On April 4th 2023, I went to a Jehovah’s Witness Memorial Service for Jesus Christ and something unexpected happened. I suffered some kind of emotional or mental breakdown and had to leave before it ended. I felt wretched and rotten, guilty and unworthy. And ironically, I believe it all stemmed from this lifelong criticism of being called “Arrogant.”
Modesty is not one of my strong points. I get it. It’s kinda like how I’ve been told I’m too “Judgmental”. However, with that, I am truly judgmental. I embrace it. I can accept and defend it.
But Arrogance…How can I justify that? The Bible’s constantly talking about the virtues of being meek and humble. It warns about pride and haughtiness. Jesus himself said that “the greatest among you shall be your servant.” And that whoever humbles himself like a child shall be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
So, if they are correct in their assessment…what do I do? How do I change? Do I even want to change?
Here’s what I’m going to do. First, I’m going to explain what happened that night during the Memorial Service. Then, I’m gonna dive deep into why I’m clearly so insufferably arrogant.
This one delves into the criticism many have voiced about the “Mary Sue” and Hollywood continually pushing the “strong female protagonists” in which most of those women act like men.
These opinions…don’t worry, they aren’t feelings that I’m super passionate about because there’s not much I can do about it. But I have held them for a long time. Even when I was in film school, my instructors used to tell me, “Rock, you have to play the game to win it.”
During my 20s, I obsessed over two main goals. One was to lose weight after getting up to 378lbs. I succeeded in getting down to 220. The other was to become a published author, and not just “any” published author. I wanted to be the best. The kind future generations had to write reports about in school.
Just recently, a friend asked me why I had given up on that goal. It’s difficult to explain without sounding like I’ve straight-up failed. It’s understandable to assume I was using the Bible as an excuse, as if to say I couldn’t hack it in the world of publishing. Because he asked a good question.
“What does reading the Bible have to do with you not succeeding as an author? It’s not like you’re doing drugs or committing a crime. Are you saying God doesn’t approve of authors or success?”
He didn’t ask those questions to offend me. I could tell he was genuinely seeking to understand. Truth is, I haven’t given up on that goal. The difference between 34-year-old Rock and 24-year-old Rock is that it’s no longer the priority. It’s still high up there. But once upon a time, nothing else mattered more.
First off, you have to understand that being a Christian is voluntary. Reading the Bible and believing in Christ’s teachings is something we “choose” to do. So as I begin, I’d like you to keep these critical scriptures in mind.
In Matthew 19:16-23. A rich young man asks Jesus, “What must I do to have eternal life?” Since he was a boy, the young man has kept the commandments. He didn’t steal. He didn’t commit murder. He honored his mother and father. So what commandment must he do to have eternal life?
In verse 21, Jesus answered, “Sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.”
Here’s the issue with Sarah Jeong. For those who don’t know, she made racist posts about white people in the past, and despite this, the New York Times has hired her as an editor. Like the author of this video, I agree that people shouldn’t be fired or have their careers ruined for things they said in the past. People change. They improve. And i’m not on board with the mob mentality.
The problem is…this is the New York Times. Right now, journalists and the publishing industry are taking a beating battling the accusations of being biased and unfair leanings. If you’re in charge of a company like the New York Times, why would you hire someone who clearly has a racist past? And then go so far as to defend her by doing as so many have done, just pull the victim card.
This affects me directly because as many of you may know, I’m an author. Since I was 23, I’ve been trying to break into the publishing industry and have made huge gains. I’ve long since seen how the publishing industry has increasingly become left-wing in their politics. Most of the Literary Agents are women and if you look at their wish-lists, most of them are in search of stories with “strong female protagonists,” stories about LGBT characters, and intersectional conflicts.
I have no complaints about that. These are the cards I’ve been dealt. So I accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion, producing stories with a strong female protagonist that tackle many social issues. I’ve seen books published with horrible proses and age-old tired premises. These make the best-seller lists. They make the bestseller lists based on advertising, online marketing, and reviews. Therein lies the rub.
The New York Times is one of the most influential entities when it comes to that advertising and the reviews. Yes, some conservative authors have made it onto their lists, no doubt much to their chagrin…but its a small percentage. And if companies like the New York Times are hiring editors, basically the gate-keepers to commercial success, with clearly racists, misogynistic, gynocentric ,…basically anyone who has proven that they can’t possibly be perceived as fair and impartial…what’s the point?
That saying comes to mind. “If you’re so smart, then why aren’t you rich?”
To me, the answer is clear. It’s because I’m not willing to do “just anything”. I won’t stoop to bashing others for shock value, I won’t pander to an audience and contribute to the illusion that’s continued to keep the young and impressionable blinded from the truth. And more importantly, I won’t jeopardize one of the few things I actually love about being alive. And that’s writing about what I want, because I want to.
That’s why I’m so glad I’ve been able to reconnect with my heavenly father. In my twenties, I was so distant from him. I cared so much about being seen as great and wonderful in the eyes of “the world.” But I’m not part of the world. Ever since my parents embedded me with a Christian foundation, I never have been, no matter how much I tried to run from it.
The Lord is my salvation, my shield, my king, my shepherd, my judge, my refuge, my fortress, my vindicator, my creator, my deliverer, my healer, my protector, my provider, my redeemer.
Thank you Jehovah for stretching out your wings and bringing me back to the fold.
Well, Rock! If you endeavor to do what is good in God’s eyes, then why do you care about the New York Times and Sarah Jeong?
…I never said I stopped caring. I still want to be a published author and until the day I die, I won’t give up on that dream. But I no longer care “so much”. It isn’t a priority. Now, I seek first the kingdom of heaven. If you don’t know what that means, send me a message and I’ll happily point you in the right direction.