Saturday, September 15, 2007

If I want it I will ask.

I was going to post a long essay about religion, but I changed my mind. Primarily, because I am not religious, and it was going to be more of a rant than anything else. And, because, I realized, that I can be too hard on organized religion and the people that follow them at times. There are some really good people of faith out here---some of them comment on this site---who are really doing the work that it takes to get them to heaven which quite often benefits those of us here on earth.

But some things about religious people really do bother me, like when they try to proselytize all the time. I hate that. You know what I like about the Jewish faith? They don't proselytize. If you don't want to convert to Judaism, that's on you. No one is begging you to join. That is why I get along so well with my Jewish colleagues. We can hang out and talk shit, and nary a word about Jesus or salvation is ever spoken. (This particular post is timely now, because we are in the midst of Rosh Hashana, so Jewish friend, if you are reading this, Shana Tova.) So anyway, I thought about that yesterday when I was running to the train. (Yeah I know I have to do a better job at time management. Maybe it's because I spend all my free time on this damn computer) and there were these two very nice ladies blocking my path to the escalator like they play defensive line for the Eagles or some shit. "Good morning sir, may I offer you this to read?" No mam, thanks, I am running a little late, maybe tomorrow." "But tomorrow is Saturday, will you be going to work on Saturday? I just want you to take a minute to read this." It's a "Watchtower Magazine. Now I don't want to knock the Jehovah's Witness. I am sure it's a wonderful group and they do some good things. They have some beliefs I like--like the fact that the believe in salvation by works and not faith---and some things I don't like---like only 144,000 of the chosen ones can go to heaven, and they don't donate their organs after they check out. But overall, they are cool with me. (Hell Lark is a JW if I am not mistaken) But they are honestly barking up the wrong tree when they try to proselytize to me. My Daddy was a big time preacher and I was born and raised in the church. Had worship every night at home, Sabbath school, bible studies, the whole nine. So I really don't think there was anything these two sweet well meaning ladies could have told me about Jesus and his love for me that I didn't already know. Bottom line, I had to do like Donovan McNabb; damn near push them out of my way, dip around them, and ultimately left them talking to my back.

Now I am sitting on the train and wondering why well meaning people would even put themselves through that. I actually felt bad about having to diss the church twins. But then I thought about it, and I realized that they probably get dissed all the time.

But they sure were committed. I sure hope they have that kind of commitment and passion for their communities and their race. Promoting a cause they believe in, that's basically all they were doing. Their cause just happened to be tied to a particular belief system. In a way, that's all I am doing here too, proselytizing and pushing a belief system. Just a hard working "field Negro" who wants to uplift his race and his people's condition around the world.

Maybe I am not that different from my two Jehovah's Witness friends.

***On a side note. I have been getting some e-mails from people who are offended when I curse in my posts. Some of them, to the point, where they won't be back to my site, because cursing, in a any forum, offends them. To those people I say; it's not called the world wide web for nothing. There are lots of other sites out there that would more than welcome you, and where I am sure you will find no cursing.

But to those of you who stick around, let me explain my philosophy when it comes to the use of inappropriate language. (If there is such a thing) When a subject pisses me off, I curse. My previous post about dead beats is a classic example. I was pissed, and so I cursed quite often throughout the post. Sorry, I write how I feel. As people like "wo0zie" will tell you, I am no writer. I am just a brother who pounds the keyboard on my computer when my spirit so moves me, and when I see crap going down around me that I have to speak out about. Period. Sometimes I don't curse in my posts, because I have had time to calm down, and my language can reflect my mood. Sometimes I think a curse word would be appropriate, but I am not angry enough when I get around to writing, and as a result, I will write something like this: f**k. That is a compromise curse. It belongs there, but I am not angry enough to write out the full word. Got that?

You will also notice that I try not to curse in my comments section, because, unlike posts, I am more or less speaking to individuals one on one. I am not writing to everyone in general, but responding to an individuals comment. Cursing under those conditions would be like swearing at someone who came into my home, and that would be rude.


Anonymous said...

Hey Field,

Lovely post.

I do not believe in organized religion and get a bit peeved when other people's belief systems are put up in my face. But I can't be mad at anybody with
a true passion.

