Sunday, June 2, 2013

Images, The Church, and My Deliverance

It's Just an Image

Kayne West
Recently, there was a picture of Kanye West portraying himself as Jesus, resurfacing on Facebook. My first reaction to the picture was, "Wow. How creative to send out a message of controversy, but not of deity. A symbolism of the ridicule that Jesus faced, likening it to his own experience." I didn’t see anything wrong with it. However, I suffered a backlash from certain people because a few saints decided it was rude and disrespectful. Why? I still didn’t have a clear understanding.

In fact, I questioned them on their reasoning and was called all kinds of names. They failed to see my point of view, and when challenged on their beliefs, they lashed out at me! One argued that it's because it is Kayne West and his life and how he carries himself that makes it detestable. Then I raised a point, "How do you know what Kayne does with his life or what his heart feels? Would it be any better if it were your pastor, father, or someone who was upright (in his eyes) to portray an image of Jesus?" Yes, it’s just an image, and many other similar images were released into the world, way before this picture of Kanye. Why aren’t we banging at the doors and tweeting and commenting on those who created the image of Jesus with this long curly flowing blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin?

I also faced off with another who argued that he defends God and the Bible to the tee. That’s fine and dandy, but when did God or his words need defending? Moreover, when did the TRUTH needed defending? If Jesus is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life...he doesn’t need defending. What’s most important to understand, however, is that you can believe what you believe, and I can believe what I believe, and we don’t have to beat each other over the head, throwing scriptures at each other like crazy men or women. What I don’t like most about the Christian organized religion is that they don’t allow room for people to be human, don’t allow for us to question inaccuracies and don’t respect other doctrines. It’s like, "Believe in this or you’ll burn in hell forever!" Seems like they do more cursing and condemning than they do loving, praising and uplifting! EVERYTHING AIN’T THE DEVIL!!!! Save your oil.

There is so much to be considered when you find yourself to be devout, Bible-believing Christian. The Bible mentions studying to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed RIGHTLY dividing the word of TRUTH! To fully understand the Bible, one must really study and gain an understanding of the historical text we use to slay demons, and people we don’t particularly care about (Gays). The word Homosexual wasn't even a word thrown around, in those times. Things were translated from generation to generation. Parts of the Bible were edited out, and I'm sure parts were added in (for control purposes). During the times of the king's reign, there was "my version" of religion that was distributed. Even some of the words used in Hebrew and Greek languages were/are misconstrued and are used inappropriately (Contextually). It's a simple truth that most never really thought to ask. If Adam and Eve were the only and first people on Earth who bore children, with whom did their children "know" to reproduce? Sounds as if there is something that isn't completely being told, like Iyanla says, "I can sniff out a lie."

Fact is, in general, people can't stand to be questioned about something they believe in, especially when it comes to their Jesus and their God. We all want to be right. However, you must begin to study for yourself and gain an understanding for YOURSELF, not because pastor said, not 'cause Big Mama said it, not 'cause Mama said it. There is nothing wrong with challenging it and seeking TRUTH! The Word itself says, "Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall FIND." Let God reveal his truth to you!

Why Do I Feel The Way I Do?

Robby the devout church boy
When I was younger, I struggled with homosexuality for so long. I remember just hearing the word and a lump would form in my throat; my heart would beat faster; and I would get all nervous and bent out of shape. Because to mention the word gay or homo was to admit a lamentable sin! I struggled many years (more so from ages 15 to 18) trying to figure out how I could be in the choir, be in the dance team, mime, and join in intercessory prayer and be filled with the Holy Spirit and be used by God; yet, in my thoughts, I'm thinking I want to suck a dick or jack off 15 times a day....I felt dirty....nasty...unwanted and confused! It caused me to draw into myself, not talk to anyone, seem weird. I was one of those people that was so spiritually high til I was not earthly good. Everything was evil. I had to watch what I did, where I went, what I watched on TV or in the movies, or subsume an evil spirit and be unclean or become possessed. As a child I knew more supernatural, spiritual things than most adults. Reading books like " Divine Revelations of Hell and One of Heaven" Then, one book on the occult Grand Master now in Christ. I remember reading these books and having to guard my mind so that a spirit from the book wouldn't jump off onto me or give me crazy thoughts...this was the world that I lived in!

I remember days of being scared to go around my bishop, because I was scared she would be able to "sniff" out or see my dirty ways or that I had been doing some ungodly thing. (Her discernment was impeccable). Yes, I was THE the church boy! Everyone respected me enough not to do certain things around me or even cuss around me....I was pastor. Til this day, I still have people asking me if I'm a pastor or do I (I'll get back to that later). I lived in a world where I wasn't connected to the human side of me....the emotions. No one showed me how to relax and let my hair down. No one showed me how to be a regular teenager. I went through those years not living and cherishing the moment; the only moments I can remember and tell you about were of church. Church was my home away from home, my escape from the hurt. It was also the source of the pain and the isolation that I felt. I wanted to be on that spiritual high, consistently, because it allowed me time away from the truth and fact that I was depressed and lonely.

