Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

When I think about giving to God, I usually don’t think about the amount that I give to Him, because I already know what I’m supposed to give to Him, especially during “Offering Time.”  I already know that I’m supposed to give Him 10% of whatever I have earned, and then whatever my heart desires to give Him after that.  I give cheerfully, because I love God enough to know that everything already belongs to Him anyway, so I’m not really missing out on anything by giving Him my 10%.  So for me, giving to Him is really not that big of a deal, simply because my love for Him supersedes any ill-will that may spring up due to my “supposed” lack of resources on my end after having given God what is due to Him.

As God directed me to read all four chapters of Malachi, God unraveled the mystery behind tithes and offerings, the mistake most churches make by quoting Malachi 3:8-10, and what we should do as Christians in relation to giving to God.  For Him, giving is in two parts, and because we have taken those three verses out of context, we miss the BIGGER PICTURE that God was relaying to His people, both then and now.

Malachi 3:8-10 (NIV) states:

8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse —your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing   that there will not be room enough to store it.

Right away, most pastors, preachers, and teachers state to congregations around the world that we have to give God His due tithes and offerings because if we don’t, we are robbing Him of what He is due.  And in doing that, we GUILT people into giving to God 10% of our earnings plus whatever else they want to give to Him, instead of encouraging them to give from a willing heart.  Because people don’t want to sin against God and are afraid of the consequences of not giving to Him, they give out of fear, and not out of love.

Now, I am not debating the right-ness or wrong-ness of interpreting those verses that way, for it is true, we owe God tithes and offerings.  There’s no getting around that.  But God challenged me to consider the entire book of Malachi and allow Him to teach me what is important about the phrase “the whole tithe” in verse 10.  See, there are two parts to giving:  the tangible, world-view worth, and the intangible, spiritual connection attached to what we give.  It is the latter portion that we miss from taking Malachi 3:8-10 out of context.

“The whole tithe” relates to the fact that two chapters back, God was speaking to the Israelite nation about their lack of giving the BEST to God.  If we recall, back in those days, the people gave to the temple whatever resource they had to give, including livestock, grain, tapestries, and mineral ores like gold, silver, and so on.  Of their resources, they were to give 10% to the temple plus whatever else they had to give, on top of the yearly sacrifices they needed to make for atonement.  At this time, the nation of Israel had no problem giving their 10%.  Their issue was that they would give God 10% of their WORST, instead of giving Him their BEST:

8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 1:8)

Furthermore:

“When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the Lord. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king, ” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations. (Malachi 1:13-14)

The Israelites were either so greedy or so fearful of having little for themselves, that they gave God the worst animals for sacrifices, tithes, and offerings, keeping the best animals for themselves.  Instead of giving God the fattest calves, bulls, oxen, and sheep, the Israelites (and their priests) had the audacity to give God the sick, lame, and blind animals to God and offer them up to Him as though that was what He deserves for giving them life.

As God revealed this to me, I began to understand what He meant by “the whole tithe.”  For God, He is not as concerned about the tangible dollar figure that we equate to 10% as He is concerned about the tithe and offering being of THE BEST.  Far too often, we give to God out of fear of not having enough for ourselves, or we give God our worst so that we can keep the best to ourselves.  And it’s not just limited to the tithe and offering.  That goes for anything we have to offer God, including our time, our devotion, our praise and worship, our conversations, our jobs, EVERYTHING we have to give to God.

Think about it:  have we really given God our best, or are we giving our all to our bosses, our friends, our families, our spouses, our children, our own selves, and then giving God our leftovers?  Has God done so much for us, only to receive the best of what we DON’T want rather than what He is owed out of love and not fear?

