The Loudmouth Protestant

July 29, 2008

Watching Out for Our Youth

Filed under: life — nickisym @ 9:58 pm
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About two weeks ago I attended a good friend’s birthday party. It was a BBQ being held in Ft. Greene Park on the less scenic side of the park–question, why is it that when people want to BBQ in the park, they make the BBQ-uable side the black side? Nevertheless, with less scenery comes the dregs of our society. 

It started out as a couple of suspect looking young men who smelled of weed. But as the sun set more suspect individuals started to pop up. I was seated on the wall having an excellent conversation with some of the BBQ guests when I noticed that the wall became infested with bugs. Young jitterbugs to be exact. The young male jitterbugs were taking Hennessey to the head, smoking weed and cursing profusely. The young female jitterbugs were strolling up and down the street in barely–yes I got it right–midriffs, short shorts and high heels. The young female jitterbug were buying “Nutcrackers” from a drink pusher who stationed his cart in the middle of the walkway. The pusher had to be in his late 30s to early 40s but this didn’t stop him from selling to girls who were barely teenagers.

The street was thick with these kids. All very young and all very impressionable but on this hot summer night the only thing they could find to get into was trouble. I sat there appalled, watching their every move. Do I grab each girl one by one and tell them how a real woman behaves? Do I break the bottles of the young men drinking Hennessey? Do I turn over the cart of the man selling alcohol to underage children? I really didn’t know what to do in the moment, but I knew walking away that it wasn’t going to take just me. It’s going to take a village of people to patrol these streets and take back the youth. Strong black men to decide that their Friday and Saturday plans are meaningless compared to saving a young man from a life of crime because he fell in with the wrong crowd. It will take the mother board to go out into the streets and yank every single little girl and tell them they aren’t ready to bring another life into this world. 

So I write this because I hope someone in New York will take note of what is happening. It isn’t just in Brooklyn, or just New York, it’s everywhere. The point is, wherever you see it, there must be a call to action. We all have enough friends to form a task force to comb these streets and start swiping bodies and saving lives. Someone did it for us even if we weren’t so far gone in our youth. Now it is time for us to do it for those kids, after all, they are our future.


I’ll Be Back Soon Enough

Filed under: Uncategorized — nickisym @ 8:50 pm

I’ve been gone for far too long and I am sorry. I have been traveling and when I have been on dry land I’ve had a bit of writer’s block, so pray for me that I’ll come out of this funk to deliver some more good news. Until then, be blessed.

July 9, 2008

The Cardboard Crew

Filed under: God,life — nickisym @ 10:05 pm
Tags: ,

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

This scripture came to mind as I was walking toward the train to go home this evening. I happened to pass a woman who was sitting on the ground with her belongings and she had a piece of cardboard propped up that mentioned something of her need and the fact that we all are in need sometimes. Of course I agree with her that we are all in need but it plagued me that she wasn’t the only one of her kind with cardboard propped up, sitting with her belongings, begging for money. 

There is usually a young lady stationed outside of my office. She is there when I go in at about 10:00 AM, still there when I go for a walk at 1:00PM and still there when I leave at the end of the day at 6:15 or so. Yesterday her cardboard mentioned something about it being her birthday. There was yet another that I passed today on my afternoon walk, a woman, who had her belongings in tow and a cardboard sign propped up that mentioned she is two months pregnant. 

I never really know what to do when I encounter these people–in the past I’ve written about other experiences. But this time was different because of the one thing that they had in common outside of their obvious poverty–or laziness. Today I wondered what would Jesus do in this situation. Would he drop a few coins in their cup and keep it moving? No. He would tell each and every single one to take up their mats (boards) and walk. He would speak words to them that lifted them out of their situations and gave them hope and that’s more than a dollar can do. Just a touch from Him would heal their crippled mentality. And that was all I could think of as I walked past the last woman whose sign read “We All Need Help Some Time.” 

I wanted to tell her to pick up her mat and walk. Walk to help–because deep down inside I knew she was fully capable of it and I knew it would be much better than sitting in the heat waiting for someone to give her a dime. I wanted to tell her to walk to unemployment. Walk to the soup kitchen down the street. Get up and walk and do something other than sitting down day after day with no results. It’s insanity. But, what did I do? I kept walking. But she is still on my mind. They are still on my mind.

Maybe tomorrow–assuming God brings me into another day–I will have the courage to step to those women and tell them to take up their boards and walk. Or at the very least, ask them what they really need.

July 2, 2008

Anxiety Free

Filed under: God,life,love,relationships — nickisym @ 9:55 pm
Tags: ,

What a difference an on-time word makes. 

