs throughout the ages willingly gave their lives in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering? If only they had known, it could have all been avoided; the lions, the suffering, the misery, the beheading, the burning at the stake.

Instead, they held fast to a God that taught that to follow Him would bring suffering. This God says that in our weakness His strength takes center stage. This God says that, for many of us, a life of ease can bring forgetfulness and self-reliance. This God says that rather than laboring and hoping for corruptible material possessions, the true prize is unseen and unfathomed. This God says that in following Him, you forfeit your life for that which is greater. This God is not a respecter of men and cannot be bent to the will of any man. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not ours. Our genius is less than His foolishness. His love is for our souls, not our pocketbooks and our soft bellies.

My point is that so many Christians today are easily led and misled by what they see and what they want. They don’t know the whole truth, and so much of what is out there is–at a glance–just an unreasonable facsimile. We have so much blind faith in the man in the pulpit that–unlike the Bereans–we are subject to whatever he says without scrutiny (scrutiny is mutiny!). If the pastor says “ask and receive,” we believe it without exploring the CONTEXT that proper interpretation demands. If the pastor says “move mountains,” we don’t wonder why none of us has ever moved one. We just go along to get along–at the expense of proper exegesis and countless souls.

As I mentioned at the outset, your program bothered me to the point of response. While I possess no doctorates or ordinations, I consider myself a member of the priesthood of all believers. How could I watch problematic teaching go forth and not be moved to some kind of action? While you may or may not agree with the content of this letter (if I pray–in Faith–that your doctrine changes, will it?), the Bible speaks loudly enough. It is my desire that you take a look at your teachings and their potential harm to your followers.

At the beginning of your program, you stated that God has set in motion laws that He Himself can’t contravene. While this is partially true in the sense that two plus two will always be four, and that God, being Holy, cannot sin, your purpose for making this statement is an attempt to make the sovereign God of the universe subject to something or someone other than Himself. This is evidenced by your repeated and persistent use of such terms as “illegally,” and “no legal authority.” How appalling to suggest that the God who owns the earth and the fullness thereof, (Psalm 24:1) the God who does whatsoever He pleases (Psalm 115:3, 135:6), the God who dresses Job down unequivocally can be constrained by anything!

You say that God cannot do anything in this “earth realm” without a physical body, but you provide no biblical basis for the assertion. Remember that even if you were able to twist some verse from the Bible to support this far-fetched claim, context demands that it be reconciled with the overwhelming number of verses that proclaim God’s ultimate “authority!”  The God of all that is will not contradict Himself.

You say that Adam was created with blood type “G,” insinuating that he was some kind of  direct representation of God. As though when you looked at Adam, you saw God. You appear to take the fact that God gave Adam “dominion” to mean he (Adam) was in ultimate control. However, Adam was in dominion in the same sense that we “own” our bodies, and that we “own” our material possessions, and that the house I rent is mine. Once again, the context of the Bible as a whole makes this unmistakably clear. Rather than Jesus being the last Adam, you seem to view Adam as the first Jesus. Any baby Christian knows that Adam sinned, God cannot sin and therefore Adam can in no way be God. Besides, God Himself said that there is, was, and will be, only one God–big “G” or little “g.”

A little later on, you go to Matthew 5:1, where Jesus drives the demons from the man at Gerasa. The Bible says that the man, seeing Jesus and immediately knowing Him, ran up to Him and fell to his knees in the posture of genuflection, and begs the Lord not to torture him. By all indications, he appears to react to Jesus the way a subdued bully would his conqueror. Verse ten says that he “begged Jesus again and again.” He is in the presence of the Almighty God and knows it.

You, however, place the demons in the position of telling Jesus where He can and cannot be (to the amens of your flock), and what He can and cannot do, “You can’t touch me!” (Wagging his finger in Jesus’ face!) You say that where the demon was right was in the fact that God has no legal authority to be “on this planet if You don’t have a physical body.” You assert that God can’t operate in this “earth realm” since Adam supposedly gave God’s power to do so over to Satan when he sinned in the garden. Were this true, how does God destroy the earth by flood, or destroy Sodom and Gomorrah by fire, or cause the walls of Jericho to fall, or protect the Israelites with a pillar of fire, or part the Red Sea, or rain manna from the sky, or cause Balaam’s donkey to speak, or interact with Old Testament figures on dozens and dozens of occasions? This is an absurd assertion. Your scenario plays out like a novel, and a bad one, full of contradictions and loose ends!

