‘When Problems Arise’

Riding to and from the gym, it was a J Dilla day. For the uninitiated, James Dewitt Yancey was a powerhouse in the underground hip-hop scene in Detroit, who died way too young. I fell upon a mix of his stuff a few days back and the rhythmic drum beats were perfect for car-dancing back and forth, as they helped punctuate the pumping of brain juice.Yes. Deep thoughts.When I settled in back at the cave after a grueling workout, I needed more tunes. Scouring my Youtube playlists brought me to the always-fun Fishbone. ‘When Problems Arise’ needed to be heard.

I hear you asking, ‘So, what is problem?’ in your best Russian psychiatrist accent (dunno why, that’s just how you sound today). As I sink deeper into your pleather couch, I sigh and answer, ‘There are a few things on my mind’ …

First, I am feeling the itch to write again (that’s a good thing, I think … you never know what will spill out of the quill on a good day …) but find my time to do it woefully lacking. My current reading material has inspired a darker bit of prose than what I’ve previously attempted and I am concerned about dipping into such a possibly dismal world. Fiction is truer than life sometimes.

Second, there is the existential crisis, or whatever — in my over-the-top writer’s parlay — we decide to call it. For the sake of simplicity, let’s call it the brain whatyamacallit. In this instance, the whatyamacallit relates to where I am called to serve out my faith. Yeah, one of those moments. Don’t get me wrong — love my faith family. However, there are differences of … shall we call it life philosophy … that create fiction in my gut. I go to service because I believe in the Hebrews 10:25 passage about Christian fellowship, but what happens when those you are fellowshipping with are so diametrically different?

I have a cousin back east who is pastor at The Ink Church. If I was in Jersey, I’d be there. No questions. Pastor Eric and the Ink Church crew live out The Life — serving in the community, loving on folks, not scared to be who they are at the same time. I am not trying to suggest he’s created the perfect church — no such thing this side of Heaven. However, there is something there that my spirit needs: the ability to serve honestly, openly, and without pretense. That, on top of great spiritual teaching.

I volunteer with my Korean Presbyterian ‘family’ at their food ministry and it makes my spirit soar. I love the folk there. While we hear some horrific stories from time to time (‘Yo, did you hear that so-and-so got run over the other day? It was on purpose!’ — yeah, that happened. More than once. Shootings, mystery stuff … all of it, live and in person …) and have had to pray over some difficult situations, there is something raw and honest about every person who comes each week. There is nothing like being able to lay bare your concerns — whether it be ‘The cops broke up our camp and threw all our stuff away’ or ‘my money got stolen’ or ‘my man/woman is locked up again’ — and know that the people around you love you through it and despite it. That’s outreach. Where I am now, the definition of outreach is … different … focused more on bringing folk to the sanctuary.

I am not complaining, honest. There is a place for that. Evangelism is important. However, the way it is done is also important. I\’m down with sitting on a dirty chair in the middle of a field, kicking it with the guy and girl who live under the bridge abutment, telling stories about how Jesus had nowhere to lay his head either …I have been in deep concentration on this issue and while I have no definite solution will be visiting at the church of a couple of my gym associates. I covet your prayers that I am led to the best place … This is another period of pruning, I think.

It really is a wonderful life because choices make it that way. But let Fishbone tell it:

3 Comments on “‘When Problems Arise’

  1. My best friend and I have the same problem regarding church. We are feeling distinctly restless where we are at the moment, so I’ll be praying that you find your “home”. <3

    1. Thank you so much, Lyn … I enjoy the people and am receiving great spiritual food there, but other things cause the Jersey to come out in me and it is quite distracting. I covet your prayers and will keep you and your best friend in mine as well!

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