Category Archives: Religion

Today’s Word is… SPAM

WHERE. IS. THE. FOUL?!?!


June 6, 1999.  The day I won’t forget (okay I googled it but still).  It was the Indiana Pacers versus the New York Knicks.  My mother, an Indiana native loved her Pacers, so in turn I loved them too like you would that cousin who is a little too old to be hanging with you but y’all still had to kick it when they came over. So the game is going to the wire, my mother is stressed, about a bunch of more important things, but this game wasnt helping.  I really wanted her to have this one, just for a night.  So, I prayed for the Pacers to pull it out.  Then the improbable happened…Larry Johnson, forward for the Knicks, goes up for the 3, drains it and gets called for the foul. (Ain’t no one even touch his ass) A four point play, the Knicks would win.  It was like God himself was like, “stop playing on my phone, B”.  I haven’t rooted for the Pacers since, even when they went the Finals that next year. (Sorry Ma).  
At that tender age of 9, I learned don’t be out here praying for silliness. (I’ve also spoken on my struggles with prayer more earnestly here).  Many people never got that lesson, every tense sporting event you see fans praying in the stands, for the result of a game that has little to no effect on their lives, except maybe that dude with the gambing addiction who probably bet his mortgage on the game…really sucks to be that guy.  However, even for him his prayers are probably going unanswered. Why? Because our God has other things to do, sports fan prayers are definitely going in His spam folder.  I would say His spam folder consists of:

– Aforementioned sports fans prayers

– R Kelly’s “U Saved Me” album

– Anything from Eddie Long (What, too soon?) or molester catholic priests

– Prayer for something bad to befall someone (besides, that’s what karma is for)

– His name said in vain during the throws of passion

– That time OJ Simpson thanked God like he didn’t kill 2 people

– Prayers for your cousin to get out of jail like he didn’t kill 2 people

– Prayers for something to happen to the teacher because your behind ain’t study

–  Prayers the test is negative even though you know she wasn’t cheating

– Writing “amen” on some Facebook post even though you have no idea if it’s true or not

– Prayers for Creflo Dollar to get his jet

–  Grace said with a mouth full of food (yeah I said it)

– This.

Prayer warrior gon’ pray


– Prayer for someone’s wickedness when everyone knows you just being shady, Sister Audrey 
– That ignant prayer from Baby Boy

That time Jay Z won the Grammy and said he wanted to thank God a little bit

– Whatever that shorty in Mary Mary said before she shot up that car

– Everything Pastor Ma$e said after he became Murda Ma$e again

– Those “thoughts and prayers” tweets from members of Congress after a mass shooting when they refuse to do anything about gun control

– Prayers for her to come back when you both know you ain’t changed

I mean every now and again you can slip one by, you made to work and back with your tank on E.  Maybe some sports fans did slip one by because the Cubs are defending champions. And now Trump is (their) President. See what happens? Stop playing on His phone, B.  

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… CHURCH

[Editor’s Note: a throwback…for context.  It’s funny looking at things you wrote years ago and seeing how much you’ve (not) changed…anyway…enjoy]

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So usually my Sundays go like this, I hop up out the bed; turn my swag on, feed Brady, go for a run, come back, shower, breakfast (you should eat before you work out…look I don’t need that now).  Over breakfast, I’ll check emails and messages, and when I check in with people, its usually the same…

“I’m about to go to church”

Or…

“I’m about to hop on this Madden”

It’s pretty much split between the gender lines, women are do it for the Christ, men ain’t gon do it.  I consider myself a God fearing man, I read the Bible occasionally, I’ve come a ways since I told you my struggles with faith well over a year ago.  Yet I still don’t make it to church, I mean I have my excuses

1. Hello i clearly said I ran in the morning, Jesus be a recovery.
2. I’m a Christian in a conservative catholic town, and if I go into the city on a Sunday morning its probably for my favorite Jazz brunch.
3. Fantasy football.