I remember dreading the fact that I could be getting older and saying, "I don't want to turn 18. I'm not ready for that." One of the women who oversaw the dance practice stopped me in my tracks and said, "Don't ever say that again, for it's a new beginning and it will start for you." Well, it was my way of crying out. I felt that there was a missing element. I remember a sermon my bishop preached on about having "A Living Reality." Well, I needed my living reality. I knew God because that's what was presented to me. I used to dread going to church, but as I grew older, it became a place of happy times and of smiles, a place where I felt love, even though I was affirmed at home; and then to worship a God that I was taught would love me, yet while I'm living in sin, and then burn me in a lake of fire for all eternity. That wasn't all too affirming, and it definitely wasn't cute!

So, what was a church boy to do? I remember reading Kirk Franklin's "Church Boy." I can't find that book to save my life, but that book was dear to me. It captivated me, and gave me a glimpse of what it meant to have fallen short and be used by God, but yet, while doing things that weren't of God. Kirk's story seems to sound a lot like mine. I knew I had gifts and abilities, musically and verbally, but how did Robby fit into this whole scheme?

My Bishops and Me

I was very close to my bishops and loved them dearly. They loved me back. I would often affectionately call them mom and dad. I was even close to my youth pastor (wow, I feel like I need to call Iyanla Fix my life), but when he left the church, things were never the same for me. Having confided to him at the age 15 that I was homosexual was HUGE! Then came my father, then moms would find out later. It was a lot at the time. I didn't want him to leave because he knew and still loved me and didn't treat me any differently. So there was a new youth pastor, another pastor, one I respected, but I wasn't close to as my previous youth pastor. I eventually told him....which led to counseling.

I was well-known in the church. I sang in the choir and often was picked to be put in front of the mic, because I was the strongest in my section (tenor, in case you're wondering, first I did liturgical dance (no leotards) but Mime (which people are often surprised to yes with makeup and all). I used to open and close the church during the week, and I was there on Sundays for all three services. Telling my youth pastor and then the other two ministers,"I'm gay" was tough. I don't remember moms or dad asking me how I felt, though they could have. I know me and dad talked, but it was an out of sight-out of mind sort of thing. I had not acted on it (which was a good thing), but I confessed, and it was the beginning of accepting me and acknowledging that I, Robert Jones, was gay!

The Deliverance

I scheduled a meeting with my bishop to have a deliverance service. I thought I could be cured and delivered from this hideous sexual lust that burned like fire in me. I couldn't take anymore. All I could think about was penis! I was a chronic masturbator. I had numerous JC Penny's catalogs stuffed under my bed (and all kinds of other mags). I was in high-drive. I would circle the block, driving up and down 22nd Ave, looking at the men on the street corners, hoping to catch someone sagging or a bulge or a print while I jacked off in pure heat, and I heard a quiet, still voice tell me, "Like a cat in heat." That's how I was. At the mention of some penis, sex, or men, I was turned on and all ears! I was driving around, wasting gas, just to catch a glimpse. I knew I had it bad. And if I had any chance of getting better, given that I thought I was sick with sin, I needed to be delivered. Bishop had done this numerous of times and seen people throwing up in garbage cans, spitting up, convulsions, and others crying out to God and my two bishops casting out demons. People getting healed, set free and delivered!

So when the time came around for my one-on-one with my bishop, there was a lot going on in the church. There were a lot of changes, people who were dear to me had gone (my youth pastor), and I was getting older. Things were not the same. Some things were going on between my bishop and her husband, but that's a whole nother story. Anyways, we get into a room... she's got some gospel music playing, playing in the background. She hands me a container and tells me I have to ingest a considerable amount of "oil" (olive oil) in order to get the demon out. It wasn't a shot's worth; it was more like a cup. So I was like... wow. I raise the cup up to my lips and say a silent toast "To being straight and fucking women!" So, I drink the oil. It's not so much that it was nasty, but it felt funny going down. That oily texture alone was enough to make anyone gag. However I didn't, and at that point, I was waiting for the demons to present themselves. I thought I would have passed out or done the Harlem Shake or something, but I never did. She laid hands on me as she normally would, and called out two names, Incubus and Succubus. From my training, I knew those were names of demons, and a demon couldn't be excavated unless you knew it by NAME (Casting demons out 101). Sadly, as this went on.... nothing happened....except I had this funny taste in my mouth - from that nasty ass oil! I honestly don't know what was going on with her that evening or that session. All I knew was that if God wanted me to be "delivered," then he would have done so right then and there.

I have come to realize that God is powerful enough to do the work. I prayed many times and got real with God and I was like, "God, if you don't want this for me, then take it 'way, 'cause I sure as hell don't want the confusion, the uneasiness, the depression and feelings of insufficiency." I wanted more, and this was not it. I needed to feel living reality of God's work in my life and to know that I can survive in this world and be exactly who I am and still love God, even as I love another man. I needed to know that God's love doesn't come with conditions, because if it does THEN WE'RE ALL DOOMED TO HELL! That's not love... and I can't condone the idea that this Bible is supposed to be such a sacred text when there are so many gray areas and manipulated parts used to control people and leave them living in fear. We should live in love, and peace, and prosperity! Love! It is the biggest lesson we need to learn from this great book, love. JUST LOVE!

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