Baptists, Basketball, and BB King
Life is a funny thing. If anything is certain, it is that life is a funny thing. Though I understand you may struggle, and though there is suffering in the world, it helps to find the humor in it all. The joke for me, includes Baptists, basketball, and BB King.
Let me get the crazy out of the way.
After earning a degree in religious studies, my first wife left me with only a note. My eyes have felt the sting of pepper spray and my body has been kicked down steps by local deputies.
Though I now sleep is a comfortable bed, I have slept on streets.
My mind has been blown on three separate occasions, and but for the will and mystery of God, I should not be here.
I have been around the world and back again.
There is original music recordings, drawings, smiles, stories, and good vibes. All from Source, through me.
Both praise and scorn have been cast my way. I have been both a beggar and one that bestows blessings (thought blessings are bestowed by all). My conversations are held with millionaires and those struggling to eat.
Michelle and I were divorced after two years of marriage, but only apart for a brief moment of time. We tell everyone our divorce did not work out. I have no biological children, though I have helped raise hundreds of kids.
Long story short, I have earned the right to speak on things that matter. In a very real way, I feel like life is an internship and I am still learning.
I am grateful for everything. Everything is a lesson. Three of my teachers are the Baptists, basketball, and BB King.
Believe it or not, I was the president of the Baptist Student Union at the University of Tennessee. At the time, it made sense. The people were gracious and kind, the leadership was compassionate, and after all, I was raised as a Baptist.
These days, I am far removed from orthodox Baptist thought, but I hold the friends I made in those days dear. I could talk about the differences, but what about the similarities?
True dialogue looks for similarities as well as the differences.
It is not for me to sit under a Baptist teaching, but neither is it for me to sit under any teacher for very long. Do you have a propensity for love? Then we are on the same team.
I owe a whole big bunch to the Baptists. They were several of the steps that have led me here.
One of the best gifts they gave me are friendships. Bill Crossland was one of those gifts among so many.
Basketball taught me so much in my early life. Not about competitions and winning, but about the process.
Many nights were spent outside my house around a goal my father installed at my request. That driveway was audience to my doing drills, listening to music, and imagining stories of “the glow”.
Basketball and the Baptists carried me to Zambia for a month of my life. It was there that I learned to listen more than teach. Zambia taught me that the world was bigger than I had imagined, yet smaller than most think.
I am not a spectator of many games, but I am an enthusiast for the drive it takes to enjoy playing the game. About the only part I play now is described in the article, Love Is a Game of Horse.
Some of you may know more about BB King than I do. Others might only know him from a diabetic supply commercial.
BB King is, and was, the man. He played and sang with Clapton, U2, and many, many other great musicians. He was a blues guitar player that gained a following and commercial success.
BB King claimed to be there when they crucified his Lord.
What BB King did for me, was introduce me to George Sutton. It may have been that George Sutton introduced me to BB King, but in a world of mystery, one can never be quite sure.
George Sutton and I came from different worlds. I spent a summer under his teaching outside a Seven Eleven convenient store in Falls Church, Virginia.
While the aforementioned Baptists were paying me a stipend to teach their kids, I was getting an education “after hours” on life and religion, love and loss, compassion and humility.
It all started with Baptists, basketball, and BB King.
Summing It All Up
Bob Dylan sang a song early on called, “With God On Our Side”. Towards the end, he asks the question, “how much do I know, to talk, out of turn, you might say that I’m young, you might say I’m unlearned?”
I am not young anymore, but you may say I am unlearned if you do not know my story.
I do not feel compelled to throw my resume and experience in the face of every conversation. If my experience has done anything, it has only brought me to the next learning or the next conversation.
So yeah, I got skills. Sure, I have a reason for believing in hope, love, gratitude, grace, and wonder. The Tao, or God, or Source, or whatever you want to call this life force that is available to everyone, has its hand in me and its pulse beats through my soul.
Big deal. Big freaking deal.
We all have that. My point has never been to speak on what a wonder I am, or even what a wonder God is to me, but to encourage others to hear that Voice.
But if I owe any of it to anything, it starts with the Baptists, basketball, and BB King.
Every person, experience, or situation, is only a lesson to be learned. We are less victim and more student. When we toss away blame and discover what we need to learn, then we get to move on.
And the moving on is what makes us vibrant, alive, and full of life energy.
Take in the love, understand your splendor, and share kindness with others, as if your love and splendor depended on that sharing.
The creator of worlds is just as happy to know you as you might be to know the creator of worlds. The creator is as thankful for you as you should and could be for it.
You are doing okay. If you are not doing okay, in just a little while, you will be doing okay. You are a miracle. Expect to be treated as such.