Tuesday, October 7, 2008
A Sign From God?
Aight. Some of you who I talked to yesterday know that I was thinking about going to see Bill Maher's documentary Religulous (a portmanteau of "religious" and "ridiculous"). Some of you know that I was kinda scared to go see it because I didn't want to get struck by lightning in the theater. I had been going back and forth on going to see all day because I mean I ain't a Bible thumping Christian out here, but I still have questions and at the same time I'm still curious about what other thinkers think. I've never claimed to be a super-religious person. I go to church pretty regularly, but I ain't gonna lie, church really turns me off sometimes. It be feeling like I'm at a Tyler Perry show sometimes. Especially if I happen to walk in there late.
See, when you get to church on time and sit down, you get to see it from the beginning, so you'll witness how everybody may get caught up in the holy ghost. But man, if you walk up in there late, in the middle of the Christian Crunkness? Shied, you'd swear Jesus and Jay-Z was up there rocking. It looks just like how it gets mocked on TV. I ain't saying anything is wrong with you getting caught up in the spirit. I'm just saying its a trip when you walk in and thats the first thing you see because you can't tell if you're in a house of worship or at concert.
Anyways, back to what I was saying. I still have a lot of questions about religion, not my faith, I'm straight on that, but religion period. I mean, I know a lot of people consider themselves "saved" and feel like they're getting a first class ticket to heaven when they die. But, what about little kids in Pakistan? Are they not "saved" because they might have never heard of Jesus Christ? Are you not "saved" if you might have lived a number of years on this planet doing all the right things in life, but when you hear about Jesus and you're not totally sold on him? Are deaf and/or blind people not saved because they can't hear and/or read the word of God?
So yeah, I was curious to see the movie. Not that I was going expecting for Bill Maher to give me all of life's answers. I just wanted to see what people's reactions were going to be when he went around asking questions...and get a laugh or two in the process.
I was planning on going to see the movie by myself because nobody I knew was effing with it at all. Until I heard from a friend of mines, Fadia, who just so happens to be Muslim, who said she'd roll with me because she was genuinely curious about the film too. From that point on, my anxiousness only increased. Not because I, a Christian, was rolling with a Muslim to watch a film that mocks every religion under the sun. I was just nervous, just because...I knew this movie, although made by a comedian was gonna be some heavy shit. I was also nervous because I actually agreed with a good portion of what Maher had been saying in interviews in the days leading up to the film's release. As much as I think Scientology sounds like the cookiest shit ever, I can sorta understand how someone not raised up to be Christian can look at Christianity with a side-eye. So when he compared the two in an interview, I was mad because it kinda sorta sounded like it could make sense.
Then I remember hearing another interview where Maher felt that "faith" is too often used as a crutch or enabler for people to do crazy shit. Now that, I can agree with. The U.S. wreaking havoc on the Middle East in the name of oil, er, democracy is NOT a mission from G-O-D. That's a mission from G-W-B. But then Maher said some shit about faith only being useful to people who ain't got shit else, like prisoners serving life sentences. That I can't agree with...
But yeah, I was supposed to go see the movie last night...buy my friend flaked out on me. Why? I don't know, I didn't ask. I was kinda relieved. Because by that time I was really feeling strange about going to see it.
So right after that, I hopped in the car to head to head over a friends house and just chill out. In case you don't know, the CD player in my car has been acting a fool lately. I have to be very careful about what I put in there because there's no guarantee that it will ever come back out. So far its been a manageable problem because the two CD's that I have put in there since its been acting up have been great. The first one was some fresh out of the studio new shit from the homie Yelawolf. After the CD player finally decided to relinquish that CD I had to make sure the next one to potentially get stuck in there had to be something I didn't mind hearing everyday all day. So I popped my Goodie Mob Soul Food in there...so yeah, I've been listening to Soul Food endlessly for the last month or so.
So yeah, to bring all of this together for you...I was about to see Religulous. Got flaked on. Hopped in the car and Goodie Mob was playing. The crazy thing about this is not the fact that of all CDs to be stuck in the car it was Soul Food which is pretty much closest thing you can get to Gospel rap without entering the halls of corniness. It was the fact that the CD was on the last song on the album, "The Day After." Yeah, THAT song. Anyone that owns this album and has heard this song knows exactly how I'm feeling right now.
80% through the song playing, I was just tripping off of how out of all the songs that could be playing on my radio right now, THIS one pops up. But then Cee-Lo’s verse came on and I was immediately taken back to my Sophomore year in high school when I first heard the song and heard Cee-Lo say:
I know of a place not too far away
That maybe you and I can both go someday
But I gotta make sure cause I ain't tryin' to stay here
Don't y'all realize that the end is so near
But don't have fear cause you still got time
I hope you wanna come when I'm done with the rhyme
Let me explain so you won't claim you didn't know
And you can make sure that this is where you wanna go
It's all about preparing yourself for the return
And a trip to your soul is the only way you'll learn
But if you choose not to go that ain't my concern
I guess in hell you'll just have to burn
The devil will tell lies and try to trick yo soul to receive it
They tell you that my Lord ain't coming' back and you believe it
Regardless if you listen to me
In the end we'll see...
Needless to say, that verse effed my head up all over again.
Since that was the last song on the album I let go ahead and start over. Soul Food opens with the intro "Free" where Cee-Lo is singing/praying. The first word out his mouth is "Lord." Of course I knew this, but its signifigance wasn't pointed out to me until a year or so ago when I interviewed Goodie Mob about the album, I don't remember which one said so, but I do remember one of them pointing out to me that the first word uttered on the album was "Lord" and that they meant to do that.
But yeah, at this moment I was just thinking about everything else on the album how shied, this album probably had more of an effect on my faith, spirituality and world views than any church preacher or church person has had. Hell I even started thinking about the album cover where all four of them were praying at a dinner table and how Khujo, Big Gipp and T-Mo were praying with their hands open facing up and how Cee-Lo was the only one praying with his hands folded. That image in it self showed me that while people may have different faiths and beliefs they can still co-exist with one another and come to the same table and eat, right?
That takes me back to the original reason why I wanted to see the film Religulous. I wanted to see the ridiculousness that a handful of people have brought into the world via religion...that was all. Like I said earlier, I'm not a super-religious person. I don't think that other people aren't "saved" because they weren't raised the same way I was. I do think that unfortunately, religion has become one of the most divisive ideas on the planet. We can't be cool with each other because we don't practice the same religion or pray differently? I have the right to blow you to smithereens because you ain't getting down with my program, and vice versa? I'm not even going to get into the folks who have turned church into a business that laces their pockets and ravages the pockets of others.
I ain't gonna lie, I'm still curious to see it, hell, I might still mess around and see it. I don't think Maher is bad dude for wanting answers for questions. Contrary to popular belief, dude isn't an atheist. He just doesn't believe in religion and I agree with him on some of his viewpoints towards it.
But at the end of the day, I might still go see the movie, but only when I think I'm ready. I don't think I was quite ready to see that film last night, that's probably why I was nervous. Not saying that I could have been swayed, but hey, anything is possible.
I guess the string of events that happened last night wasn't necessarily God telling "if you pay to see this movie I'm striking you where you stand." I think he was just pulling me to the side for a minute to make sure my mind was right before I did.
All praises due...