God revealed to me that when He said to us that we rob Him in tithes and offerings, He’s not just stating that we rob Him of 10%.  We are actually robbing Him of 10% of our BEST, and when we know we can do better, we ought to do better.  That’s why He states in 3:10-12:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe, ” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

God wanted the Israelites to entrust Him with their best, but tested them by allowing some of their resources to not be as well-off as the best, so that they would have the OPPORTUNITY to show God that, “Yeah, I know some of my cows are looking one-eyed and limping, but God deserves the best, so I’ll keep Sicky and give God the Big One over there because I love Him and trust that He will give me more ‘Big Ones’ than ‘Sicky’s’ in time.”  In testing God by giving Him the best, God will then cause the overflow to take place, where the BEST, even after giving God what He is owed, will far outnumber the worst of the bunch, and the people around us will call us Blessed because of it.

God wants us to have it all, and to enjoy the fruits of our labor while we have the chance.  But while we’re enjoying them, we must always remember to give God what He deserves.  He wants it all, but only asks us for a sliver of the best we have.  Let us not slack off in our giving to God.  Let us give God the best we have to offer Him, for He has done far too much for us to get only the leftovers, like a dog begging for scraps at the dinner table.  Give Him the best, He deserves it.

In conversation with a fellow blogger on WP, we fell into one of the age-old debates about the existence of God.  One thing he said to me really stuck out in my heart and mind:

What makes you so sure your God holds the answers.  What about other Gods?  Every religion in practicality preaches similar concepts.  I appreciate your concepts and your comment however you seem to be so certain that yours is right and I find this to be a huge logical flaw.  You are using things written about God by men, which have been shown to be historically inept, to confirm your notions about said God.  This is the circular argument that I’ve provided.   I have had all my questions answered.  Sure I don’t know everything, but I have enough evidence to not support the notion of your God or any gods for that matter.

When I sat and thought about what he said, it got me thinking about the verse in the Bible which talks about God’s wisdom:

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; [a]20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”[b] 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

I began to, as I seem to always do these days, reexamine my relationship (the way I relate) with God, and realized that because I do not have all the answers about God the way atheists and scientists have all the answers about the non-existence of God, I actually place myself in exactly the position I am supposed to be with God, because by not knowing everything I want to know about God, it forces me to have a relationship with God so that I can obtain the answers I seek from Him.  Unlike some doubters who run away from God because of their questions, I actually run closer to God the more I doubt and question my faith.  Only by not making Christianity so absolute can God then reveal to me the answers to many of the questions I have about Him.  My faith in Him never wavers, for just like I don’t know everything about my wife, yet know enough to know that I want to know more every day, I don’t know everything about God.  But the little I do know is more than enough to make me want to know more and more about Him every day.  And I can’t do that without having a relationship with Him.  I choose not to have all the answers.  I choose to not have absolute, cold, hard, calculated theorems and proofs about Him.  But what I choose to do is to allow Him to lead and guide me to the answers I seek from Him day after day.  I love Him just that much.

Does that make me a fool?  Pretty much.  But I’ve learned that being a Christian isn’t about knowing everything there is to know about God and being able to prove people wrong.  Being a Christian is about recognizing that I am flawed, and I don’t know it all, and despite my lack of wisdom and perfection, Someone loved me enough to save me from myself and give me the opportunity to walk with Him daily and receive Wisdom that is out of this world.  My prayer for everyone is that we stop believing that we as people in general, and Christians in particular, know everything there is to know about God.  Instead, let’s actually be exactly what we’re supposed to be, foolish, doubtful, questioning, inquisitive, and thirsty for knowledge.  In our foolishness, God makes us wise. 😀

As I was looking for spiritual guidance on the posting “As I Watch the World Burn,” I looked up Matthew 5:45, which states,

that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Knowing what I know about exegesis and context, I read further to ensure that Jesus was trying to say to the people that, because it “rains on the just and on the unjust,” good people have to sometimes suffer with the bad.  As the context reads, then (Matthew 5:43-48):

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[g] and hate your enemy.’  44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[h]45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[i] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[j] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

God revealed to me that for over a decade and a half, I have misinterpreted His Word to mean that good people have to suffer with bad people sometimes because it “rains on the just and on the unjust.”  In reality, Jesus was illustrating to His people back then, and today, that we are to unconditionally love all people, the good and the bad because God Himself loves all people, and demonstrates this unconditional love by allowing His “sun [to] rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,” two of His precious blessings that allow all of us, all of mankind, to exist on the planet.  If God could love us that much, even when we don’t deserve His love, then how much more should be expected of us, we who don’t have the right to judge anyone for any deeds good or bad?