I am led to believe, and I may be wrong, that the fact that you (and those of the same ilk) express the need for God to have a “physical body” in order to operate “on this planet” is some desire to elevate humanity to the level of some kind of deity. You would not be the first. Creation has been aspiring to the throne of God from the beginning. Satan told Eve that to eat of the forbidden fruit would make her like God. Satan himself was tossed out of heaven for that desire. The builders of the tower of Babel attempted to reach heaven. So you may be in well-known company.

You go to 1John 4:1-6, which illustrates that those who deny that Jesus Christ (God in human form) came in the flesh are false prophets. You use this passage to promulgate your theory that God needs a physical body to cast out demons. In your dramatization, you have demons with their hands on their hips sassing God, saying, “What in the world are you doing here, God? . . . I don’t have a physical body, and You don’t have a physical body. . . . You can’t fool me with that body on.”

Now, according to you, the demons are addressing Jesus (they called him “God”), but they say He doesn’t have a body. Then, in the same statement, you say He has a “body on.” This seems like jibber-jabber, but I’m just a layman. You seem to have my Lord and Master relegated to playing a cosmic game of  “Simon Sez.”

Next, you send Jesus to hell “illegally” to orchestrate a prison break. Jesus is like Richard Burton in “Where Eagles Dare,” dressed up as a German officer, or a damned soul sneaking around the dungeon unlocking cells and finally throwing off His disguise in triumph, to Satan’s horror. Trumpets blow a fanfare as Satan realizes he’s lost! Even though your god triumphs in his undercover cop role, your version of events is not biblical, and that is the point. The nature of God is the crux of this issue.

You say Jesus was in hell for three days and nights, but nowhere does the Bible advance this assertion. You use as confirmation Acts 2, saying “He suffered the pains of death.” Acts 2:24 actually says that “God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death. . . .” Obviously, this passage speaks of Jesus’ torture and suffering on the cross, and the manner in which He died, so your declaration that Jesus went to hell for our redemption needs, and will not find, further proof.

Jesus said “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.” When He breathed His last, He said “It is finished.” Was He just talking about His life? Or the work He came here to do? The context confirms the latter. He told the thief on the cross that “today” he would be with Jesus in paradise. When the Bible spoke of Jesus being in the heart of the earth for three days and nights, clearly it was speaking of the grave, not hell.

It seems to my uneducated ear, that when you say that Jesus was the “first born of many brethren,” you are implying that “since there is a first one . . . there’s got to be a second one . . . like Him and a third one . . . like Him ( and a) fourth one . . . like Him,” that you, a mere mortal man in no way deific, are “somewhere in the number” of beings like God. This worries me, and seeing the cheering thousands in your congregation, and the frequency with which you appear on the air, I would hate to think that this throng of humanity could be led to believe they could possess the attributes of divinity, as well as believe these other misconceptions of God’s nature.

“Did Jesus come to this earth functioning as God?” you ask. The Biblical answer is “yes,” but in perhaps the cleverest twist of the program, you say “no.” Here you walk your listeners through a mine field, deftly avoiding true facts that could blow your whole tale to oblivion. You say that He had to come as a man in order to be an example to a man. First of all, Jesus came to earth to be the perfect sacrifice, the sinless Lamb, not to show us how to walk on water, and raise the dead and to be perfect. Those things, along with His other miracles and proclamations served to prove He is God.

Of course, His humanity was an example to us–service, humility, love, self-control–but He came as God and said so! Jesus said “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and the Jews tried to stone Him, saying He claimed “to be God.” These people, well affiliated with Scripture knew what Jesus was saying. He said in John 8:58, that “before Abraham was born I am.” “I Am” is the name of God told to Moses in Exodus. Philippians 2:5-11 has Paul asserting Jesus’ deity. His deity is precisely the reason He was able to be sinless, despite what you say, otherwise we wouldn’t have needed Him, and somewhere else in history there would be evidence of perfect, sinless people.

It seems once again, in my crude thinking that this is a further attempt to snatch for yourself the attributes of God: the ability to do what He did, and to “develop your Faith to do any of the things you read about.” To those like me who would claim mere humanity, you say, waving your hands in praise, “I’m trying to tell you you ain’t just a man.” Dangerous.