In this year of our lord 2014, They stream sermons, I know preachers with podcasts, my heathenism is inexcusable.  Nor is it for most men. Studies show 31% of men don’t attend church, like ever compared about 59% of women who attend at least one service a week or going by my contacts 87%.  They too probably have their reasons

1. Work
2. Don’t wanna be hypocrites (my favorite #cmonson excuse, the club full of hypocrites too)
3. They weren’t raised that way
4. Fantasy Football

But wait, none of those reasons are male centered, women work out, play fantasy football and lord do they love some brunch, so what makes them more able to go to church while men chill.  You’d think the large number of women would be enough to compel men to go, find God’s match for you (c) Christian Mingle.  I would say women are more likely to go to church because

1. More apt to submission (no hotep)…to Gods will
2. Safe community
3. Support system

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There’s a vulnerability to church that not a lot of men accept.  You work under someone’s else’s supervision all week, to pay other people.  To add to it you are to spend another day sacrificing your free time under yet another dominion.  You can’t not work, you can’t not pay your bills, skipping church, there’s no immediate consequence.  Religion breeds accountability that men and women both struggle with, men all the more stubborn.  Most of us start off in the church with our families, some of us go back with families of our own, its that middle period that most men just don’t bother.  However it’s perhaps the most important time.

Men lack camaderie and support in their 20s-30s.  We lack humility.  Not to say this can’t be found outside of church but its also somewhere to start.  I could lie and say I’ll be there Sunday (most likely I’ll be eating waffles and writing next weeks post…God ain’t thru with me yet…yes I’m going just use that copout after I wrote this whole post).  I will say the primary reason men aren’t in church is that men aren’t in church.  Too often the men we see in church are broken or exploitative and we don’t want to associate ourselves with either.  We rather cultivate our own relationship with God alone, where no one else can see.  And really, there’s nothing wrong with that.  It would be nice if everyone could convene and worship together but whether its in the tabernacle or at my kitchen table, the message is still being delivered.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… HEATHEN

[Editors Note: Yeah I know, religion….treading lightly tho]

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So boy meets girl, girl is nice, boy asks girl out, date is nice, girl suggests boy to come to her church, boy is like, sure, girl is like so see you Sunday? Boy is like umm, sure?  Boy spends a week on vacation with liquor fueled debauchery completely forgets about this agreement until waking up Sunday afternoon with a very upset girl.  Boy should apologize, make amends, but week filled with liquor fueled debauchery. Boy should be better, God ain’t thru with boy yet. 

Now, I luh God. Do you luh God? What’s wrong with you?  Ironically enough, I had attended a funeral recently and the sermon brought me peace about a few things and I thought, I need to find a church. (Then he went on a 15 minute tangent telling kids to get off his lawn and I thought, eh maybe somewhere I can attend monthly) Baby steps and all that.  So when I met girl (um lets just call her Mary), I represented myself as a man of faith, which I don’t think is necessarily deceitful.  I’m a God fearing man, just not a big church goer.  Mary’s invitation definitely caught me off guard, was this all just a recruiting pitch or maybe she just wanted me to share this part of her life if this was going to become a thing.  Her friends and  family would be there…I mean we had a few calls and lunch, maybe I did get a little shook.  However, it make me think about my dating history in general and how much religion plays a role, if at all.

With my ex, she was Catholic (same difference…but hey I’m no expert) I attended mass with her family, she attended church with mine.  (She did get me rosary beads…but again, same difference).  I’ve dated women who were agnostic but played the role at family functions…never an atheist (cuz the ones I know are fairly pretentious, no one cares about your fake deep Facebook statuses you sound like a single person on Valentine’s Day).  Other Christian women it was just what was understood needn’t be explained, some were churchgoers, I wasn’t there was never any pressure for me to, just some strong suggestion and open invitations.  (Oh and there was the super religious homophobic girl…I gotta find a reason to tell that story one day).  I guess there’s always been a separation of church and bae.  Mary was the first one who called my bluff, so to speak, and I folded. Was it too forward or is it I’m really not bout that life?

A few years ago I wrote about why I, and seemingly most men under 35 I know don’t attend church.  (Actually I think I’ll repost for context after this).  Even then I copped to the fact that my excuses weren’t really excuses and I could if I wanted to and still here I am, still not going.  I also don’t read enough, eat better and to bring this full circle, date women I claim I want. (Mary was a little TOO upset, so this will probably be the last time you hear of Mary).    So maybe I’m full of shit.  Or just lost. Pray for me.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… PRAY

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I’m not the most religious person as much as I’m spiritual.  I say prayers of gratitude, prayers for forgiveness, prayers for others, but seldom prayers for myself. Philippeans 2.3 says Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  I’ve been unemployed, I’ve been homeless, I’ve been depressed, yet and still I just don’t pray for myself.  And to be perfrctly honest, I don’t like to.