It alarms me to know that so many of the past doctrines I have been taught have been based on misinterpretations of what Jesus was saying to His people, or what God is saying to us today through the texts.  Yes, it is true that sometimes, though we may be innocent, must suffer along with the guilty for whatever reason, like if I’m hanging with my fellas while they rob a store, and I get locked up though I knew nothing about the robbery and did not participate in it.  But the Scriptural reference of Matthew 5:45, as it relates to the context from which the Word was spoken, does not directly justify the reason for it.  Yes, it does rain on the just as well as the unjust, but not because we as the faithful have to suffer with the faithless.  Rather, His sun shines on us all, and He sends rain to us all, because despite the disparity between the faithful and the faithless, God has enough love within Himself to cover us ALL.

Having been revealed this, I pose this question to you.  Are there any direct Scriptural references (those that can be exegied) that correlate to the “good suffering with the bad?”  If so, what are they?  I can infer all day long that Matthew 5:45 implies that God’s love is unbiased, just as His wrath is unbiased (hence, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, Health Insurance, etc.).  But if it is God’s Will, I would like to have something tangible that I can see within His Word.

😀

It is amazing how one simple thought can change everything I know.  The people I work with on a daily basis often tell me, “I wish I would have seen myself the way I see myself now, back then, because things would be so different.”  People I work with and talk to often find themselves stuck in hardships and negative attitudes about themselves, their lives, and their situations because they have become so accustomed to viewing their lives through the lens of a negative attribute, or a limited scope, or a particular method of existence.  It is only when they allow themselves to see themselves differently, or view their situations differently, or view their past circumstances differently, that they can then break free from the bonds that have held them back for so long, and begin to move forward with a new perspective on life.  In therapy, we call it “Reification,” in which a person forgets that he or she has the power to redefine his life by simply viewing it from another perspective.

For example, if I call myself “stupid,” then every thought and action I take will be predicated on the notion that I am indeed “stupid.”  Every time I do something and it doesn’t go well, even if it’s accidental, I will refer myself to being the “stupid one that never gets anything right,” and will continue to define myself that way until something, or someone, or Someone wakes me up and tells or shows me that I am “not stupid.”  Even then, it is up to me to take on that new mantra of “not stupid” and reorient myself around that fact.  Because I have believed for so long that I was “stupid,” the fact that someone tells me that I am “not stupid” does not necessarily change how I feel about myself.  I have to believe in it myself before the real change takes effect, and then practice being “not stupid” and understanding the consequences thereof.

What is God trying to say?  For many of us, we define our lives based on what happened to us, or what someone said to us, or what someone did to us, and we orient ourselves based upon those definitions not because of those events, but how we thought about and responded to those events.  We allowed people to tell us that we’re not smart enough, we’re not daring enough, we’re not bold enough, we’re not rich enough, or we’re not connected enough, to do the things God has given us the vision to do.  We’ve allowed people to steal our innocence, take control of our courage, snatch our will to live away, and laugh in our faces while we cower in fear.  We allowed people to define our very existence, and in doing so, allowing the enemy to snuff us out, bring us down, and keep us from reaching the Destinies that God has ordained for our lives.  And we allowed it because we, whether we realize it or not, have the power (by God) to think ourselves to be different than those around us would imagine us to be.

