Sunday, December 02, 2007

The field misses a blessing.


It's Sunday morning and the field is getting ready for church (That laughing I hear better be in my head). One of the field's friends and his wife knows that the field is not a believer, so they invited the field to fellowship with them at their church, a rather large black Baptist congregation here in Philly. They boasted to the field about how dynamic their pastor is, and how he really knows how to "preach from the pulpit." (Come to church with us field, it's the best blessing you will ever receive).


They called the field last night to remind him, gave him directions to the church, and told him that they will save a spot in the pews right next to their family. They want the field to get there about 11:00, and participate in Sunday School if he can.


So the field is getting ready now. Suit, check. Shirt, check. Tie, check. The field has a bible a really nice one (leather bound the whole nine. The field's daddy, after all, was a preacher), gotta take that too. Can't go to church without a bible. That would be like going to a play without the program. Money, check. You need money to go to church. I figure three offerings of at least five dollars a pop. Fifteen dollars for the offering plate ought to be good.


The field looks out the window and there is a little snow on the ground...hmmmm, that's not good for my church friends. The field likes to sleep in when it snows on a weekend. But this sweet family made the field promise that he would join them in church. Now the field is trying to remember if he did actually promise or if he said he "would try to make it." Either way, it's getting harder and harder for the field to picture himself sitting through the good pastor's sermon this morning. It's always hard for the field to get up for a Sunday service in the first place. The field grew up Seventh Day Adventist, and always went to church on Saturday. Something about that verse in the book of Exodus: Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the sabbath..the day of the lord thy god....wherefore the lord blessed the seventh day and hallowed it" The last time I checked, the seventh day was Saturday and not Sunday. But field you are going to church with some friends, no one is asking you to convert. Yeah but the field has to find a way to rationalize not going, because right about now it's looking like a no go.


The field's phone is ringing; it's the wife of the family reminding the field of their church date. The field promises that he will try to make it. The field lies and tells her that something really important came up, and he might not be able to make it. There is a pause... she tells the field that he should try to make it, but if he doesn't, they will understand. She pauses again, and then she tells the field that he should really try to make it the next time if he can't come today. The field tells her that he will. The field tells her to pray for him, and she says they will.


After this post the field is heading back to bed. The field feels a little bad about lying to the nice church lady, but hopefully when they pray for the field all will be forgiven.


Thank goodness everyone doesn't read blogs.

47 comments:

Villager said...

Shit. I planned during the week to attend 10:40am service ... but, this morning I started to rationalize...and here I am at home.

I gotta try harder next week to get to that early service.

peace, Villager

Christopher Chambers said...

Mrs. Nat Turner and I went to our 8am serice because we have to paint our bathrooms. We are Episcopalians/Anglicans (Catholics without all the crazy-ass dogma, though a few Africans and have formed a bizarre alliance with a bunch of rednecks to fight the demonic conspiracy of gay people hahaha). I point out our denomination because we curiously aren't dependent on the "dynamism" of a pastor Our priests are married and don't seem to drive luxury cars or have TV shows. They don't tell us how to vote or pray, and don't jump up and scream. They tell us to have open minds and indeed the services are no fashion shows--neither for the parishioners or the clergy. The congregation is diverse: 50% folks of color (black Americans, a few West Indians, Nigerians, Liberians and some folks from India) and 50% white. A lot of people drive...gulp!...HYBRIDS and cars smaller than mobile homes. And FAMILIES come: men and young men...imagine that! There aren't nothing but single plump moms and grandmommas in the pews praying for their errants who hadn't come home from Saturday nights out doing evil. The priests actually are out in the community--sleeves rolled up, driving a junky car, feeding people, helping people, not just preaching and profiling. Yeah--we have a modest choir and...whoa...an organ. Now electric guitars and massed army of voices...

The concept of mega church and celebrity pastor and choirs as recording artists/entertainment and buying a $1K outfit to feature (especially in competition with the pastor's wife...or mistress) is not in our playbook. There are too many folks attending services in atmospheres like that. Shaking loose from that paradigm is just a piece of the program we can use make things better for black folks.