And about language content on your blog--c'mon
people. Passion again, adult passion. You feel it,
say it. Why is language so threatening to everyone all of a sudden in this country.

I write books for children, but I go to sights to read adult blogs. We all know the difference.

Don't we?

Unknown said...

Field - I enjoyed your explanation of your use of the language. You are a thoughtful brother to have such a sensible explanation.

I read your posts via iGoogle on my homepage most of the time. I enjoy your observations and rants! The downside of reading it via that RSS thing is I can't see your side-panel which is must-read material as well!

peace, Villager

field negro said...

Thanks Villager, I love your site as well. I aee you did some updating. Nice !

" We all know the difference.

Don't we?"

Leota2, you would think we do,but...hey, you know how some folks are.

Dirty Red said...

My Moms is a Jehovah's Witness so I grew up with their teachings. I am not one, so every time I talk to my Moms, she is telling me how I need to go to the Kingdom Hall. I am not knocking their faith, but I just ain't feeling it. Back home growing up, those were some racist-ass people. So the bad taste in my mouth is primarly towards the people, rather than the religion. I believe in God whole heartedly, and I pray all the time. My faith in a higher power has got me out of some hairy situations. I believe in God, but I feel you about people trying to force their way on others. I hate organized religion. To me it is all a money-making hustle. It makes no sense to me that a preacher will pull up to the front of his church in a Bently, while most of his "flock" either walked, or caught public transportation to hear him rant and rave. It also seems to me that most of these "mega" preachers are treated like Jesus Christ himself. People go to see the man instead of going to hear the word of God. So I am not a fan of organized religion. I feel that I can go to God on my own if I have a problem. I feel that if the bible is true, I don't need another sinner to pray for me, I can pray for myself. God knows what I did wrong, because if the bible is true, he was there when I did what I did. So what is the preacher for? They were born into sin the same as the rest of us. And also, Jesus lived among the people. He didn't live in a mansion surrounded by bodyguards. He didn't charge people to hear him speak. I do attend a church occasionally, but I am not a member of a church. My current church that I go to (occasionally) is a Baptist Church,(much to the dismay of my moms)I like the Paster of this church because he doesn't tell people that they are going to hell if they don't change their ways. He talks about real stuff, and he is approachable if you need to talk one on one. He is also very active in the black community here in Dallas. I don't know if I will become a member, because like I said organized religion leaves a bad taste in my mouth. As usual you really hit the nail on the head with this post. People should not be forced into doing anything, (unless you are a parent trying to teach your child).Religion is a very touchy subject in this country, and I think that is one of this country's biggest problems. We need voices like yours that get people to think about the real world instead of worrying about what Britney Spears was wearing during her very ill advised performance last week, or how many CDs Kanye and 50 cent are going to sell. Who the fuck cares? Oh sorry Field, I hope I did't offend the people who will read this comment by saying "fuck". Some people are so sensitive!! I am going to end this by telling you to keep speaking the truth because it needs to be told. And you are doing a fucking good job. (Sorry again). I hope your readers will forgive me. I think I need 4 Hail Marys and I might need to dip my fingers in Holy Water. What say you Field? Do you forgive me?

Prometheus 6 said...

Yeah, my mom worries about me gong to hell...

In Christianity, proselytizing is an act of worship. That's why they go on like that.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Listen, Field:

It's your blog. They don't like what you have to say, they're free to roam elsewhere.

As a Christian, I work on getting my language to line up with my walk. Most of the time, I'm successful. But when I hear, see or learn of something stupid, hateful, treasonous, off-the-chain, I sometimes lose it.

And then, there are some things where a swear word can communicate what polite language won't. Sometimes, a cuss word is required.

Like I say, I'm working on the language, but if I slip and say "damn" or W-T-F?", I hope those on this board will forgive me. I am still human.

Having said that, the best way you can get rid of a Jehovah's Witness:

(a)If you're Christian, pull out your own Bible and start challenging them, especially on that 144,000 getting into Heaven business. Who told them that? When I go to the scripture that says "a number that can't be numbered" regarding who's going to Heaven, I stand back and watch them splutter.

