Now, I know this is not an easy subject to discuss. It is even harder to have to endure the examination. Yet this is not a thing that can any longer be ignored nor should it be. Yes, I know that real men do not go to the hospital to see doctors especially when there is no obvious problem. Still I argue that real men take care of themselves in every way. And that taking care of themselves may have the reciprocal effect of benefiting men’s families. Still the most important benefactor is the man himself; after all men are just as important as everyone else.
Let’s get straight to the matter at hand. Last year the Veteran’s Administration Clinic in Fort Worth decided it was time that I had a colonoscopy. This was a matter I knew was coming and should have been addressed a couple years ago. It was something I was not looking forward to. Now, I was not concerned that I was inflicted with cancer; God had been taking excellent care of me. I had never been invaded before and wanted nothing to do with any invasions. Insofar as I am concerned that aperture is for one purpose and one purpose only. Hence my grave concern about the introduction of any object into my being.
To say that I had some apprehensions about this invasion is to put nicely the concern that I had. The class that I was required to attend did little to squash my concerns. The risks involved barely seemed worth me surrendering my “virginity” yet I knew that it was more than prudent for me to take care of this one and only body that I will ever have. God has given certain wisdom to doctors and that wisdom should not be taken lightly. Nonetheless the day soon approaching was not one I was looking forward to. It was a day that I did not want to come yet it was a day that must need come to pass. And so the day came.
It is important to keep in mind that I have never been sedated before. The closest I came was when I cut my hand as a Corrections Officer that that cut required stitches. I was given “laughing gas” and I can say there was nothing funny about it. I was told the effect of the sedation would be very much like that gas. I must also admit that day I went in kicking and screaming. Now, I did not cause a ruckus in the clinic however I did let the nurses and clerks know that this was something I was not looking forward to. This is especially true when I was placed in a room whose walls were thin white curtains with others just a breath away from me and told to remove my clothes; all of them. I was then to put on this mini dress that barely covered my essentials. To say that I was uncomfortable does not begin to tell the tale.
In the clinic there were a number of people fussing over me. Silly jokes were being told to make me at ease. Nurses were doing this and that while a doctor dropped by ensuring that all was well. Then came the time of the event in which I was wheeled a few yards away into a room wherein more care takers would fuss over me. I heard the doctors give instructions as to the type of medication I should be given. Then there was the voice of one care taker saying “You are going to feel something cold” and I did. The next thing I know there was a voice saying “All finished.” I heard the words and I knew what they meant I just did not know that I was finished. Boy, if that is like being high that is a feeling I never want again. And then I heard a voice saying that a polyp was found and being sent to the lab. That did not quite sink in because, frankly, I was still circling the airport.
Look, I am no doctor and have very little knowledge of medical processes. This is why I regularly see my doctor and that is because I love me. While that may sound a bit arrogant it is very necessary for men to love themselves. When a man loves himself he will do all to take good care to protect himself in all possible ways. This is even true for men of faith. It is because of faith that all is well with me. God has seen fit to allow me to have very good health and that is a thing I do not take lightly. Part of the reason I am doing well is because I head the advice of doctors whose responsibility is to help me be well.
Men, stand up and be men. Love yourselves enough to see your doctors regularly. And when the time of the colonoscopy comes let the doctors and other care givers do their jobs. The right crew will have your best interest at heart and will do all to protect you in every way. No, it will not be easy yet it is very necessary. Do it for your wives. Do it for your children. Above all do it for yourselves. You are the most important person in your world and deserve the blessing of good health. With that I can report that the polyp found in me was benign and I am doing well. So, men, remove the robe of hesitancy and go take care of you.
Last evening the President of the United States of America presented his sixth State of the Union address. During the address a number of issues were raised. Some of those issues caused a collective scratching of heads with many across this great land. One such item was that the President touted financial success by reason of policies he has implemented and that the nation’s unemployment levels have steadily gone down over his tenure. Unfortunately the only reason the unemployment levels appear to have fallen is because about ninety-three million people of fallen out of the employment picture and are not looking for work because of the lack of jobs and have exhausted all benefits. This is not to mention the fact that when the President took office the debt was about nine trillion dollars and now stands over eighteen trillion dollars.
