PREACH …

As we continue to hurl insults and political mud at each other. And as we make snap judgements on what our opponents’ motivations are, my mind goes back to a Sunday morning …

We had small televisions and three channels when I was a kid. Sunday mornings were always filled with the worst programming of the week. Overly dramatic TV preachers and amateur church programs peppered the airwaves.

I don’t know why we always kept it on in the background, while getting ready for church …but we did.

I was eating cereal and zoning out on the couch (I was probably around fourteen or so). Jimmy Swaggart was wafting through the air, railing against whore mongers and sexual deviants. As a fourteen-year-old boy, I was silently checking all the boxes in my head (“me, me, me …and me. I am going to hell!)

Suddenly, my mother came walking through the room. And without missing a beat, she quipped, “THAT man has a problem.” This was serious scoop! I needed more info. So, I put down the cereal bowl and inquired further, “what do you mean, mom? What problem?”

She stopped, turned around and taught me a lesson (in one power-packed sentence) I have never forgotten. “When someone preaches about something too much, they’re preaching to THEMSELVES.”

Mom always had a way of bottom-lining it.

Years later, my mother’s intuition was proven correct. And Mr Swaggart was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that this was his main vice. And all those times I thought he was railing against my raging hormones, he was actually railing against his own “issues.” Moms know stuff.

Throughout my life, I have silently watched people. As a writer, it’s the biggest part of my job. For me to find any human truth I have to be an observer of humanity. And I have to make those observations without judgement.

But my mother’s keen sense of psychology has proven to be true over and over again. When I hear someone assign motivations to someone else, my curiosity always piques. Mainly because I’ve found that rule of thumb to be true for me as well.

I’ve written about mercy all of my adult life. And I’ve found that it’s probably because I have such a hard time showing it. And that I SO need it …all the time.

I’m obsessed with writing about unconditional love. I’m pretty sure that obsession is me working through the complication of having been a child performer …where love is almost always attached to performance.

And I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I have been placed in the special needs community because of my life-long elitism. I NOW preach about everyone being equal in their gifts …because there was a time when I didn’t really believe that.

For me, the list goes on and on. I have NO right to judge anyone. But they leave clues. We all do …

If you talk about race ALL THE TIME, you might find that you, yourself have a problem with it. If your soap box is social justice, you might just find that you’re masking some guilt in that regard. If you’re constantly calling people “idiots” and “stupid” it’s probably a defense mechanism for hiding your own feelings of intellectual inadequacy.

I’m fascinated by conspiracy theories because I’m not really interested in conspiring against anyone or anything. But I’ve been the subject of huge, elaborate conspiracy theories; theories that threatened huge, international companies. NONE of them were ever true. But whenever I read them I instantly wondered if the people coming up with them weren’t simply telling on themselves about how THEY might operate …given the chance. I guess you could say, conspiracy theories are most likely formed by people most prone to be a part of one.

The biggest and most damning “tell” of all is when people assign motivations of greed to rich people. “He’s doing it so he can make more money” is the standard line, when judging a rich person. Usually, that greed is something the person doing the judging is wrestling with, themselves. Some rich people are greedy. Some are not. Some poor people are greedy. Some are not.

Assigning the motivation …let’s us know YOURS.

Human nature is what it is. We all run from danger because we are programmed toward self-interest and survival. We buy sale items because we want to save money …hence surviving another day. We move to better neighborhoods so our children will be safe. Again …self-interest and survival. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We all get that. But the assignment of dark motivation is often a window into someone’s own dark point of view.

My dad used to say, “when someone tells you who they are …believe them the first time.” And you can learn a lot about who someone is just by listening to what riles them up or what makes them raise their voice …or what makes them post IN ALL CAPS. Chances are that very thing is lurking deep down in their own soul.

Jimmy Swaggart taught me that in a sermon …he didn’t even know he was preaching.

R

10 thoughts on “PREACH …

  1. I liked the paragraph about assigning greed to rich people. Makes me think of people who gripe about rich folks having tax loop holes.

    I am blessed to have had a great career so far, for which I’ve stayed persistent. Most likely a couple tax brackets away from those complaining, I too have to look for tax advantages, like HSA investment that reduces my taxable income while also setting aside money to pay for medical expenses. It’s being smart. I now have enough perspective to understand how one must be strategic with handling their assets. I get it, rich folks. If you worked hard in some way and made great decisions along the way, you definitely deserve to protect what you earned!