Next, you move to James 1:13 in your first step in busting Jesus from His Supreme position to that of mere human. James 1:13: “God cannot be tempted by evil.” Question: Did Jesus come as God? (See where this is going?) You then go to Psalm 8:5 where David, in praise of God’s glory, says “You made Him a little lower than the angels.” While you say that the word “angels” in this verse is translated “Elohim,” there are a few definitions for this word, and the CONTEXT once again determines the meaning. (The cynic in me sees that in order to complete your scenario of Jesus being less than God, for however short a time, you must twist passages to make your case.) Man is created a little lower than angels, and Psalm 8 is speaking of man, based on verses 6 through 8. While “Elohim” does mean “God in Hebrew, it also can describe representatives of God, such as judges, and angels in this case.

The New Testament passages, Hebrews 2:7 and 2:9 use the Greek word, “Angelos” (It is very slick how you went to the Old Testament to get the word “Elohim!” Wasn’t the New Testament written in Greek?), meaning “angels.” (Notice the plurality of the word, while there is only one God) While the Psalms passage is speaking of man, the Hebrews passage is showing Jesus in His humanity. Since the Hebrews passage uses the word “angels,” the Bible, not contradicting itself, is clearly quoting the Psalms passage in a parallel comparison. Therefore, Jesus in Hebrews was made a little lower than the “Angelos” as was man in Psalms. He kept His deity (Philippians 2:5-11).

And what is that mish-mosh about birth certificate? You inquire of the devil, “Do you have a birth certificate?” And when he cannot produce one, you order him out of your house. Concerning the current practice of addressing the devil, many of today’s Christians could benefit greatly from reading Jude v. 8, and 2 Peter 2.

By the time you get to Hebrews 2:9 you have taken what thousands of years of biblical scholarship interpreted, and changed it in a matter of minutes! How proud you must be to have corrected such a glaring oversight. Now, men are “more than just men,” and Jesus is less than God!

How many of your followers go home and check for themselves–as we are instructed to do–to see if your new revelations are true?

Now, with the table set, since Jesus is apparently not God anymore (for a little while), you can have Him subject to the pressure of temptation. You have Satan presenting Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world. You say that it had all been turned over to him, which is false. Remember, the earth and everything in it belongs to God, according to Scripture. You say, “that’s exactly what Jesus came for,” and Satan says, ‘You bow down and worship me, I’ll give you everything back!’ “Don’t you think that was pressure on His flesh?!” you ask. First of all, Satan can’t give God what already belongs to Him! Secondly, Jesus didn’t come into the world and endure unimaginable suffering for stuff! Finally, was it pressure on His flesh? No! If it were, we’d still be in our sins waiting for someone better to come and save us.

You further attempt to demonstrate your point by illustrating an example where Jesus, when challenged by Satan that He turn stones into bread, reaches out to do it with His right hand and clamps His left hand over it to stop Himself. You are clearly saying that Jesus almost commits this act. You portray Jesus as almost taking Satan at his offer, which clearly contradicts Jesus’ own teaching that we sin even when we think of committing a sinful act. So, if Jesus mulls over the possibility of giving in to Satan’s temptation–for even a nanosecond–we are doomed. God cannot sin. (Were the “angels” who attended Jesus after his temptation in Matthew 4:11 “Elohim,” too? If so, do you have gods attending God?)

Many people mistakenly think that this “temptation” means that Jesus rubbed His chin, cocked His mouth to one side, rolled His eyes upward, and at the last second said “. . . Naw, no thanks.” This would violate the law of contradiction that a perfect God cannot break. What “temptation” means in this instance, is that Satan held a fresh, hot loaf of bread under Jesus’ nose, and the Saviour didn’t sniff. Jesus was made an offer–one that He didn’t consider accepting. If a moth threatens a Greyhound bus on the highway, does the bus even for an instant feel threatened? Context goes a long way toward eliminating apparent contradictions in the Bible.

If you haven’t torn this letter to pieces by now, God bless you (even if you have). A lot more could be said, but this is a letter, not a book. All that I am attempting to do in this undertaking is shed some light on some problematic issues. The body of Christ is plagued enough from without with heresies of many varieties. If we claim to be of Christ, our doctrine and teaching need to be evidence of that.

The vast majority of Christians seem to be as vulnerable to flawed theology as non-believers, and those called to teach should be careful when tampering with the unplowed field of naive, searching minds. Teachers are held to a stricter standard and are responsible for leading or misleading God’s children. I would hate to think that you are fully aware of this fact and purposely say such disturbing things.

The true Scriptures are infinitely more interesting, suspenseful, and dramatic than any story invented by our weak human brains. Those thousands and millions drawn to your church and your telecasts will be just as enthralled by the truth, and their souls will be eternally more advantaged.

