Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Unlikely Mentor Ship, a Divine Appointment: Tertullian

Being a poor twenty one year old with no assets to speak I have few possessions in life. This actually benefits me in keeping me from being carnal. I have a hard time getting all wrapped up in my possessions because I possess only two garbage bags worth of clothes, two suitcases, a satchel, an acoustic guitar and a violin. My mom always said I’d be a starving artist. If I put my value in my stuff I wouldn’t feel like I was worth much. This also does wonders on my pride. Having seriously pursued a career as a rapper I once suffered from narcissistic thoughts and attitudes. But before my sarcastic rant goes any further I’d like to tell you a story on how God never gave up on me. He was setting me up for a life changing encounter even in my darkest year, when I had absolutely no desire to know him. 2007 was a huge year for me. I graduated high school. I travelled out of the country. I abandoned the way of the Lord. My flaky foundation was finally exposed by the sudden wave of real life. I couldn’t handle it and in February of 2008 I left my family without telling them where I was going and went back to Baltimore. That period of my life was the darkest I ever experienced. I went from the frying pan to the fire when I ended up homeless in a tent, in some woods overlooking the highway. I had gone completely insane. I barely made enough money to eat, so I ate one meal a day which came was free from my job a Five Guys. The rest of my money was spent pitching in for party supplies. I was homeless but I had a healthy social life. None of my friends knew where I lived. I partied regularly, and especially enjoyed rapping in cypher whenever I got the chance. Some times I was good, other times not so much. But I was honestly content with where I was I had good friends and being an avid beer pong player I had no worries in the world. One night while I was in the woods God came through my haze and showed me reality. If I continued on in that lifestyle I was literally going to die. So out of the blue on day I told my friends, “This is it. Tonight is my last night hanging out with yall I’m getting my life together.” Then I did something truly strange. I, the homeless guy living in a tent, went to the mall and bought some new clothes. Honestly, when it was happening I did question the wisdom of it. But God was present even in my foolishness. I purchased the button down shirt pictured below.

So now you’re thinking, so what? It a shirt, big deal. Fast forward to the spring 2010. ALOT has changed in a few short years. At the time I was living with at the Russell house. Tim and Blanche were so good to me taking me in, Bruno even let me sleep in his room while he slept on the couch. Talk about sacrificial love.
Anyway, one afternoon I chillin with the boys listen to that new Sho Baraka when some how we got on the topic of my shirt. They really liked it but the words in Latin on the bottom were kinda disconcerting seeing as though none of us new what they said. I even remember several people asking me what the words meant and I had no idea. Earlier that week I had destroyed my Bob Marley shirt because it wasn’t honoring the Lord. And Bob Marley was a soul tie to not so good memories. So we looked up the word on the back of the shirt.
They are: Respice te mortalem te esse memento

They mean: Look around you, remember that you are mortal.

At that time in my life I was totally blinded. These were the words God was trying to speak to me. And there they were printed on a shirt I should have never bought. At a time when I was only willing to do the bare minimum to obey God. He spoke into my life so clearly.
I took the hint and began to study the works of Tertullian that Pastor Mike conveniently owns. He has inspired me so much, I am in awe of how God uses his words written in the 2nd century to teach and motivate me today. Sometimes it seems like his challenges to the people of Carthage are aimed right at me. You will definetley hear me talk about this guy alot. Reading his writings is what inspired me to start writing again this time for the glory of God. I only pray that God will use me half as much.

This shirt became my favorite shirt. The event of that night fell short of spectacular there was no sentimental last horrah. Dominique the partier wouldn’t die for another two years.

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