    Many people lack perspective. Some lack perspective because they have never had exposure or had to share in similar strategic decisions with their own success. They are probably just ignorant of what goes on. Others have simply written off the people who are more successful than they are, possibly because they lack an ability or motivation to make good decisions toward their own prosperity. Or, as you pointed out, their own motivations are rooted in greed and that’s all they will ever see of the world.

    Just some thoughts. Great post, as usual!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great point. I am in a high point of my career and make good money. I too advantages such as working out of the office, HSA and I can now do catch up on my 401K. I was behind in getting started so it is a blessing to be able to do some catch up. Every year if or when a raise comes my way I try now to stay right at the take home I have now. I have inched up a little bit but I do that to preserve and have enough for in about 10 years I just may get to retire. I won’t be living the high life and still counting pennies at times but I can be comfortable to do more of what I want to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting point of view.
    I keep hearing people say Trump as a billionaire only wants to make more money of the US. Or Trump put millionaires in his cabinet to take peoples money. Now I am sure they want to preserve their profits which in turn can help the American people, but I just find it hard to believe that all these people are working to steal from the American people. Could they actually possibly care about the world we all live in and want to make it a better place?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. My experience has been that people who are already very rich aren’t as interested in more money as they are in affecting the world. Most of the mega rich people I’ve met are really good people who want to leave legacies. People without money are the ones who seem to obsess over it.

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  3. “Moms know stuff.” TRUTH! Here are a few of my mom’s never-to-be-forgotten, life lesson gems: “Be careful what you say about people. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.” “Live with me & you’ll know me.” “Your dollar is your friend so always keep a little ‘pin” money hidden for an emergency” and “If you can look yourself in the mirror at night before you go to sleep and be proud of what you see you’re in good shape.”
    Thanks for another thought provoking post, Regie. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The Bible does say ” know them that labor among you..” and it also indicates all are to avoid looking for the beam in the neighbors eye while forgetting what we have in our own. Preachers all have a problem. If they really preach the Word of God they will indeed speak something that condemns others,, unless, unless, they take Rob Bell’s advice literally …. he indicates we should forget/forsake the NT letters written 2000 years ago by those simple men and simply preach whatever we can about love.. no condemnations allowed. But then our offering of Love alone has not destroyed sin.. Only repentance and working of the blood of Jesus can do that and you do need what the Bible says to walk the path God wants all of us to walk. I agree with your assessment of Jimmy Swagart. and the day he confessed on TV and asked forgiveness, I was listening that day and forgave him. What he did hurt the kingdom of God and he finally grabbed on to a spiritual lifeline and was redeemed from his besetting sin and all that he did. Again I hold him and myself and my teaching to others to be what Jesus said to the prostitute he forgave in John 8:11 “… go and sin no more.” Of course, by Rob Bells teachings, that instruction is not needed.. he seems to believe that only love is what all of us sinners need, no legalisms, we just live the way we want to and love one another is all that is necessary.. That is a far cry from what God has had put in His Word.. YES,, no one has any right to think they are better than another, and none are good no not one. Jesus is our example. But as Jesus spoke truth so must the ministry today. More
    than ever it is needed. Excuse the book.. if it is too long feel free to delete it..

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  5. thanks Regie, your mom’s sentence will be repeated over here. Aloud. Individual-to-individual. Around a wide variety of persons and repetitive (for myself, repeated statements to me, I hear as bullshit.) Now I have a statement to help me verbally express. Terry D Patterson 805-207-2307 750 Petit Ave. Apt 207 Ventura, CA 93004

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  6. Your mother was a very wise woman. There’s a very old saying, another way of putting her lesson, “The thief thinks all others are thieves”. I think about this often when I was the evening news and clips of people shouting and calling each other names.

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  7. Not everyone runs from danger. Some overcome that flight response and willingly put themselves in danger for the sake of others. Some will assign motivations to THAT as well, I’m certain. And as you say, they’ll probably be reflecting their own personalities. But by and large, that motivation is selflessness and duty. Great post, by the way!

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