I know at least four big pastors in DC and Maryland who've taken faith-based cash from the Bush Adminstration and now are in a bind as they are on the hook to support the GOP even though their flocks are getting restless. They scream and dance and preach and lie like princes and are worshipped as such. They run their churches like Jack Welch at GE when they should be thinking about spiritual refreshment and helping folks help themselves. In the meantime, kids are still killing kids and we continue to poison ourselves and our environment. But who cares? When the Rapture comes, they'll all have the escalator to Heaven so Field, over-sleeping heathens like yourself will have to clean up the mess...

guerreiranigeriana said...

hilarious post...i don't even bother telling people i'll try because i know good and damn well that i am only going to try to NOT go...although christopher chambers' church does sound appealing, when and if i choose to subscribe to organized religion in the form of christianity again...

...my non-commital answer that works like a charm: 'we'll see what happens'...it pretty much stops the convo and you don't commit to anything...who can argue with that?...if you don't show, it just didn't happen...if you do, it happened!...some will try and make you commit one way or the other and ask again, 'so are you going to come or not', adding the tinge of guilt...i smile and say, 'dunno...we have to wait and see what happens'...then you just skip along...no worries of having committed and having to lie or feel bad...

apple said...

I'm not religious myself field, but I do go occasionally for the choir. It was the spiritual hymns that gave our people hope during the genocide of slavery and they still inspire me today.

Anonymous said...

Are you watching football Field?

IVENTBYBLOGGING said...

Field, we've all been there :)

NSangoma said...

~
The world, at least some of the western world is slowly and inexorably moving toward what is now being called the post-christian era.
 
Some of our folk are ahead of the bleeding edge of change, but unfortunenately the majority of our folk are lagging behind, still waiting for Jesus to return.
 
...traditional Christians, predominate in the Western Hemisphere and some European countries. ... post-Christians, are concentrated in other European countries and parts of North America, especially along the coasts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/20/science/20tier.html.
`

field negro said...

"Are you watching football Field?"

....yes.

FunkyBlackChick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FunkyBlackChick said...

$15!
wow, that's a weeks worth of lunch for me @ work...

Hmmm....I could make it to church if they had pews with mini-screens so I could watch football. I'd definitely be glad to place an offering on that!

Bee Easy said...

At least you tried. I haven't even pretended to get up for service in months. My soul is surely blackened on both sides.

Christopher Chambers said...

I know I was pretty hard on organized religion--especially preacher in these mega-churches--but damned if they aren't part of the problem now, rather than the solution. It pisses me off.
PS--the Seahawks are winning, right?

NSangoma said...

~
Bee Easy said...
At least you tried. I haven't even pretended to get up for service in months. My soul is surely blackened on both sides.
1:35 PM

Is that a Freudian slip, or a Negroidian slip?

PioneerValleyWoman said...

I've been lurking for a while.

I'm also Episcopalian, like another poster.

I went to services today.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent in the church calendar, and the beginning of the Advent season (within the Christmas season) is something that for me is a great counterpoint to the commercialism of Christmas.

I went to services, thought about the significance of the Christmas season, pondered the readings of the day once I got home and wrote about them into my journal.

I then put up the Christmas tree and got out the Advent candles to light on Sunday evenings during the season.

I like the rituals of church at Christmas.

Woozie said...

Oh my god I've got a friend trying to do the exact same damn thing to me!

We gotta look after each other man.

Jovan said...

The Field and the Hoodlum has a lot in common

Anonymous said...

You know what? I like you, Field. Don't always agree with you, but I like you, a lot. I went to church today. United Methodist, a wonderful, open, welcoming, social-justice seeking, reconciling congregation. Some things I believe. Some things, I'm not sure, but I'm not ruling out. But the community, the sweet, powerful community, and the joy of lifting my eyes and my heart and my mind above myself for a moment. What respite.

august said...

Wow 8am? That is some serious discipline but as they say you are condemned to be free. I go for the 7pm mass now that's something you never have an excuse to miss.

Blinders Off said...

Field,

LOL…I do understand your predicament. I believe in God and God knows my heart… that is all that matters to me.


