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Disciplined Abundance 202

Theatre III – Cocoonianity

If you’re new to this blog you’ve jumped smack into “Harlem Meets Mayberry:  Black Reality, White Reality and the Way to Racial Healing.”  We’re in Part III, which is Cocoonianity (a.k.a. Taking Whitey to the Woodshed).  Part I was Brace Yourself and Part II was Hard Racial Truth.  Feel free to backtrack!

Now, to the right of the Bloodhound Tither is the proud, Mature Giver; not loud, mind you, just proud.  The Mature Giver is not loud because he is a member of Jesus’ Secret Society of Givers (Mt. 6:3).  The Mature Giver, or MG, not only gives a full 10% of his pre-tax income but also gives above that figure to causes of his own choosing.  The MG is steady and somewhat spontaneous, but his spontaneity moves in only one direction—up!  In other words, he is not “bi-polar” like the Wild Tither who gives generously on faithful weeks and cautiously on less faithful weeks.  The MG has established a “floor” of 10% no matter what, but his ceiling is higher than 10%.  God bless the Mature Giver because he tries very hard to cooperate with God on the matter of money, and many good things happen because of the Mature Giver.

Finally we come to the Disciplined Abundance Returner, or DAR.  All DARs are Mature Givers but not all Mature Givers are DARs.  DARs are a subset of MGs, sort of like pastors are a subset of ministers or surgeons are a subset of doctors.

DARs have the firepower to blow Cocoonianity sky high, and if they do, the outcome of the War on RD will be a foregone conclusion.  DARs have the God-given potential to make victory in the War on RD a matter of “when” rather than “if.”  In a word, DARs are your friends…regardless of your race.

It’s a little tricky to distinguish the MG from the DAR, sort of like trying to tell twins apart if you don’t know them well.  So let’s take a closer look at the “twins,” and soon enough identification will be a snap.

The main difference between the MG and DAR is motive.  MG’s may give out of a mix of motives including faith, guilt, fear, legalism, duty, congregational culture and gratitude.  The DAR, meanwhile, is propelled always and everywhere by just two motives:  faith and gratitude.  She is keenly aware of God’s involvement and favor in her life, and she is tickled to death to share her blessings.

The DAR has discovered, and is in fact addicted to, the “rush” that comes with releasing money into God’s hand.  DARs understand that, as Christians living under the terms of the New Covenant, they have only one non-negotiable debt, and that debt is “the continuing debt to love others (Ro. 13:84).”

Now let’s look at the issue of attaching strings to the tithe.  This means trying to steer all or part of the tithe in directions that meet with the giver’s approval.  Some MGs, especially in smaller churches, use the tithe as an instrument of influence.  DARs, meanwhile, never try to steer their tithe:  They simply pick a home church and then faithfully return 10% of their pre-tax income to that church with no strings attached.

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The Black Monopoly

sharpton-bullhorn(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

Until now, and even now, blacks have been perceived as the only victims of racial dissonance.  As such, blacks have also been considered the only ones entitled to speak out on racial issues. That’s understandable but is it wise?  Is it productive?  Not always.

My dear black friends, if you really want to make progress in the War on RD you are going to have to loosen your death grip on the racial conversation.  You’re going to have to give up your monopoly on the racial discussion and at least hear what sincere white people have to say on the issue.

The relentless beating of the “It’s a black thing:  You wouldn’t understand” drum has reached the point of not just diminishing returns but, more and more, actual losses.  When black folks shout down sincere whites, white folks are inclined to turn away in frustration.  And when deaf ears are turned, no matter the color of those ears, everybody loses.  It’s a classic manifestation of that old rehab maxim: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting better results.”

In “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” which is not exactly a pro-white book, even Malcolm X throws whites a bone by observing that many whites are intelligent.  Indeed, there are a lot of smart white people out there, and when that smartness is combined with Christian sincerity and a commitment to racial harmony, it can yield great ideas and powerful initiatives to conquer ground in the War on RD.  But not if blacks won’t even give whites a listen.

Given half a chance, the sincere white Christian is more than willing to consider legitimate black grievances.  What the sincere white Christian will not do is sympathize with emotional black tantrums or untrue, inflammatory black statements.  In other words, whites of good will can adopt righteous black indignation but they cannot and will not adopt any black view that they perceive as irrational.  Why?  Because whites of good will are sold on fighting fair, and when reason and rationality are missing, the fight cannot possibly be a fair one.  When reason and rationality leave the room the “conversation” becomes a beatdown, and beatdowns are a waste of time, a waste of breath and an aimless, fruitless flailing at shadows. (1 Co. 9:26)

What does this mean in practical terms?  For starters it means, “Do not take us to your leader!”  Many black leaders, especially the older, angrier ones, would do both colors a huge favor by exiting the stage.  You know the ones I’m talking about. Continue reading

White Guys Are People Too

del-maxresdefault(Excerpted from Harlem Meets Mayberry)

Since darkness can’t be scooped out of the room but must be blasted away by light, we now enter the Theatre of Hard Racial Truth.  Here we will snoop around and focus our flashlights on whatever racial dysfunction we can find, and we will do so without bias, without fear and without sentimentality.  That means that we’ll neither attack on the basis of race nor withhold truth on the basis of race.