Whether we want to admit it our not, we are victims only because we think ourselves to be victims.  We are foolish only because we think ourselves to be foolish.  We are depressed only because we think ourselves to be depressed.  We are ugly only because we think ourselves to be ugly.  We are crippled only because we think ourselves to be crippled.  We are immature, pathetic, unintelligent, moronic, schizophrenic, angry, idiotic, incapable, run-down, “never gonna amount to anything,” mean, selfish, too much, and the list goes on, because we allowed others to label us as such, and we accepted the labels given to us, and then thought ourselves to be what others have made us to be, no matter the circumstance.

I serve a God who is able to give me a different thought about who I am in Him, and in doing so, give me a Paradigm Shift, a thought, idea, or concept that completely changes the landscape or perspective of everything around me.  God has the ability to allow me to see my life differently than I’ve ever seen it before.  He has the power to make me a believer when I want to doubt, to make me rich when the world says I’m poor, to make me happy even though life says I should be depressed, to lift me up when life tries to press me down, to give me peace in the midst of struggle and war, to make me a visionary when others say my dreams don’t make any sense.  God has the power to give me power over my past circumstances, no matter what it may have been.  Whether it is the fact that my father tried to kill me, my brother, and my mother when I was 3, or whether my friend was raped for 5 years from the age of 7 by her stepfather, or that my brother in Christ lost his job at 58, regardless of what it is, I have the power to overcome anything that has happened to me because of how I think of myself in relation to the situation.

Yes, things happen to us that are beyond our control, and for a while, it hurts.  But we have to recognize that despite the situation or the circumstance, our God is a God who has the ability to give us a mind of victory when we want to be defeated.  We have the power to think ourselves differently than our circumstances would dictate.  We have to be willing to shift the paradigm by which we define ourselves, and then have the courage to overcome the obstacles that come with the shift.  It is not easy being different than what others would think we should be.  It’s not easy being the outcast, being the radical one.  Nevertheless, God has created all of us for a purpose, for a destiny, and until we think ourselves to be different than what the world would believe, we are nothing more than pawns in the world’s game, muses to people who will be there for us today, and against us tomorrow.  We must realize that God has great plans for us, and in order to make that first step, we must first embrace the Paradigm Shift that states that we are who God says we are, no matter what we or others may think.

You are one thought away from the first day of the best days of your life.  Think about it.

😀

I have often wondered to myself why people of faith allow themselves to suffer because of their inability to faithfully walk in the path God has lain before them.  Many times, I have seen people who know that they’re supposed to do great works for God, but choose not to, and suffer because of it.  I have seen ministries falter because the leadership failed to hear the voice and command of God and went a different direction.  I have seen churches who were once pillars of communities for over a century suddenly wither to nothingness because the leadership chose to follow the crowd’s desires instead of God’s.  And all the while, I’ve had to deal with the pain of watching the world burn, and not being able to do anything about it.

Many times as Christians, we are given visions and plans of great works from God, and when we submit these visions to the people, they are not received very well.  Many times, these same people, who claim that they are following the same God, feel as though these visions or plans are not in line with what God wants because it doesn’t look like what they believe God would want in their eyes.  As a result, we, the ones who have the vision and are ready to proceed, have to wait on God to touch the hearts and minds of those who stubbornly kick against the pricks and fight against Him.  In waiting, we have to watch God pick apart those who cannot and/or will not fall in line until they get in line, or are permanently removed from the equation.

I thought that going through the struggle was hard, but I find that in walking with God, the hardest thing to do is to watch people suffer, the guilty who won’t move out of God’s way, and the innocent that are damaged collaterally through the link between them and the guilty.  It is hard to see so many people not receive the benefits of ministries that could be taken to the next level because of men and women in leadership positions that stubbornly hold onto “the way things are.”  It is hard to see lackluster performances from people who relentlessly continue to do things the same way year after year, even though the way does not work.  It is hard to see kids feel neglected by church officials because more attention is given to adult ministries than are the youth.  It is hard to have these ideas, concepts, plans, visions, and innovations in our hearts and minds, and yet when spoken out loud to the ones who should help us, they laugh, scoff, and get angered because they can’t see with their eyes what they should be able to see through their faith.