“With gentleness and respect”

Derrick L. Williams

He still preaches this stuff to this very day. Just check YouTube.

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Atonement, Benny Hinn, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Christianity, Creflo Dollar, Faith, False Doctrine, False Profits, False Prophets, False Teachers, Frederick Price, God, Hell, Jesus, Joel Osteen, Juanita Bynum, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Paul Crouch, Praise-a-thon, Prosperity Gospel, Pulpit Pimps, Religion, Rod Parsley, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, The Nature of God, Word of Faith | 26 Comments

“What Building? All I See Is A Wall!” said the Ant

Let me get this straight: The farther we get away from an event, the LESS true it becomes? This is Bill Maher’s logic. That because somebody told somebody else that some guy named “Jesus” allegedly lived two thousand years ago, and allegedly rose from the dead (how ridiculous!), flew up to heaven, and told us that we also would eventually rise, too much time has passed, and we are too modern to believe such fairy tales. (when was the present ever past? all times were modern once) By this reasoning, what we say and do now will, in twenty more centuries, not have been said or done. Time doesn’t diminish truth! (Look at how revered Muhammad Ali is now. People hated him forty years ago for his stance on the war.) 

People like Maher call Christians arrogant for assuming that they know the Truth shown them by some MAN, but how much more arrogant is it for him to command God to personally show him the facts?! (He DID already) Besides, he believes just as firmly the truth of the position he promulgates as I do mine. Yet no one points this logical contradiction out to him. He calls Christians naive for denouncing evolution, but how much more naive is it for him to hold onto an invisible rope that believes everything came from nothing?! People like this use the Bible like anti-biotics; they take in just a little bit, thinking they’ve got enough, and before long, the ignorance causes calamity. We have to take the FULL dosage in order to be made whole.Standing in the front doorway of the Empire State Building will not give me an indication of its grandeur, but from a few blocks away, its fulness can be known more clearly. Likewise, moving farther away from the life of Jesus can give us a true perspective on His actual Godness.

Many of those seeing Him up close completely missed the big picture, thinking He was there to conquer the Romans in warfare, or that He was merely a troublemaker.

Time and distance show us who Jesus really was. We see a Church numbering into perhaps billions in spite of centuries of persecution and martyrdom. With the canonization of the entire Scripture, we see fulfilled prophecies and numerous healings and other miracles that point to His Godness. We have archaeological evidence and non-biblical testimony which verify the accuracy of the Bible, and the occurrences of miracles.

Maher cleverly “ridiculizes” the Christian faith by saying things such as, “Christians look up in the sky waiting for some MAAAGICAL man to fly down and scoop them up and flyyyy them through the solar system to a place called ‘Heaven.’ This invisible magic man in the sky wrote the Bible with his invisible hand, and taaaalks to them and tells them seeecrets and stuff.”

He didn’t say these exact words, but I’ve heard him say this kind of stuff many times. I actually think he is quite funny. Just misguided. And I DON’T mean that condescendingly.

The thing is, one could use that line to make anything seem stupid: ca. 1893. “There’s this guy who’s goin’ around sayin that in a hunnerd years, man’s gone be able da flyyyy through tha aaairrr in big giant metal macheeeens! He claims we’ll be able da clear fordy akers a’ land ‘thout horse nur MULE! He says that a fella’ll be able da stan’ in Neew Yo-werk Ciddy’n tawk inta this thang called a my-kro-phoam ‘n’ you c’n see ’em clear in Nevada on whatcha call a pitcher-box at da saaaame tiiiime! Heck, he ee’m reckons a man’ll WALK ON DA MOON! Have you ever heard such a load a’ puckey in yer LIFE?!”

The point is that those with a finite degree of understanding on a particular subject are well-served to understand that the human mind cannot contain infinite knowledge. What seems ridiculous is not necessarily so in the objective light of the facts. Sure, Mr. Maher, your jokes make me laugh. You are proof that it takes brains to be funny, but making a thing sound ridiculous does not necessarily make that thing a lie.

Who would’ve thought that a man could survive with a plastic heart? Who would’ve thought that a woman could be impregnated with sperm from a freezer?

And speaking of “ridiculous,” who, in the face of a mountain range of evidence, could still believe that we evolved from a single-celled organism, increasingly, stage by agonizing stage, realizing our limitations, and encoding the improvements to the next model, billions, quintillions of times, achieving the capacity for self-awareness, lust, and morality? When science tells us that things go in the OPPOSITE direction, from order to DISorder. How absuuurd! And who thinks of a fetus anymore as a “blob of GOO” as you put it?