There are many other items that can be addressed in the President’s speech however it might be more beneficial to discuss the State of the Church as the Church has had many successes over the past year. For instance the Church is strong and growing. Despite the attacks on fundamental Christianity the Church has not folded. Instead Christianity is beginning to stand its ground in favour of traditional Judeo-Christian values and refusing to relent to the boisterous cry of those that seek only the demise of the one entity that recognizes the one true and living God. Evangelical Christians are digging deeper in the trenches of holiness as it furthers the Great Commission.
Even so there are problems in the Church. And problems are nothing new in the Church particular if one considers the issues Paul addressed concerning the Church at Corinth. This is evident in I Corinthians 3:3 where he states that “ye are yet carnal.” This carnality meant that the church was much like the world at large and that carnality was detrimental to the Church in a number of ways. The same is true with the Church today. There are many that cannot eat the meat of the Gospel as they are still on milk. Among many there has been no growth so that some local bodies have become stagnant. This stagnation has led to frivolous programs called ministries which serve only to create social clubs in these Houses of Worship. These things ought not to be so.
Likewise there has been a pulling away from the historical teaching of Christ in futile efforts to reach those presumed unreachable in traditional terms. Hence music has changed from worship to entertainment wherein in some localities it is becoming increasingly more difficult to determine if the churches are parts of the Church or clubs. This, in part, has caused a double standard with congregants wherein lives outside the local bodies are less godly and more carnal. This is to say that many of these in the Church are Sunday saints and often barely that. As such the State of the Church is weakening because the Great Commission has been changed from going to all the world and teaching the Gospel to bringing the world into the Church by compromising the Gospel.
And there are hosts of other matters in the Church that need to be addressed just as they were addressed by Paul. Schisms in the Church caused unnecessary divides just as they do today. With this the Church needs to lay aside petty differences in order to further the Gospel while using the love of Christ to embrace each other so that the world can see the love we have one for another and be positively affected by it. This love means that there is no fornication it the Church. Lies will become a thing of the past as the truth becomes all the more paramount with the true and living God at the helm. This will result in respect for the people of God as pastors and ministers work tirelessly to hone their prophetic skill thereby pointing men to the foot of the cross.
It is absolutely true that the State of the Church is strong and that many are being brought into the fold. Likewise there are problems that need to be addressed in that strong things, even the church, need to be maintained so that the strengths do not become weaknesses. Let us, then, lay aside the carnality which seeks only to uproot that which is holy and pick up the ways of righteousness which serves to bolster and under gird a strong a prospering Church.
There has been much talking here of late about appearances. Specifically much of that talk has been around President Obama and some of the latest optics of his administration. One such was the sending of three White House representatives to the funeral of Michel Brown who would have gone unknown except for the fact that he robbed a store and at minimal challenged a police officer. Unfortunately no representatives were sent to New York where two offices were killed as they sat in their car. Now there is much discussion about the recent show of solidarity against Islamic terrorism in France wherein at least forty Heads-of-State joined arms yet no one from the United States was sent to stand with the world standing against a common enemy.
There are hosts of other optics that can be pointed out such as this administration’s refusal to call Islamic terrorism Islamic terrorism. This goes to the point that appearances mean everything. For instance, if one were to go to the “block’ in downtown Baltimore around midnight and he sees a young lady scantily clad going into a strip joint (or out of one for that matter) he might deduce that the lady might be at least a dancer. Such is the case within Christianity. Appearances mean not just a temporary opinion or view but rather appearances mean everything. What one dresses like, acts like and who he associates with speaks volumes about who that person is.
For instance if a married “Christian” man were found in the same area of Baltimore without his wife and he was just a bit inebriated with young ladies on either arm it might be said that Christianity might not be his chief practice. The fact is that appearances make all the difference in the world. This is why the Christian is called to holiness. Holiness is not merely a state of mind rather it is the way of life of the Christian. This is why Christians stand in the face of that which is unrighteous and unholy. This is why preachers preach and teach against succumbing to the pull of that which turns against God. Appearances is why Christians walk and talk far differently from non-Christians.
