Saturday, March 24, 2007

Me and Myself - Honesty & Brutality & Changes

I live quite the mixed up life (or so it would seem) and let me do some literal garbage dumping of character. This is a good personal exercise and I do it for the reader's benefit - 'I just wanna know if I am pulling people closer' (Steve Taylor) - so one, two, three, get ready to 'stone' me...this is really who I am.

Why write any of this? Well, I want to be honest I have very little to hide. I actually prefer hanging out with 'the world' and having some drinks in their presence - and possibly be an encouraging word to a dis-couraging world (for some). I do not liberally break all the rules that I believe because I go out and meet with people who 'do not have faith' - actually had a great convo with an atheist last night, a chief's son, and discussed my grandfather (with my cousin).

I am friends with known drug fiends and 'gang-bangers', I am a family member to known criminals and drug addicts, I am a friend to people who mock my faith in God (yet I still care about them), I am a friend to people of the gay persuasion (even been to the gay bar handfuls of times), and I genuinely care about the plight of each person (rich, poor, race, sexual preference, ethics, etc - these things are just the 'way it is').

I do not check my ethics at the door either - if I drink I drink to my own damnation - so be assured of that. I don't get into physical altercations (but have broken up many), I have never cheated on my wife (yet opportunity isn't that hard to find), I do not back illogical ethics and support causes that are outright damnable by law (ex: drug selling or prostitution), I stick up for my friends and encourage them when they are down (some even to the point of depression), I reserve judgment and respect people for their stories and lives, I do not participate in gossip (yet I do hear a lot of it), I don't push any belief I have on anyone but I share when asked.

Sad fact, every murder in this city this year I either knew the murdered, knew one of the murderers, or had a family member involved in some way (ex: kid just murdered and my brother did the wake). I am not going into the most safe of situations (namely where gangs and drug dealers are). I don't care though - who else is going there and being any kind of encouragement whatsoever to those people? Maybe I am stupid (of this there is no doubt) but I care about 'my people and their plight'. Is there a better way to do this - probably - but these same people in fearful scenarios just might need someone to speak with or get things off their chest - and I hear some doozies (still never dis-respect confidentialites). And you know what - I feel good doing it - I feel good with our mutual respect one for another - I feel good about them and I let them know they are 'worth something' at least in my eyes - and I feel good for the honesty that a drunk can share (or spill from their inner core).

I'd rather be judged by you - than have lost their respect. I am a hypocrite to our most common beliefs - I am not saying I am generally a 'good person' - I am actually not all the good of person in a lot of more righteous people's eyes - and they just may be right (I don't doubt that). I swear, I joke very excessively about dirty issues, I have driven drunk before, I smoke, I drink (and don't mind being drunk) be the judge. Actually, if truth be told, I can be your neighbor or your cell-mate depending on how one wants to view me (I have a lot in common with the lowest common denominators in society - moreso than with the highest common held values in society -ex: I understand why kids join gangs or why someone might be violent - I don't quite understand the perspective of rich people and well to do families).

In case you don't know me that well - I also was a thief as a kid and in trouble with the law and came from a tough community and abusive life - none of which I think God forgets or forgot. I probably self-identify more with the song below than any Christian number I can name - But hey, 'thats just the way it is'.

"I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere unless we share with each other, We gotta start makin' changes learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers, and that's how it's supposed to be how can the Devil take a brother if he's close to me? I'd love to go back to when we played as kids but things changed, and that's the way it is"

"Take the evil out the people they'll be acting right' cause both black and white is smokin' crack tonight and only time we chill is when we kill each other it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other"

"But some things will never change try to show another way but you stayin' in the dope game, Now tell me what's a mother to do bein' real don't appeal to the brother in you, You gotta operate the easy way"I made a G today" But you made it in a sleazy way, sellin' crack to the kids. "I gotta get paid,"Well hey, well that's the way it is"

"And still I see no changes can't a brother get a little peace, It's war on the streets & the war in the Middle East. Instead of war on poverty they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me. And I ain't never did a crime I ain't have to do...But tell the cops they can't touch this, I don't trust this when they try to rush I bust this. That's the sound of my tool you say it ain't cool but my mama didn't raise no fool"

(Excerpts from Changes by 2Pac - I song I admire to the Nth degree)

Oh man, I said too much - or have I said enough?


dorsey said...