Christopher Chambers you were not hard on organized religion, you summed it up correctly. The church you and your wife attend sound like a church I would enjoy.

Religion is a touchy subject and I do not like getting into a debate with over zealous hypocritical churchgoers who condemn others for not attending church every Sunday. Many of them need to read Matthew 7:5.

EmJay said...

I hate to say it, but sometimes I miss church. I went to a Catholic grade school and high school, and in the grade school at least, we had to go to church every morning before class. Talk about a month of Sundays! But the ceremonies were always beautiful and peaceful. I couldn’t understand a thing the priest said, but it gave me a moment to think before I went into my day.

Despite going to catholic school, I grew up in the hood as a nondenominational Christian. I come from another rust belt town, and I over time I watched my neighborhood deteriorate until there was nothing but liquor stores and churches, both of which were always busy. I still resent some of these pastors for taking money from people living in such poor circumstances. Like Chris said, too often the money goes to glamorizing the church and its pastor. I still refuse to go to church on that basis. Plus, I figure I’ve still got some credits saved up from grade school.

before the mayflower said...

I hear that Islam is the fastest growing religion today.

Pretty soon, they may outnumber Christians, then where will you be.

Become a church-going Christian today, or Islamic tomorrow.

rikyrah said...

I miss church too. I fell out when the church, after our longtime pastor died, went out and found themselves a Prosperity Gospel Preacher. I lasted as long as I could, but had to leave. I keep on saying that I'm going to find a new church home, but a church home is a very personal decision.

Angel-Marie said...

Hey field, at least the nice church lady and her family didn't come to your home and demand an explanation as to why you didn't come to church. I had church members do that to me and as soon as I opened the door, they just walked right on in without an invite. I guess they took that whole Jesus saying(If I knock and the door is opened, I will come in)too seriously. Next time if they knock and I don't open that door, they asses gonna stay out in the cold.lol

field negro said...

emjay don't hate to say it. (That you miss church) sometimes the fellowship we get from being around a group of like minded people can be good. I don't believe in organized religion, but organize religion can serve a purpose at times.

angel marie, if those folks had come to my house and walked in without an invite I don't know what I would have done :)

anon 6:15PM, I like you too. I think :)

blinders off, I will make it a point to read Matthew 7:5.

But seriously, maybe my black ass should have gone to church today, because my Eagles got their asses kicked by those Seahawks :(

I bet god isn't an Eagles fan.

Callie said...

before the mayflower:

That kind of thinking is one of the problems with Christianity today. You can't threaten people into following a particular religion.

An important issue that has to be addressed is why people have left the church. Many have been turned off by the scandals, the drama, and the emphasis on money.

Renee in Ohio said...

My husband has the distinction of being the "notable exception" in his family. At retirement/birthday celebration for his mom, one of his sisters included in her remarks that "*almost* all of her children are saved".

Demetrius, for his part, says he's a member of the Church of the Restful Sabbath.

before the mayflower said...

Callie said:

"That kind of thinking is one of the problems with Christianity today. You can't threaten people into following a particular religion."

Callie lighten up. It's a joke.

The point I'm making is that Islam, under strict Islamic law, may not tolerate our Christian asses when they rule the world.

The moral:

You better get your Christian fix now before it's too late.

before the mayflower said...

Callie wrote:

"An important issue that has to be addressed is why people have left the church. Many have been turned off by the scandals, the drama, and the emphasis on money."

True. Let me make a prediction.

Within the next 10 to 15 years you will a see a revolution in religion. Rather than seeking out a church, the children of God will turn to the temple within and worship God the way Jesus suggested:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Further, they will commune with God in the sanctuary of their own souls, where He will speak directly to their hearts without the benefit of an itermediary, such as a pastor, a rabbi, or any other member of the clergy.

For some Callie, it's already happening.

OG said...

An African King said that when the missionary's gave them the Bible, the took the land,took the people, andin the end all his people had in their hands was a bible. wblr.com. I think that a lot of people should research the history of the Church.

Renee in Ohio said...

When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.

