Allow me to begin by saying, as a Christian, I believe the Gospels should be taught with love and kindness. Not guilt, ridicule, or a confrontation.
What prompted me to write this essay is to conclude an internal conflict regarding faith. A new challenger has emerged. An Atheist. During a recent debate (argument) on my boss’s radio show, she challenged me to learn more about the views of Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens in order to understand why Atheists don’t believe in God.
She said, “I’ll read something of the Bible that you suggest, if you check out a video by one of these Atheists.”
My boss egged her on and encouraged me to accept the challenge. The thing is…while she openly admitted that she knew very little about the Bible or what it meant to be a Christian, I actually have been through my Atheist Phase. I already knew a lot about Atheism. Allow me to explain…
I know… the Devil is Working Hard To Make It Seem Like You Don’t Exist. When you see what’s going on in the world, and you know you’re no part of it, it does feel rather hopeless, as it did last year, when you see mass groups of people rising up in common anger, indignation, but ultimately a purpose. A purpose that may be far different from your own.
We as Christians know that you can’t put your faith in human beings. All these calls for “justice” and “equality” are futile notions because we know the justice and equality they’re talking about isn’t universal. Meaning, it isn’t justice and equality for everyone, just them and their ilk, and their feelings.
With Black Lives Matter particularly, even after the Chauvin Verdict, we already see them and SJWs moving the goal post. They got their desired verdict but it’s not enough. It’ll never be enough. Let me repeat that. It WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH.
When it comes to the Old Testament…sometimes I really do take the stories of God’s servants to heart. As if I’m reading the memoirs of my own blood brothers who died long ago, who passed down what happened, what they did wrong, and how we can avoid making the same mistakes. I have to honor that.
As I mentioned in previous essays, the first time I read about Solomon praying for wisdom…it really had a life-changing effect on me. I felt so much shame because, until then, all I did was constantly pray for success as an author or success in finding a beautiful woman who I could call my wife. It was all for me, whereas Solomon prayed for the ability to help others.
To give you a recap in case you haven’t read Part 1, Solomon is the new king of the powerful nation of Israel. The third king, in fact, following the succession of King Saul, then his father King David, an extraordinary man who was said to have a heart after God himself.
Solomon had a very turbulent upbringing. His mother was seduced while still married to another man. His eldest half-brother raped his half-sister. Another half-brother, the popular Absalom, tried to take the throne from his father King David. And while David swore to make Solomon the next king, another half-brother tried to usurp the throne through nefarious schemes.
Almost in Godfather-like fashion, Solomon finally had enough of all the games and treachery and cleaned his house. He had his older brother killed, the commander of his father’s army killed, another man who cursed his father was killed, and he exiled a priest to end the line of Eli.
Now…we pick it up in 1st Kings Chapter 3. Here, we read that Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father. It’s here that we learn about God appearing to Solomon in a dream and saying “Ask what I shall give you.”
The life of King Solomon is one of my favorite wells to soak in inspiration and wisdom. It’s easy to gloss over the complexities when you read the Scriptures, but there’s so many layers to unpack. It’s a story of lust, strategy, triumph, and tragedy. Not to mention, captivating. Makes “Game of Thrones” look like child’s play.
When it comes to Solomon, we’re a talking about the son of one of the most powerful kings who ever lived, whose mother was seduced, and her first husband was sent to his death. We’re talking about a man who witnessed as his family turned on each other for the sake of greed or revenge. A man whose sister was raped by a half-brother. A man who received the greatest wisdom and wealth ever bestowed…and yet he threw it all away by putting the love of women before his love of God.
So, let’s back it up and really dive into who he was and what he saw as a young child that shaped the king he’d grow up to be.
The Adultery of David and Bathsheba
King David…Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. It’s a childhood classic. The smaller, younger David defeated the 9-foot giant of a man in Goliath by slinging a stone to the Philistine’s head. Of course, it wasn’t David acting on his own. God (Jehovah) was with him. It was God who guided the stone that killed Goliath.
But even before he killed Goliath, hahaha! You get a sense of David’s zeal when he visited his older brothers on the battlelines and saw Goliath taunting the Israelites to combat.