Sorry, man. My mom says I can't hang out with you anymore. : D

breakerslion said...

You remind me of someone I used to be.

I might have a little more perspective on the well-to-do. I grew up among them, but I was not of them. They reminded me of this at every opportunity. The children did, that is. The adults are a little less insecure. Understanding 4 out of 5 of them is as easy as understanding concepts like "entitlement" and "to the manor born". They exclude those not in their "class" because they are afraid of you. They can never be sure that you are not being friendly simply because you want something, or want to exploit their wealth. The fifth person is more of a Human Being.

jim said...

"I'd rather be judged by you - than have lost their respect." Man!... I can relate to that. Don't worry about me buddy, you're not freaking me out. In fact you've got me thinking more deeply about why Jesus loved hanging out with the people he did.

Grace and Peace

SocietyVs said...

Dorsey - I actually have read a few of your comments from various sites - are you sure comedy isn't something you shouldn't be trying out? I always find your humor very refreshing and gets a laugh out of me more often than not.

Breaker's - I am actually in the middle class as of now (thus I can afford a computer to do this discussion and stuff with other beings) and find myself in quite the cultural dilemma...most of my compadres are not - and this is something in their presence I dare not speak of. It's funny but I get this sense of being a 'sellout' if I go any further (ie: aquire more shit). I actually don't wanna stray from my 'impoverished' roots - I find solace in that presence - no demands, no corporate BS, no politics, no expectations - there is something refreshing in that air.

Jim, thanks for the support and the comment - you know - as misunderstood as you might come off to some - I see your sincerity and drive - I appreciate that on some level within me.

Sigmundson said...

Stone him! (Yelled in a Monty Pythonesque background and of course with a British accent)

I'll bet you wouldn't be in such a quandary if Wal-Mart didn't build in your neighborhood! And they probably have a Coke vending machine outside there too! ;-)

I think you know the Bible and yourself well enough to know how far you should and shouldn't let your language, jokes and drinking go. Just keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and I'm sure he'll continue building you up how he wants you to be.

Sigmundson said...

By the way, your testimony is encouraging.
I didn't want to leave room for you to think I was criticizing you in my last comment!

the_burning_bush said...

Jason, I find your anti-socially acceptable style to be exemplary. Keep in mind the behavior the world hates more than drug addiction and prostitution is righteous living and love for one's neighbor.

The crowd may pick up stones (though we are all but dust), but God is the one who judges and nothing escapes His sight.

As for the comments ...

I wish people would be able to find a way of not returning the snobbery of the rich with more snobbery. Even the poorest of the poor can be above coveting the rich, but I think that's what a lot of the criticism against them is.

My Garden said...

What happened? I suppose that was my reaction...I find that most write these types of blogs of honesty as a reaction to something that has happened in life...but that is my own observation...

Jim Jordan said...

I'm sure Jesus is saying "You're our boy!"
Have you started a website for your ministry yet?

Soul Food Dude said...

Hey Jason,

Thanks for sharing. It reminds me of how little I am. I appreciate your honesty.

I have a question regarding your previous post about the Mormon visit. You mentioned a question about a certain person (in the book of Mormon) who was told by God to chop off the head of another, which he did. And you asked the Mormons whether such a command could be given to them as well. This reminded me of Abraham's instruction to kill his own son, and how God only stopped him at the last second. Did you mean to ask the Mormons a question that could not be pointed toward Christians as well? Or is there a difference between the two stories that I do not know? I know that in one case, the murder actually occurred, and in the other it did not, but I feel pretty confident that Abraham did not expect to be stopped by God, and that he was faithfully obeying God's command in actually attempting to kill his son. So... could this be a request made upon any of us? Or are we less naive than Abraham about God? Is our faith more informed than Abraham's, to the extent that we can brush aside any worry that we might be asked to do something similar? This is a curious question for me.


SocietyVs said...