Maybe I don’t feel worthy? All the perils of the world, does He really need to bother with my life.  Perhaps its not that  I don’t feel worthy as much as I always feel I got this.  That He would never give me anything I can’t handle.  I would always joke God has a spam folder, filled with nonsensical prayers like passing a test, sports victories, R Kelly’s Gospel album and anything Eddie Long has to say.  I would think I’m inbox worthy, I just want health and satisfaction, that’s slight work.

Maybe I don’t like feeling smallPrayer is humbling.  Theres a cognitive dissonance in knowing that there is a power much greater than my own action and to my first point, feeling like “I got this”.  There’s also the fact its easier to pray for others because its easier to see themselves as needing it than looking in the mirror and accepting that you yourself need that same compassion. 

Maybe I don’t want to be disappointeda little over 5 years ago, I left my mother and prayed that she would recover.  She would pass the next morning and days later I would sit in a church and listen to how she’s somewhere far better than here.  Why pray for good health when this world is only temporary anyway (like literally 100 years tops, climate change is a myth tho)

In spite of this I don’t feel its selfish to pray for self.  We all need love, compassion, peace.  I had a discussion with a friend and she made the point that Spirituality starts with self – if you yourself cannot humble yourself to God, you cannot really help others in the truest sense. Having compassion for yourself allows you to extend compassion to others.  I’m blessed to be in a better position than others but that doesn’t exempt me from needing guidance and serenity that I hope for others.  So, maybe I should work on that.

#LettucePrey.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… FAITH

Perhaps the most personal/emo post I’ll ever write, but I must warn you:

I know religion is a touchy subject…apologies if I offend

My grandfather is an ordained minister, my grandmother was raised in the south with deep Christian roots, they raised my father to be a strong, God-fearing man.  My mother was also a devout Christian and she and my father raised us the same.  Over time, our church attending waned, to the point that I honestly don’t remember the last time I attended a church service (actually I do but it was so long ago it’s better to say I don’t remember).  My personal relationship with God is…different.  I believe in God, yet my faith isn’t what it was.  I feel my analytic side hinders my spiritual growth, I question, I doubt, yet I’m humble enough to know I do not fully understand.  I understand the purpose of church and religion, I respect its role especially in creating the moral fabric of a family.  However, I simply lack that connection that others have, I wish I could say I had a deep personal and spiritual connection with God but I do not.  I honestly envy those that do, I used to feel that way, what happened? We were so close before…

As a child I had a deep connection with God, I prayed every night, attended bible camps at the park, never even so much said a curse word.  It made me feel secure, no matter what happened I knew he was there.  Things got rocky, divorce, my older brother leaves with my father, who then proceeds to have two more sons, I’m suddenly the man of the house.  I told you before, about my growing identity crisis trying to balance being book smart and street smart, I’m more lost and confused as ever, but He was there.  I pushed through.

High school, rough but I made it through, the hood even rougher same results.  I’m an adult now and for the first time I’m introduced to debt,  I have no idea how to pay for school, take care of myself. Socially I’m losing friends and girlfriends I’m feeling dark feelings I never experienced before, I reach out to Him, I no longer feel that same security.  I feel more alone than ever, but I accept the adversity but things continue to pile on.  Forced to take a break from school, can’t find any employment, my mother is diagnosed with cancer, she can’t take care of me she needs someone to care for her.  I have to be the man again.  I need help, I need guidance, I reach out to Him, I no longer feel the security.  She passes, and now I feel anger towards him, I understand that everything happens for a reason but I struggle to find any justification.  Time passes, I try to re-establish relationship,  I pray, I read, it doesn’t feel the same.

So here I am.  I’m not as cynical as I may have been 2-3 years ago but I’m not as blindly secure as I once was.  I think in a way it’s what works for me, I look at someone like “Miss” who has an admirable personal relationship with enormous faith and that’s great, but then I look at others who never set foot in a church outside of a wedding/funeral and they have their own faith.  Even writing this post I feel much better about myself and my faith .  Maybe I’m simply too strong willed, inquisitive and emotional to ever have the connection “Miss” or other family members have? Maybe I still have have some work to do? He knows, I don’t, I guess that’s just his plan…or is it?

-Stan-

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