Young David’s response in 1st Samuel 17:26 was “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
Sounds silly to lament being invited to parties…but here goes. First and foremost, I want to say that it’s not lost on me, the honor it is that people want to be around me, that people want me to attend these functions and social events, that they enjoy my company. *bows humbly *
Recently, there was a party for my Boss’s Radio network where fans and personalities came out and had fun. As a co-host, I was invited but declined. When a Woman asked, “Rock, you don’t like to socialize?”
I answered, “No. Not really.”
That’s the truth. But as always, there’s more to it than that. And when I try to explain to people how I’m different, they tend to struggle with comprehension or, flat out just don’t want to believe me. So…for the love of all I hold dear, here’s the Top 4 Reasons Why Social Events are Not for Me. It comes replete with funny memes, followed by the remedy, conditions that would actually make me want to attend.
REASON 1. SOCIALIZING BECOMES A PERFORMANCE:
When I answered the question of “socializing” and said “no, not really…” this is true. But here’s the thing. I can and do socialize all the time. I’m actually pretty good at it. And one of the coolest compliments I get is that I’m fun and easy to talk to. The question was, “do I like it?”
In the context of a party or large gathering, the answer is a resounding “no.” Why? Because I have to watch what I say. Because you’re likely to deal with an audience. It’s not just a conversation between you and a few individuals, but between you and whoever’s within earshot, which could be ten to twenty.
Not to mention the countless curious eyes staring from afar at the big black dude who seems to be center of attention. Being the center of attention is another thing I don’t like. I’m 6’3, 225lbs. In high school, they called it stage presence. I was told I should just get used to it, but when you get to my “Reason Number 3,” you’ll understand why I hate it in a party setting.
“Hang on, Rock? What exactly do you talk about at parties? It’s supposed to be fun. Why are you talking about these deep controversial things?”
So…let’s back it up, for a sec. What’s the point of a party or get together? To socialize, right? To network. To have fun. To catch up. To lay back, drink a beer, dance, and be entertained. Right? Why go to a party if you’re not planning on having a good time?
What if I told you that none of those things are fun to me?
I’m not afraid of dying…Sure, everyone has some some anxiety about how we die, but the concept doesn’t fear me. Because I believe without a shadow of doubt that there’s something better…after all this.
I don’t like this world. During this time of Pandemic, I keep getting asked when I go out to the gym and drive to and from work, whether I’m afraid of catching the Coronavirus…my answer is no. This isn’t out of ignorance or some arrogance that I think I’m impervious to the disease…But more so, I just don’t cling to this world the way most people do.
And it makes sense for me. You keep hearing all these slogans about how we’re “AloneTogether”…but really, we’re not. I’m a 34-year-old man who lives by himself. Most of my family are hundreds of miles away. I have no wife, no children, no love interests. This isn’t to complain. Just stating the facts. If I caught the Coronavirus and died, the people I love will be taken care. I’d have no regrets. I won’t miss anything about this world. My eyes are fixated on something better.
“If you feel like you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.”…If you agree with this statement, step one is recognizing that there are people who are smarter than you. Can you do that?
It’s funny…because I’ve been called arrogant. I’ve been called egotistical and too full of myself. But unlike the people who called me those things, I actively seek out people who I perceive to be better than me, smarter than me. I’m not offended or discouraged by them. They inspire me. Instead of belittling and diminishing them so they can feel like they’re down at my level and we’re equals, I’m inspired to better myself so I can rise up to theirs.
If you’re a high school basketball player and you want to improve, you don’t go scrimmage with a bunch of novice 5th graders. No! You seek out the best players on the block who are all college material. Being on the court with “superior” athletes, forces you to up your game if you want to compete.
That’s what reading the Bible and talking to other Bible scholars has done for me.
If you Google “Smartest Person in the World,” you’ll see pictures with the likes of Marie Curie, Voltaire, da Vinci, and Einstein. It’s interesting…on this list of “Top 40 Smartest People of All Time”…you won’t find names like Solomon, Hezekiah, Samuel, or Isaiah.