Sig, the comment was quite nice thanks dude!

BB, I get you point of view and I appreciate it - I think you had some words of gold to say in there.

My Garden, nothing happened I guess I felt I needed to just be 'me' for a while - beyond all this intellectual rambling.

Jim Jordan, Thanks for the comment. As for the website thing a ma doo, I never started a website for the Action Group (as of yet) - still waiting on more buy in for the idea (more or less). I run a group on MySpace for now where I post things that I 'hear about' - where we can get involved. But the idea of a website is a great idea that I haven't ruled out yet (but that costs money).

SocietyVs said...

"Did you mean to ask the Mormons a question that could not be pointed toward Christians as well?" (SFD)

I definitely agree - the question stands for all people of faith (of the Tanakh)...and I think we have to judge for ourselves on the issue or about God.

Funny thing about the use of Abraham in the Doctrines & Covenants though (132) - it's also used as an example of polygamy for Smith - Abraham's was considered 'righteous' because of this (or it was a part of it). One could make that same arguement based on Abe (who impregnated a concubine).

"Is our faith more informed than Abraham's, to the extent that we can brush aside any worry that we might be asked to do something similar? This is a curious question for me." (SFD)

I would say what is accounted to Abraham is 'righteousness via his faith'. The story is one of testing and nothing more - to determine the beliefs of the person - which is still a biblical principle (you are what you do). Had Abraham killed his son and not listened to God (the second time) - then he is a murderer - and the worst kind at that - sacrificing his son (to a God that asked him not to). I think it depends where we put the emphasis in that story.

I do not believe God will ask me to 'kill on his behalf' to be certain. I may want to kill for various reasons of justice (ex: wanting to kill someone that killed your family in cold blood) but justice isn't what is being asked of me via Jesus' teachings - quite the opposite - mercy. The law will deal with the law-breakers (which will not bring my family back) but mercy will deal with my heart, mind, will, and emotions...maybe I might even learn to forgive that horrible culprit. This is what I see in Jesus and the law and prophets hang upon these ideals 'loving my neighbor (even enemy) as I love myself'.

I think I only pose the question to get an honest response 'would God ask us to kill for him' (God problem) - as a gauge to a religion's view on ethics - knowing nothing about the Mormon view on this ideal myself. Mormons said 'no' - since this is contrary to their beliefs - I had a sigh of relief to say the least.

But in all honesty - even if the faith I follow now has it's trace roots in some of Abraham's decisions and life - again, I am not Jewish nor do I claim that. Peter, James, and John (even Paul) are Jewish and they claim some root in the Tanakh - I am not so facetious to think I have that same root. I am merely 'grafted in' as a later additon (being a Gentile and all) - how is that I should have to have answers for something Abraham did or didn't do? I follow Jesus (same thing Paul claims to the Gentiles and he never puts it on them to develop deep Jewish roots - ex: synagogue attendance, festivals, purification ceremonies, and circumcision (which is Abrahamic)). None of these things belong to me, I respect them, but they are not my traditions.

Anonymous said...

Someone I love very much says that what the world needs more of is instant death...and he repeats this phrase every time he hears of a child molester or some other horrible crime. This really isn't an unusual response as many seem to think the death penalty would solve a lot of problems. I can't disagree more. We don't need more instant death, we need more Life and I think that is where many of us Christians get off the narrow path when we start to see our faith in terms of morality rather than an issue of Life and Death. The transformation by the Life that is Jesus is so much more powerful than any reformation and no matter how hard we try to walk the moral straight and narrow, we are all still sinners being transformed by the Life we receive by our faith and it is refreshing to hear someone being honest about who they really are instead of pretending perfection. That doesn't mean that I think some of the things you do are good, I don't but you really aren't that different from any one else and neither are those who are in the world needing a shot of instant Life.

Anyway, it's good to know that I'm not the only one compelled to spill my guts.;-}


the_burning_bush said...

We tend to put as much distance between ourselves and the Abraham story, and yet we want to understand Abraham.

Kevin Beck said...

This makes you different from most people only in the fact that you own up to it.

We have a lot in common, so let's be friends.