— Bishop Desmond Tutu

Note the title "Bishop" in front of his name. It's possible to know the history, and still consider the faith worth keeping.

DP said...

Field,

We go through a similar routine every week here too, and usually end up not going to church. I believe that the church can be a positive influence, as it was for me and my siblings growing up, but the problem is that the churches are not the same anymore. It seems that the preachers are competing with each other to see who can build the gaudiest facility, drive the flashiest cars, wear the fanciest clothes, or open the most satellite locations. We even have preachers here in Houston who commute between satellite locations via helicopter, and who've converted sports arenas into megachurches! Are you kidding me? So from that perspective, something has definitely been lost from that old time religion and church attendance overall is probably reflecting it.

BTW - God is definitely not an Eagles fan. Everybody knows He/She roots for the Cowboys! 11-1 Baby.

field negro said...

renee, tell Demetrius I might have to sign up fpr that church :)

"Further, they will commune with God in the sanctuary of their own souls, where He will speak directly to their hearts without the benefit of an itermediary, such as a pastor, a rabbi, or any other member of the clergy."

I can't wait.

"BTW - God is definitely not an Eagles fan. Everybody knows He/She roots for the Cowboys! 11-1 Baby."

dp, I hate you!!! OK, hate is a strong word....naw, I hate you :)

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Field, Wow, I thought sure there was going to be an onslaught of Christians trying to save your soul.
Glad to see that maybe us born again heathens are making progress with our crusade.

Lola Gets said...

Ok 1) There aint nothing wrong with Islam (well, it has just as many faults as the other three Western religons, lol). and 2) Depending upon which texts you read, it SAYS in the Quran and hadith that Muslims should allow other people to pursue their faiths, and Muslims should be tolerant of them (but, hey, just like other texts of Western religon, they sometimes contradict themselves).
L

Lola Gets said...

I forgot to say, Field, I cant believe you went and got dressed, even found your Bible, and THEN decided not to go? Man, if you went to the trouble to put on your "House Negro" uniform, only to take it off...wasted effort man, lol. But, hey, if church isnt you, it aint you.

My friends know better than to ask me to church to "recieve a blessing." Ill go for special events, but thats it.

L

before the mayflower said...

dp wrote:

"It seems that the preachers are competing with each other to see who can build the gaudiest facility, drive the flashiest cars, wear the fanciest clothes, or open the most satellite locations."

I hear you, but I wonder how much of that is driven by church congregations seeking to be, and have, the biggest and the best and have pastors with Dr. before their name.

An observation: pimps on the street compete for many of those things, too. Hmmmm!

DP said...

Before the Mayflower said: pimps on the street compete for many of those things, too. Hmmmm!

My point exactly, and looking at some of these guys you can't really tell the difference between them and the neighborhood pimps. they drive the same types of cars, have the same tailors, both wear gaudy rings across all of their fingers, style their hair the same way, and compete for turf in pretty much the same fashion.

Congregations used to worry about the ability of the minister to tend to his flock, but these days it seems to be all about the material things.

DP said...

And Field - Don't hate! That goes against all of those principles you were taught growing up. After all of these years watching your "Iggles" dominate the division, its about time somebody else stepped up. Just happened to be my Cowboys!

OG said...

Sorry about misquoting Bishop Tutu, I just remember that before the canal the middle east used to be in Africa.I believe in God however I just want to know were all them white folks were before Adam and Eve? LOL

RBA Founder Xavier said...

Field,

If I wasn't a socratic Christian with critical intelligence, I'll be right there with you.

Without being too anecdotal, many of our churches got mad problems, but so do many hospitals, which do not normally prevent us from seeking redemption in both. Neither churches nor hospitals are for those who are well, but those who know they have issues. My suggestion is that we have a non-preachy conservation about both as a starting point for understanding this reality.

BTW - what church were you invited to attend?

field negro said...

rba founder, you make an interesting point. I would certainly consider a discussion about religion. I like your hsopital analogy.

I was invited to Sharon Baptist Church here in Philadelphia.

RBA Founder Xavier said...

Field,

You should have an email from me sent on 12/7. Check your spam too because sometimes my emails wind up there.

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