Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Crazy" Folk

 6"About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?'
 8" 'Who are you, Lord?' I asked.
   " 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. – Acts 22: 6-9

Today’s Reading: Psalms 26-28; Acts 22

Imagine this scene. Paul is in Jerusalem, facing an angry mob. Finally, gets them quiet so that he can speak his peace and this is what he says?

I bet he sounded absolutely bonkers. What’s amazing to me is that he had the courage to speak freely about what he believed in the first place.

This reminds me of something that happened recently. I just moved to Pasadena and my homie was showing me around. We walked to this really good Mexican restaurant and there was an older black man standing outside the entrance. His clothes were mildly tattered, somewhere between unkempt and homeless. He had a stammer to his stride as he walked around, speaking seemingly random nonsense to passersby. The folks who approached tried to ignore him, but the more they did so, the louder and more belligerent he got. He pushed some of them so far that they became visibly uncomfortable and picked up the pace as they hurried to their cars.

It was in one of these fits that we entered the restaurant, thankful that some less fortunate souls had removed him from our path.

However, when it was time to leave he was right outside of the door. I observed him for a second and then a calm set over me. “Maybe he isn’t as crazy as he seems” I thought to myself. “Maybe I’ll talk to him if he says something to me.”

Plus, I just finished telling my friend about how I was always taught to speak to the black folks that I come across. I can’t punk out on that now, right?

So as we exited the restaurant, our eyes met. I gave him the nod and said hello. He responded in kind and then asked if I had any change. I told him I did not but asked him how he was doing. Then we talked for a minute or two. He seemed like a perfectly nice fellow. He walked with us about half a block and as we were about to turn the corner to head home I said my goodbyes. I wished him luck and he did the same. Then he reached out his hand. Without thinking I responded in kind and we shook hands.

We both smiled.

Sometimes when we encounter people who don’t fit into our comfortable little boxes it can be scary. Paul said some crazy things to the mob of folks in Jerusalem and before he could finish they shouted him down and had him thrown in jail.

Ok, on the real… sometimes when we see something “crazy” we should be afraid. Some of these folks are not to be messed with.

But other times we should stop, wait and listen. It really may not be as crazy as we first thought.

That’s what the man outside the restaurant taught me. He just wanted to be heard and seen. He wanted his humanity to be acknowledged. The more folk fought to deny him this basic human need, the louder he shouted, demanding that they surrender it to him.

As our eyes met and we shook hands, I saw in him a reflection of me and of God. We all want to be heard. We all have something to say. Maybe if we work a little harder at listening first then we will have the opportunity to say what needs to be spoken to the world.  


  1. everyone has their own experience. because those outside of that experience, don't understand it, that does not mean that person's experience is crazy.

    simple and very real truth.

    jesus's speaking of being the son of God, appeared to be craziness to many. was he?

    this thought is not one that is dependent on situations. it is one that works across the board. understanding is subjective to one's personal experience. that being true, should another feel they are in a place to judge experience that is outside their own. wouldn't the true show of understanding be in not judging another's experience?

    my life is mine. everyone will not understand who i am or how and why i do my life as i do. at the end of the day, should you? you are not me, haven't lived my experience, which means realistically, you wouldn't understand my experience in every situation. would that make YOU crazy because you don't? if i choose to live in a place of judgment of others, yes, you would be crazy. you for not being able to understand me. not the other way around.

    goooood food cm. i feel fed.

  2. Great read, and wonderful clip. This is my first time coming to the blog, and I like what you're doing here. We need more of this on the web. Good luck!



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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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