(b)Come to the door with your mouth full of toothpaste foam and start, well, foaming at the mouth. Use a growl for emphasis to let them know you're a candidate for being committed to the nearest institution if they catch you (wink, wink).

(c) Most brothers use this one: COME TO THE DOOR BUTT-NAKED. If you're not ashamed of your "equipment" stand there proudly and ask, "Hi, may I help you?"

Unless they come back with reinforcements, they won't be back.

I've tried option (a) and it's kept JW's off my doorstep for 10 years.

Blinders Off said...

FN, I feel you on this post. It also reminded me of some funny occasions when I was younger. When JW’s came around on Saturday mornings back in the day, my mother issued the command not to answer the door or look out the window.
I also do not believe in pushing religion on a person, that is something an individual must come into or not. I have faith and I try to live my life by the Golden Rule. I also agree with Dirty Red about organized religion. I do not go to church as often as I should, but there is a reason why I don’t. It is hard to sit in a church and witness the hypocrisy that goes on in the house of God. Therefore, I maintain my faith in my own way and it works for me.

My sister is married to a preacher and she has finally come to her senses to divorce him. To make a long story short preachers are one way in the pulpit and another in their home. I have witnessed thru my soon to be ex brother in law how preachers and their so call organizations take advantage of their flock. I once told my brother in law there is a special place in hell for him and his kind.

Finally, I find it hard to believe some people are offended by your language. Compared to some blogs in the blogosphere you are PG13.

Regardless of your name, you are a sista who keeps it real when you write. The majority of us use unflattering words when were pissed about an issue.

Anonymous said...

This hits home for real. I had a lady at work who started preaching to me on my break time. I told her no, I don't want to hear about it and she actually went to the supervisor to say that I was infringing on her religious rights. I was furious and you think you were cursing, I am sure she thought I was the female version of Satan.

Anyway, I had to ask her, what about my rights, don't I get to have any. I am at work on a break, not at church which is where I would be if I wanted to hear preaching. I told her that if she wanted to preach Christianity to me that was fine. But then she was going to sit and listen to me preach to her about African based religions. She said I was offending her.

This was a conference with the Charge nurse etc. And I told them I could not believe that I was not doing rounds so that I could sit here and discuss how this lady wants to infringe upon my right to say no. Well anyway she was told to leave me alone. So when I saw her anytime afterwards she looked at me as if I had fire shooting from some invisible horns popping out of my head.

That is my religion rant. This was a great post and curse if it makes you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Yeah those Watchtower ladies always get me too. I think I'm having a nice NY moment exchanging a smile with someone and it turns out they're trying to push a publication on me.

My favorite though, is this guy on the trains who is SO enthusiastic and tries to get everyone on the train to yell "I love Jesus" at butt-crack-o'clock in the morning. And the truth is, I could be having my own private conversation with my notion of god/higher power/existence, whatever...but his overexcited proselytizing ass was interrupting me. Isn't that counter to his supposed interests?

Anyway...I actually came on here to send this along - have you seen the video of Rev. Yearwood being brutalized by DC police for waiting patiently to enter the War hearings?!!


Lola Gets said...

I dont like being preached to, but "spreading the faith" is something Christians are required to do, because its what Jesus did. So, in some strange way, I respect JWs and, even more so, Mormons: they take that sh*t to a whole nother level. Just dont bring it to me, cause I dont wanna hear it.

In Islam, followers are required to "spread the deen", but In my experience, theyre not as obtrusive as Christians.

As for cursing - man I read a whole lotta blogs, and I think its incredible that I get castigated for my content matter, when there are other blogs that are more sexual than mine, but theyre considered more acceptable than mine, all due to the language I/they use! OOOOOO! Just burns my butt!! But you know what? Its my blog, and Ill curse if I want to, lol.

Unknown said...

I don't even know where to begin with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Please don't let them fool you and please don't let them get you to "study" with them either. Their fear-based "religion" is seriously flawed.

I have never seen an organization that is so controlling. Not only within the organization, but withing the JW families as well. If you so much as think about leaving the organization, all of your supposed friends and family will turn their back on you. If you actually do leave, you will be disfellowshiped and will be considered spiritually dead and will no longer be acknowledged by anyone you knew. You family will most likely not talk with you again and if you have younger siblings then you will have all communication cut off from them so that you don't influence them.

