Home > pondering, thoughts > What I learned on my 4th of July weekend

What I learned on my 4th of July weekend

It had been about 5 months since I last went home so I spent the holiday at home with my mom, my sister, and Loren (the little random baby–inexplicably part of our family). We did the whole 4th thing, watched movies and were a “family” for a few days. And on Sunday I went to church, as I always (and only) do when at home. As usual I got something good out of it.

When I do go to church, I attend St. Stephen Southern Indiana in Clarksville, Indiana. This extension of the St. Stephen Baptist Church is also pastored by Kevin W. Cosby, who preaches at both campuses on Sundays. Thank God he does so, because to be honest, Pastor Cosby is the only reason why I even go to church when I do.

I grew up in the church literally. For an extended period of time, due to my parent’s involvement and my incessant need to cause trouble, I was there almost every day. My pastor was from “the foothills of Mississippi” and was the godliest man I have ever met to say the least. He was like a grandfather, and always worked to instill the godly morals he practiced in my family. I also went to private Baptist School for a great deal of my education K-8 and half of 10th grade, so I learned the Bible as part of school. In short, I have learned and been surrounded by the Bible way too much and I know black Jesus and white Jesus very well. And neither one of these Jesus’ prepared me for what was at St. Stephen, nor any of the other churches I have attended in Kentucky have to offer. No the church isn’t bad, quite the contrary. I think it’s on the cutting edge of many things, which is not something I look for when I go to church. That and it is fundamentally different in a lot of ways from what I was taught as a child.

Well I still go out of respect, and out of a desire to learn from one of the most brilliant speakers I have ever heard in Pastor Cosby. Even in my own personal religious struggle, I recognize Pastor Cosby has an inspirational message that transcends religion and is applicable to nearly any walk of life.

On July 6, 2008 (just in case you want to get the tape) Pastor Cosby delivered another great message on the Paradox of progress, which is pretty simple if you think about it: it is impossible to gain something without losing something at the same time.

What does that mean? Personally, I want to do great things and use my abilities to help change the world. So I have to sacrifice some of the things people my age do for building a reputation and rapport with others that shows my desire to help others succeed. Or take that New Balance commercial. The subject is a young basketball player that has a committed relationship with running. After all that running, not partying and spending his time doing things his buddies, all he got was an extra burst in overtime or something like that. He may not even get to overtime to use that burst. But that extra burst is there and it is what sets apart the good from the greats. Not to mention that guy probably is probably in better shape during the game to play at a higher level, with such a focus on what he wants to do. Wrap your mind around that for a second.

Pastor Cosby’s message went on to talk about how holding on to things impedes progress in all forms of life. He asserted his message on politics, relationships, friendships, in the workforce, basically anywhere where you can achieve and not fully obtain what is meant for you. A few major quotes Pastor Cosby dropped were:

“It is possible to experience God’s good and not God’s best” (Self explanatory. You can get some of what is there for you, but by choosing to do other things you’ll miss whats right there for the taking)

“Opportunity doesn’t come without opposition” & “We focus too much on racism and not the opportunity” (I’m going to let you figure out what he meant, but I will say nothing worth having comes easy.)

“God blesses hustlers” (NO! Not the dude on the block destroying the community. People who work hard and try to make something out of nothing, LEGALLY)

“You are what you are because you had it rough” (Thank God for the struggle, it made you what you are and remember that when you become a parent and want to spoil children)

I understand some people have a problem with God. So substitute God for life, and it would still be a good motivational message you can take something from.

For me church is like the hook in Nas’ track “Can’t forget about you,” off Hip Hop is Dead: “Never on schedule, but always on time.”

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