With this Christians need to walk arm-in-arm in solidarity against the things that God calls sin and unite with the love of Christ. There are neither big sins nor little sins so that lies are just as dangerous as homosexuality. Stealing is not worse than reveling while drunkenness and the lack of a sober mind can be synonymous. These are matters in which Christians can rally together and be examples for all that choose not to celebrate the God of our salvation. Christians need to present the optics of solidarity from one house to the next so that our common enemy cannot penetrate the wall of togetherness.
It is very true that together we stand and divided we fall so Christians, I beg of you, let us stand together and present a picture of holiness which will serve only to please the Father as we continue to lock arms for the standards of holiness and against unrighteousness.
Here of late there has been much rhetoric against police departments. It has been said in various ways that the police have certain animus against a particular people group and that they seek to find ways to kill those for which they have no love. Often overlooked is the crime in certain areas and that crime is blamed on ideas such as unemployment and lack of education. Well, I dare say that the police are not the enemies of any community and that unemployment and lack of education are not synonymous with crime.
I know; I can already hear some naysayers debunking just the few words that show above. However in order to make my points clear I must discuss some of my story. You see I was born during a time in when Jim Crow was coming to an end. The part of Baltimore wherein I was raised was far from the best place in town and after a short marriage my parents divorced when I was in early elementary school. Yet somehow I did not fall to the pull of crime. I have no children save those from my wife and all of whom were conceived during marital bliss. Still somehow I have not been reduced to the level of a criminal and have never had a negative experience with law enforcement.
The fact of the matter is that if one does not do anything to draw the attention there is a very good chance they will not be stopped by the police. I can say this of a certainty not only personally but also professionally. I can count on one had the number of times I have been stopped by police and, surprisingly, none of those two times was in Baltimore. I was not disrespected and neither did I disrespect the police. After a couple minutes conversation the police learned that I was not a problem child and they went about their way. Moreover I can say that as a police dispatcher in Baltimore and Chesapeake, Virginia that the police are usually so busy handling calls for service that there is simply no time to pick on people merely because of skin colour.
Now, I have not always enjoyed the academic success I have. This lack of college education did not cause me to fall to crime and to raise a voice against law enforcement. Instead when the opportunity arose I found reason to better myself and to work diligently in order to obtain the education needed in order to be a success. Even more I never took a job so that I would not turn to crime nor did I study for years in academia to lift a voice of hate. Instead I worked and continue to work to pull me and mine from what could be dismal failure. This is not to say that I have had an easy life and that I enjoy a life of luxury now. Neither is the case. Yet my background does not lend reason for me to lash out against those who protect not me alone but also all those that have need of protection.
My point is that I am tired of the police bashing that has been going on in this nation. Scripture teaches that we should honour those that deserving of honour. Police officers deserve absolute honour in that they do a job that most do not want to do. They work in the face of sudden danger and death yet they uphold their oaths defending not only the defenseless but also upholding the Constitution. If the powers that be will not call for peace with the police then I will. I will stand with them because they stand for law and order. I will raise the banner of unity because a divided nation will only fall. I will say thank you to those police who work daily to prevent the chaos of an unlawful mob.
It is important to note that I have been on a number of police ride-a-longs. Some were by choice and others job related. I have seen people hurt by the hands of criminals and police work to bring some healing. And while it is true that the police are not social workers and most certainly not members of the clergy they are human beings with a love for fellow man. The era of Jim Crow is over so it is time we came out of the past. The Klu Klux Klan is no longer serving as the enforcement arm of the Democratic Party and if any members are in our police departments they are well hidden. So let us lay down the destructive banner of hate and raise the restorative banner of love in order to bridge a divide created by lies and false narratives.
Love, this is why so many work at an often thankless job in law enforcement. Love is what causes so many to put their lives on the line for the sake of other lives. Love is why Christ became incarnate in order to reconcile broken man with a loving Father. It is this love that can reconcile man with man in order to present a type of the relationship we should enjoy with our Father. With that I urge some to look at some of my story and see that there is truly no reason to bemoan those that work hard to protect us and stand with them that stand daily in harm’s way just to make sure we are not harmed.
This new year let us not allow the broken rhetoric of a few determine the fate of many. Let us bridge the gap and work side-by-side with those that work with us.
Happy New Year!