So as I watch the world burn, I pray that God give me enough patience to endure what I have to see, enough kindness and love to see them through the process, and enough faith to know that one way or another, God’s Will shall be done.  And there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.

This third part to the “Looking to Jesus” series is based on a comment made in Part II by my sister in Christ mysterytopursue.   In Part II, God had revealed to me that the Bible’s primary utility is to show us who Jesus is and how He is the foundation for which all other Words of God are authenticated (1 Corinthians 3).  Without Jesus, nothing that we do matters, for Jesus is the foundation, the “Chief Cornerstone” by which all ministries, movements, enlightenments, and revelations are built upon, and if He is the foundation, and it is God’s will for these mysteries to be fulfilled, they will surely stand and transcend time, just like the Bible itself has.

Mysterytopursue commented:

Just one thing, though… I’m not sure it made it clear that God’s Word is Jesus, not specifically the Bible. The Bible’s just part of God’s Word because the Hoy spirit inspired it.

I took a moment to think, pray, and listen for God to give me further revelation on this matter, because my intention is not to cause division among the saints.  Rather, and I thank God for this medium to do so, I want to gain further understanding on matters that do cause division so that, if possible, we all may be on one accord.  So here’s what God said to me about the concept of God’s Word being Jesus.

I must consider the fact that John 1:1 states that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Furthermore, John 1:14 states that, “…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us….”  Now, I understand that Jesus is the Word which the author John is referencing, and therefore, the Word is Jesus.  So, in essence, MTP is right, that the Word is Jesus, and as stated in Part II, the Bible is the direct reference to Jesus Himself, as He is prophecized about in the Old Testament, lives, dies, and is reborn in 4 books of the New Testament, and then written further about in the New Testament as the FOUNDATION by which I should model my life after.

BUT, the issue still remains, if Jesus is the Word, and the Bible is not, then how do I know that Jesus is the Word, if not for the words in the Bible that say that Jesus is the Word?  If the Bible says that Jesus is the Word, but the Bible is not God’s Word (God’s spoken/written words to His people), then how can Jesus be the Word?  I have to consider the fact that Jesus DID NOT WRITE anything in the Bible.  I oftentimes dupe myself into believing that God and Jesus wrote actual words in the Bible, but the reality is that they did not write anything in the Bible.  Yet, I still believe in what the Bible says, and I believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is, even though He did not write anything in it.  I believe that He told Nicodemus that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  I believe that He told Peter that “…upon this rock, I shall build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  I believe that Jesus told His disciples that “In my Father’s House are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.”  I believe that He fed 5,000 men (not including women and children), that He walked on water, that He healed the sick and raised the dead, that He gave sight to the blind and talking to the mute and hearing to the deaf.  I believe that He got on Calvary’s cross and died for me, then rose again so that I may be able to receive the same Spirit that dwells in Him and perform miracles in my life in Jesus’s name for God’s glory.

But I would never, NEVER know these things about Him if I didn’t have the Bible to teach those things to me, and if the Bible are not God’s Words (divinely inspired by the same transcendent Spirit of God to be written by men), then what is the point of even believing in it?  Yes, Jesus is the Word, but I cannot discount where I got that information from.  Does this mean that the Bible is the ONLY Words that come from the mouth of God, not at all.  For God speaks to us all the time, giving us different Words that inspire us to do amazing things.  But I will always have to refer to the Old Landmark, Jesus Himself, and the way to Him is through the text that led me to Him in the first place, the Bible.

In sum, how do I know that Jesus is the Word?  For the Bible tells me so.