In 1st Kings 3:12, God himself said, “Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”
…none like you has been before you and non like you shall arise after you…God said that about King Solomon. Therefore, it is my opinion, that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. But still…what is wisdom? There’s a school of thought that “wisdom is the best application of knowledge to attain one’s goal.”
Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Most Holy One is understanding.”
If you’ve never been in a fight…how do you know how well you’ll react or what you’ll do? If you’ve never practiced or taken a single self-defense class, but step into an octagon to face off against a trained Martial Artist, do you think you’ll win that fight? Or are you depending on others to come your rescue?
“Well the answer is simple, Rock. I wouldn’t step into the octagon!”
Too late. You were born. You exist. Whether you realize it or not, you are on the battlefield. Life is full of victories and losses. Only one man who’s ever existed, lived and died with an unbeaten streak.
How many times have we heard something along the lines of, “You shouldn’t have to go outside without having to worry about being profiled, experiencing racism, getting kidnapped, being stalked, fearing for your life, worrying about your child going to school, fearing a bombing, fearing a mass shooting, getting raped, or being abused.”
It’s a sad to hear, personally. Almost as if people have no idea that there’s a demon that exists, who’s ultimate mission is to seek out and destroy lives.
“But, Rock. People are just saying you “shouldn’t” have to…”
Here’s the thing…Who told you that you should be able to do whatever you want, go wherever you want, and nothing bad should ever happen to you? Who? Is it in the Bible? Are there conditions to it? Let’s put a pin in that for now. But let’s keep it in mind as we begin.
If you’ve never been in a fight, but step into the octagon next to a trained Martial Artist, you’re going to get wrecked. Why? Because you’re vulnerable to all kinds of attacks and you don’t know how to defend yourself, or how the person will attack, or what to do when you’re getting hit.
This year, I watched deeply disturbing documentaries about Jeffery Epstein and R. Kelly. The thing I found that was very similar between their victims, the survivors…was how vulnerable they were. But what does that mean? To be vulnerable?
When I heard the victims speak…it hurt my heart. Not just because of what happened to them, but how it happened. Ladies and Gents, I’m a staunch believer of accountability, that we’re all responsible for what happens to us in our lives and how we handle it. But these victims were all underage; seventeen and as young as twelve. I believe the predators were able to prey on them because of things these victims did not know.
By some accounts, the victims (now grown adults) kept saying how they knew what they were doing was wrong…but they were too afraid to stop or leave out of fear. They were afraid of death, of getting hurt, of having their careers or futures ruined. And yet…they kept coming back. They stayed. Some even returned with “friends” who ended up being subjected to the same thing. This is puzzling.
Honestly. I’m not trying to blame the victim, but to understand them. And the answer that keeps coming back was that they simply did not know what to do. Bear with me.
Think back to slavery…not just slavery in America, but Rome or even the serfs working the fields during the Middle Ages. Of those serfs and slaves, how many do you think KNEW they didn’t have to be a slave or a serf? At any point they could have fought for their freedom or fled.
Yes, you could say that they would have been captured and killed, but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that they still had a choice.
Do this or die, is still a choice. A horrible choice. But a choice, nonetheless.
This one is for those who are afraid of ending up alone…so much so that they’d stay in situations where they’re abused and taken advantage of just to avoid that loneliness. This is for those who feel like they have no place in this world.
Some of us are blessed to have a tight-knit circle of friends. Some of us have one or two buddies they can always depend on. Some of us have boyfriends, girlfriends, wives or husbands we can talk to. Those who uplift us and encourage us when we’re down, who celebrate us in our triumphs.
What about the rest of us?
I took an Enneagram Personality test last year in which I was labeled a Type 3, work-oriented, driven, and thrived on results. Another trait associated with “3” is that WE NEED validation. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? I’ve heard it said many times that anyone who’s constantly seeking validation is “sad, pathetic and weak.”
Truth is, I really do seek validation. And yet, I wouldn’t describe myself as sad, pathetic, and weak. I used to…back when I sought validation from “everyone.” Back then, I was seeking to impress not just family members, but also my peers, my colleagues, co-workers, friends, millions of potential fans as an author, and of course potential love interests.
And I confess…when I didn’t get that validation, it would depress me deeply…