A good place to start is by looking at the white man.  Why?  A) Because there are a lot of white men and they have a lot of money and influence and B) Because white men have been voted by America as “The Group Least Likely to Give a Damn,” and we want to know if they really deserve that distinction.

Having spent my whole life as a white guy I have some insight to share with ladies of both colors as well as with black gentlemen.  If you’re not a white guy or haven’t spent much quality time with white guys, you’ll do well to read this primer on what makes white guys tick.

The first thing you must know is that inside every nerdy white man there’s a cool black man dying to break out.  Most white guys will deny this, of course, but the evidence is conclusive.  You can grasp this concept by watching a 30-second video.  Simply type, “Office Space white guy rapping” on your search bar and watch.  You’ll see a nerdy white office worker named Michael Bolton (no, not that Michael Bolton) miserably stuck in morning traffic, singing along with raunchy hip-hop on his car stereo.

As a black panhandler approaches his car, Michael stops singing, turns down the stereo, locks the door and raises the window.  As soon as the beggar passes by, Michael effortlessly picks up the beat again, cranks the stereo and sings even louder than before.

When you watch this video you are catching a glimpse of the soul of almost every white guy in America.  No white man likes being stiff.  No white man enjoys being a vanilla slave to his daily responsibilities.  Every white man was once a passionate kid, and that passion has never died.  It’s just been bottled up, often with no outlet and no hope of escape.

Second, white guys love slightly forbidden humor.  They love to laugh at stuff that could get them in trouble.  White guys, to a greater extent than other folks, have never quite gotten over the feeling that their 5th-grade teacher is watching.  Because of their somewhat foreign sense of humor white guys sometimes seem to have a mean streak in them.  But that streak usually isn’t mean, it’s just mischievous.

As a consequence, the more politically incorrect something is, the funnier white guys think it is.  I believe that the white man’s penchant for forbidden humor is largely due to the fact—yes, fact—that modern American society has managed over time to cast the white man in the default role of bad guy.

Question:        What should every white man in America do first thing every morning?

Answer:           Open his bedroom window and shout to the world, “I’m sorry!”

(Note: White guys find this joke amusing.  Others find it less so.)

Wrongly or rightly, white men feel that all women and all black men usually get the benefit of the doubt (Hello, Charles Barkley!), but white men seldom get the benefit of the doubt.  This is an element of Mayberry reality.  White guys feel that if a woman or a black man makes a careless comment it’s perceived as nothing more than a careless comment, but if a white man makes a careless comment it is taken as a reflection of his cold, dark, putrid, irredeemable heart.

Larry David’s TV show, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” owes much of it popularity to this Bad White Man phenomenon.  Larry, an awkward but harmless white Jewish guy, can never catch a break.  Despite his good intentions he is routinely skewered by his wife, his friends and the community. Continue reading


Leave Them Alone!

Mary keeperIf your Bible has subheads, the story is probably entitled, “Jesus Anointed at Bethany.”  That’s a dumb title.  That’s about like a story in the sports page, about one of the most exciting games ever played, being entitled, “Waterboy Serves Gatorade on Sideline.”

The story is irresistible to the human race, not just to those who love Jesus.  Do you know the story?  You must know the story, because you can’t be a liberated layperson without knowing it.  Why?  Because it’s about you.

A better title for the story would be, “Mary Goes Down in History,” or, “What’s Really Important to God,” or even, “Sinful Woman Teaches Hypocrites the Meaning of Sincerity.”  Whatever we call it, it’s a moving story about mutual love, not a joyless account of some obscure, religious ceremony.

In “Mary Goes Down in History,” a sinful woman (maybe a whore, maybe a prostitute, maybe a thief—nobody knows for sure, so fill in the blank with your favorite weakness) basically gives Jesus a sponge bath.  She does this in full view, and over the objections, of some of the most powerful men in town.

The story is told in all four gospels because Jesus ordered that it be told wherever and whenever his story is told. (Mk. 14:9)  Each account of the story has its own nuances and adds its own flavor, so that without all four accounts we would not and could not see the full picture.  And it’s the full picture, rather than the individual accounts, that’s beautiful and exciting beyond the powers of human description (well, at least beyond Tommy Libre’s powers)!

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