😀

This past Mother’s Day weekend was probably one of the hardest Mother’s Days I’ve ever had to endure as I watched the tears fall from my mother’s face.  My siblings and I were on program to sing for the dinner held at the church, and my brother, because of a heated debate about having to “pay to sing,” left the engagement before it even started.  My mother, in a mad scramble, tried to get him to come back, but that attempt failed, and as the program began, my mother sat in her seat, tears rolling from her eyes as if someone had stabbed her in the chest.  I thought she was crying because she missed her grandmother, and it made it difficult a little bit to sing “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men watching her bawl. However, we managed (my sister and I) to get through the song without a hiccup, and the program rolled on.  It was later that I found out that my mother was crying because she felt as if neither my brother nor myself wanted to really be there to spend time with her, despite the fact that this Mother’s Day Dinner was a church-sponsored event, AND my mother is the “Pastor’s Wife,” making her the undeclared mother to everyone in the church.  My heart sank to the center of the Earth, and I’ve had a hard time bringing it back to the surface, because for the first time, my mother, as strong, calculated, and nearly emotion-less as she is with me, demonstrated vulnerability and weakness as it relates to our relationship to her IN THE CHURCH, and it has been bothering my heart ever since.

As a P.K. (Pastor’s Kid), I’ve had to learn how to give my emotions a backseat when my mother and father are in the “roles” of Pastor and Wife at the church.  I’m usually the last person to get a hug from my mom, or to be able to talk to her about what I’m going through, or to get an encouraging word from her, or even to say hi, not because she doesn’t want to, but most of the time, she can’t.  She’s helping others get through their issues, giving out hugs after service to every single person who has lined up just to say “hi” and “I love you.”  She’s going to the hospitals at 2 AM to pray for others, and rallying people together for meetings and prayer and such.  And as she is doing all these things, I’m usually just sitting in the background, hoping to get the chance to be like everyone else and say hi not to the “First Lady” or to the “Pastor’s Wife,” but to MY MOTHER.  As a result, I’ve learned to shut my emotions toward my mother down while at church or during church functions so that in case I don’t get the chance to speak to my mother on Sunday, or on Wednesday, or on any other day at church, I don’t get crushed.  After all, I still get to see her on other days and speak, laugh, have a good time, and all that mushy stuff.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten used to it and learned to enjoy the time I do get to have with her, and to allow others to enjoy the time they have with her, for she’ll always be my mother no matter what.

So whem my sister told me what my mother said about the dinner, I found myself rethinking my position as a son and a P.K. at while at the church, because I truly had gotten past looking at my mother as my mother at church to make room for others to be with my mom as the “First Lady.”  I never looked at church being another opportunity to “hang out” with my mama because it never dawned on me that possibly, my mama sees church as a way to hang out with me.  I never imagined that maybe being at church, going to church activities, fellowshipping with the saints, and praying together could be my mom’s way of spending time with me, my wife, and my kid.  It bothered my spirit because it almost felt like a double edged sword cutting me both ways.  When I shut down and treat church functions as church functions, being emotionless as I can be so that my feelings don’t get hurt when I can’t be a son and my mother can’t be my mother, I get gut-checked because my mother wants to spend time with me; but when I want my mother to be my mother at church, I get gut-checked because she’s being a mother to about 2-300 people and does not have time for me.

Being a P.K. is hard sometimes.  But I am grateful to God that I do have a mother that I can sing to, and say hi to, and hug every now and then, and talk to, and hang out with.  Regardless of the occasion, make the time to be there for the ones you love, as I swallowed my pride and stayed at the dinner and kicked it with my mama for a little while.  We never know when we have seen our loved ones for the last time, so make each moment count.  Even as a P.K., I’m still a son, my Pastor is still my dad, and his Wife is still my mama.  And as long as time allows, I’ll love them with all I have in me, and I’ll wait my turn to be a son while the Pastor and Wife tends to the needs of the people, knowing that at the end of the day, we will always return to each other as family.