JW's are a failing religion of extremely judgemental false prophets. They are scared and are doing whatever they can to try and preserve what they have.

Any organization that will destroy a family and will say it is biblically allowed is terribly in my honest opinion.

Great job on the blog. I am enjoying reading what you have to say!

Madame K said...

Ditto everything Matthew said.

Also I quite enjoy your please keep up the good work.

Christopher Chambers said...

Yeah, f- those folks who squirm at the swearing. We aren't living in a world of Mary Poppins.

Woozie said...

Did you tear your ACL dodging the Jehovah's Witnesses Donovan?

Bob said...

My attitude as a writer is that I'd rather not maintain two different casual languages, one for speaking outside my home & one for inside the home & on the internet. Field, you're either making a special effort to keep "fuck" & "shit" out of your language in a large portion of your daily activities, or making an effort to add those words to your language at home & in the blog. When I've taught writing, I've told kids that if they use these words too casually & too often, they risk those words popping out in very inapproriate situations, like a job interview. & you have to admit that's common sense advice for young people.

field negro said...

"Did you tear your ACL dodging the Jehovah's Witnesses Donovan?"

Smarft ass!

Bob, I do not use the language in my day to day work life that i use on my blog. I usually keep things inside that I wan't to shout about. Which is one of the reasons I blog. But I think I have gotten pretty good over the years at being very careful with my language.---Although I did say "bulllshit" in court once, and the judge almost found my ass in contempt :)

But bob, I feel you, and I agree that we should be careful about not letting our children make this type of language a part of their day to day speech.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

I appreciate your insight into commitment to a cause, Field. And I'm with you on the language thing. But being a school board member and only semi-anonymous on my blog really hinders my expression sometimes! ;-)

Dangerfield said...

Field you know how I feel about organized religion, I have no problem with spirituality but it really seems to me that black americans are practicing religion with very little spiritiality.

The fact that black americans allow clowns like Jesse Jackson and Jamal Bryant makes me sick to my stomach.

The fact that the overwhelming majority of folks (black and white) dont wait until marraige to have have sex, the 60 percent out of wedlock birthrate amongst black folks, the aids crisis going on in black america and the fact that most black preachers I know of dont preach on how folks can wait until marraige to have sex or give examples of how they (the preachers) were able to wait until they were married to have sex makes me sick to my stomach.

The fact that the black church is doing nothing and providing no leadership to combat the aids crisis in Black america (that grows worse while us black bloggers comfortably blog) is proof positive that black america and our leadership is tragically flawed.

Everyday I loose my respect for the average black christian because much like crime in the hood a lot of the foolishness, ignorance and the church not leading on the aids issue is because black americans allow our preachers to be ignorant clowns way to often.

The black church could never have promoted the fairytale that aids is a curse by god against gay people if not for the collective ignorance of all of black america. So I squarely put the blame for our broken church system on black christians for not taking thier common sense and intellectual game to a higher level.

Also it isnt just the JW that are the problems it is any that tells folks they are going to hell for not practicing a given religion and most religions do that.

As long as black american christians continue to allow these preachers to preach non sense and falseness that thier actions and our collective actions say we dont believe get use to us suffering everyone.

You cannot not have people breaking gods "supposed" rule of no sex until marraige to the point of disaster and not have the preachers preach on ways to wait unti marraige to have sex. Along with that should be ways on how the black preachers were able to wait until marraige to have sex otherwise these ignorant ass corrupt preachers should be taking brothas in the back of the church and demanding that they use protection if they insist on having sex before marraige.

Anonymous said...

There is an article only on MSN about an atheist Kansas GI being harassed for not being a Christian fundamentalist while on tour in Iraq. Much like the Air Force tried to force fundamentalism on troops a couple of years ago.

People should read some of the "comments" to the article to really be afraid of "organized fundamentalist ideology". Because the GI is afraid his "comrades in arms" will kill him in some friendly fire b.s. Of course some people think he is lying and just wants to get out of the military - but I don't think so.

Also, to the Jewish people do not proselytize? I totally agree. On Yahoo, there is an article about only 1 Jew remaining in a village in Afghanistan. The rest have left due to the fighting.