Darwin can almost be excused for thinking such things, since he lived a century and a half ago, but not someone enlightened. You would rather believe in a racist theory with shaky – at best- evidence than to believe that an all-powerful being cannot exist without being seen. Heck, I exist, and Stevie Wonder can’t see ME! YOU have never seen me. I submit that EVERYTHING is the evidence of His being. Even the basic fact that you can think.

You say that you don’t know, one way or the other, but from the OTHER side of your mouth, you go about the business of trying to PROVE God’s nonexistence. What is the real truth?

The facts are out there but I fear that, like a President, you only listen to the ones that agree with your already made-up mind!

August 16, 2007 Posted by | Atheism, Bill Maher, Christianity, Common Sense, Current Events, evolution, Faith, God, Jesus, Logic, Miracles, Religion, The Bible, Truth | 1 Comment

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

A GODly ANTIHISTAMINE

My cousin has died. He was the big brother l always wanted, but never had.
It hurts awfully, but not as much as it did yesterday.
Tomorrow will be just a little easier.
What helps is the knowledge that he, being a believer, is gone from his body, but there with God.
The cold water to the face is the fact that each one of us will have to step up to the front of this life line and give our mortality back to our Maker.

Death is an ink stain on the fabric of life.
No matter how many times we scrub it, no matter how clean it looks,
the stain, the hurt, the fact, will never be completely gone.
And it is our own doing.

God, who cannot bear the company of sin, is like one of those bubble-kids without an immune system who cannot bear the presence of the merest germ. The environment must be completely pure.

The fact that one person at the dawn of time committed one seemingly insignificant internal transgression- no murder, no theft, no lie, no assault…- caused God such discomfort, if you will, that the ENTIRE creation suffered. Tornadoes, plane crashes, rapes, cancers, heart failures, carnivorous animal attacks. Arthritis, senators, torn cartilage, cross-burnings, job stress, cavities, chicken pox, murder. Hypothermia, abortion, divorce, perversion, K-cars, BEETS.
All because of one sin.

HE sneezed and the whole universe got the cold.

The thing is, though, that God Himself solved the problem. (This is the beauty of the Christian way that separates it from any other belief system. How can proclamation of this worldview be deemed arrogant? When no merely human hand can take credit?)
We have proven incapable of fixing it ourselves anyway. He clothed Himself in the very kind of flesh which was at the genesis of the issue.
He was, in Jesus, the antihistamine that mankind needed to stem the allergic reaction.

Look at it like this: Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for our crimes. He did the time, so to speak, for our contamination of God’s pure, sinless environment.
(And if you think you don’t deserve to be punished for what some guy may or may not have done thousands of years ago, you have committed enough transgressions of your own to suffice. Check your records!)

In doing so, He allowed us to be viewed by the Father through righteous-tinted lenses. We, still being wretched and depraved, are allowed access to fellowship on ACCOUNT of Jesus’ sinless life and work on the cross.

In the same sense, when l sneeze uncontrollably in early spring, l take some form of histamine blocker to assuage it. While l am still covered in pollen, l live as though free. This is Jesus! My allergies still exist, but l am assured of being able to go out into the world knowing that the Medicine is unfailingly, unceasingly effective.

July 5, 2007 Posted by | Death, God, Jesus, Salvation, Sin, The Fall, The Nature of God | Leave a comment

DADDY’S COAT

You cannot get into The Perfect Place with your own coat on.
There is an insignia missing from the chest that needs to be there in order to allow admittance.

Your FATHER’S coat, however, is perfect. It came to him at a high price, but it is yours for the asking. It may cause you some ridicule, for it is somewhat large and makes a bold statement. It is a LOUD shade of purple, with seven gold buttons, but it is the only cloak that will gain you entrance. It has the red patch that the doorman will recognize.

He won’t even look at your face, only the coat.
No matter what you say, you will not be able to get in on your own renown. It doesn’t matter how smooth you are, or how many people you call “friend.” It makes no difference how many people you were nice to. Your character won’t do it, nor will wearing a patch similar in appearance.
Your coat is a rag, your words are empty, your deeds are useless (however, you WILL get a good table once inside if you tell others about the coat).

Put on your Daddy’s coat .

June 30, 2007 Posted by | Christianity, Jesus, Metaphor, Redemption, Salvation | Leave a comment