On Monday evening, I found myself in a very familiar place, in Bible Study with some trusted friends and a great spiritual family. I had been wavering earlier that day on whether to go because I rationalized that my tiredness was a good reason to stay away, but I also remembered the fact that when you don’t want to go that your word is waiting right there for you. So I pressed forward to see what God had in store for me.

His gift to me was a Bible Study facilitated by a guest teacher entitled “What Are You Trying to Prove?” but for the purpose of this post I will subtitle it “Status Anxiety.” Our guest teacher had been on this topic for about three weeks and I don’t think it ever resonated with me as clearly as it did that evening. 

Status anxiety is defined as a worry that we are in danger of failing to conform to society’s ideas of success. I have been struggling with this for sometime in no other area but my personal relationships as it pertains to love. I have watched a few friends get married, a few people I know of get engaged, a few friends fall in love and still a few friends go out on dates, which combined, adds up to everything I have not been doing for the past five years.

Considering all of this, I have to wonder what is wrong with me. What is my defect? God, when will you bring my Boaz? When will it happen for me? Just this past Monday I found out a good friend had a date. I guessed it before she could even tell me because I felt like any new advancement in anyone’s life I knew–aside from the amazing friends who are studying for the Bar or graduation or career progression–had to do with the formation of bonds with the opposite sex. So, when she affirmed that she was indeed going on a date, I expressed my joy and happiness for her, but at the same time my heart sunk because it was one more person experiencing something that I wasn’t. I was truly excited for her because I knew this was going to be a wonderful experience for her. After I hung up the phone, my eyes started to tear up as I walked down the crowded New York street. But the spirit told me “All things in due time.” After He told me this, He then told me “Be not anxious.” He didn’t just say it once, he repeated it to me until the tears that were threatening to drop down my face dried up in the corners of my eyes. He said it until my heartbeat went from rapid to normal. He said it until I knew that everything was going to be alright because He knows the plans He has for me. And at that moment I knew what I needed to say to speak to my spirit on those days when it seemed like everyone else’s race was progressing ahead of mine.

So back to Bible Study…Our teacher had us write down the area of our lives where we were struggling with status anxiety. She gave us five minutes at the end of the class to do so and I was very honest on my sheet of paper. I feel my social life leaves a little something to desired. My heart yearns for the love of another. And sometimes just hearing about others finding that “one” makes a me a little misty-eyed for my own. Our time was up and the teacher invited us to share what we wrote. 

Initially I was going to keep it to myself because love is a very personal matter for me. And talking about it to a room full of people who I am not close to was strange. But as I sat there listening to other people share their status anxiety struggles, my heart starting beating uncontrollably. It was beating so hard that I could see the flower blossoms on my shirt bloom and contract. As my heart beat faster and faster, I also got a little nauseous because I knew what this was all about. Usually when I am in Bible Study and I am presented with the task of sharing my thoughts this rapid heart beating happens, and so that night was no different.

As my heart continued to beat, I had an internal dialogue with God about my not wanting to share it and he told me that if I didn’t share it I would be stealing a word from someone. He told me that if I didn’t, there’d be someone who would go without a revelation and even if I didn’t want to put my business out on the street, it wasn’t about me anyways. So as the clock ticked and the teacher looked for more people to share, I raised my hand–me and another young lady who are fairly quiet in study. As I stood up and greeted the room I felt nervous. As I started to share I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and could hear the sound of my voice cracking under the pressure of trying to hold in my emotions. I shared my struggle and the revelation that the spirit gave me earlier in the day following my friend’s announcement. I shared a few other scriptures which God illuminated to me in that very moment and in that moment I was relieved that God pushed me to speak up.

After all of this–as if everything leading up to and during weren’t enough, one of the other teachers decided to pray for me during our closing prayer. He mentioned many of the things I shared and prayed for my keeping and my continued trust in God. I stood holding hands with a close friend on one side and a new friend on the other and tears of joy streamed down my face. All I could think was that God is so incredible. One of the things the teacher said in his prayer is “God, you hear her cries.” And that was so deep to me because I didn’t cry in front of anyone in that room while I was speaking, but while all eyes were closed and all heads were bowed I cried and I thanked God for his goodness and his mercy toward me.

Following the prayer, a good friend embraced me and told me that all I said was for her. Then my new friend told me that it spoke to her. Then as I stood there wiping the tears from my eyes, person after person came up to me to tell me how I spoke to them. And I was full to the brim with joy because in that moment I realized how God uses people and how it really does behoove a person, if they have God-given word on their heart, to share it so that all can be fed. And yet and still all of it wasn’t over. Two of the older members of the Bible study approached me and spoke words of encouragement, peace and wisdom into my life beyond anything I could possibily imagine. They both told me that the blessing for my obedience would be incredible and though one could consider the blessing being one to come, I know that the blessing came that night, when for just one moment, I stepped outside of myself and what I thought I was normal to speak into the lives of others.

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