insert: Chapter 1 “Fighting my Demons” 2015

Posted: March 17, 2014 in Fighting my Demons
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This Sunday was like no other. For 11 years I pastored this church, and for 11 years I have done everything but been good to my congregation. They don’t know the half of the mess I’ve created. Its like every time I sit across the pool pit and look over my followers, its hard to stay focused on the word: I have an illegitimate son, a mistress, and crooked politicians looking me in the eyes for answers.

My wife, Jameela, doesn’t even come to church with me anymore, because she is too ashamed. I don’t blame her either.

“Holla Luya, salvation and glory,” the choir sang. “Honor and power unto the Lord our God. The Lord our God, he is wonderful.”

As always I let the choir die down before I spoke, “May we all bow are heads.”

The crowd always seems to wait in silence with me, but half the heads in the crowd aren’t bowed.

“You may all be seated,” I say as always. It’s the same every Sunday week after week after week.”

My father was a pastor and so was his, back before it was ok for a black man to have a church. My blood line of preachers dates back to the 1800’s, but I doubt that any other one of the great men I came from was as crooked as me, or more anointed at that.

I had a very huge following in the beginning, but lately, almost all the original families that I grew up with, left the congregation because of all the talks of scandals, money laundering, and, supposedly use of whores. Nothing ever proved, might I add, except for my 7-year-old son, Malcolm, that the church seems to forgive me for.

After speaking from the book of Job 9:10 I ask the crowd to bow again.

“You see the Lord does great things that are unsearchable and miracles that cannot be numbered,” I read again this time slow enough for the crowd to take in what it was that I was saying. I continued, “ You see every 7 years or so the Lord will make a great man. A man like no other man. This man will be given more talents, more skills, more strength than any other man he knows. This great man will be tested time and time again, and these tests will only make him stronger because he will have been told already by God himself that he is great.

No one seemed to be really catching the word. As a preacher and a toastmaster certified speaker, I know when and how to engage my crowd. It was my gift, my calling, to preach.

“Is there any great men here today?” I asked knowing that this humble crowd would never put themselves on a pedestal. I knew that most of my congregation was laborers and employees within this blue-collar community.

“Before we cut to tides and offerings I would….” I started.

“I am!” a familiar voice called out from the crowd. “I am great.”

I looked at him and then my secretary/his mother, then slowly said, “Malcom, you are great. Would you like to come up to the pool pit and tell the crowd what makes you special?”

He looked at his mother who nodded. The whole church was on their feet clapping as he made his way up to the pool pit, looking just like me might I add. After taking the microphone out of my hand he first bowed his head ever so slightly, as if he had studied me for his whole life. He held the mic in his hand to adjust it to his face with so much ease, a tear came to my eyes… to be continued…

Terrence LeRoy Baker 3-17-14

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