Why Black Men Marry Certain Women And Others They Just Have As Girlfriends Or Sexual Partners

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Originally posted on Obnoxioustv's Blog:

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Ladies that are single and wondering why you need to read this essay.
This book is based on over 3,000 interviews conducted by Molloy and his researchers. They interviewed couples coming out of marriage license bureaus, and then a control group. The results reflect the statistical tendencies of marriage. Many of the lessons are common sense, but what sets this book apart is its specificity and the statistical backup for its assertions.

Editor’s note: One interesting fact is that this book got positive but mixed reviews on Amazon. It seems that the statistical truths that women who are A) over 35, and B) overweight are much less likely to marry were not well-received by those women who fell into those categories.

The Six Basic Guidelines For Women To Get Married
Insist on it.
If you find yourself in a…

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2013 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Church Hurts: Chapter 7 – “Prophetess”

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Judd and Pastor Sal walked out of the door of the banquet room where the church growth seminar had been held. In the hallway they greeted and shook hands with many of their pastor buddies from the various denominations. Sal was somewhat relieved to know that it wasn’t just New Jerusalem that had been needing professional help with membership and finances. For a pastor, the two went hand in hand. When your membership was low, so was your money. When your membership was high, bills got paid. As Sal and Judd greeted their last pastor friend, they went down the steps to head home. They had received a lot of helpful information that needed to be put into practice. And soon.

 

As Sal jogged over to say hello to one more pastor, Judd kept heading towards the car. He was stopped by a older lady who was standing off by herself on the sidewalk.

 

“Hey, Pastor Judd. I thought you’d be here,” said the oddly dressed woman. Judd somewhat taken aback asked, “Excuse me, but do I know you? Being a pastor we have so many visitors it’s hard to remember all their faces.” She replied, “Oh, you know me. If you don’t know me personally, I’m sure one of your friends in there can tell you who I am. They call me “The Pastor’s Prophetess”. But you can call me Prophetess.” “Okay, Prophetess. Can I help you with anything?” “I’m not here to ask for help, I’m here to help you.” “Help me?” Pastor Judd had a puzzled look on his face. “So what is it that you think I need help with?” He was getting a little annoyed with her forwardness. “Well, it’s apparent your church needs some help. Otherwise you wouldn’t be at this seminar. What is it? Membership dwindling? More bills than offerings?” “Ma’am, with all due respect, that’s none of your business.” “I wasn’t trying to offend. It’s just that God told me He wanted me to meet a man named Judd here at nine o’ clock tonight. They don’t call me the prophetess for nothing.” She smiled at him in a peculiar, knowing way.

 

Just as she was finishing her sentence, Sal walked up to him. “Hey, Judd. Sorry to keep you waiting. I had to catch up with Pastor Morris. I hadn’t seen him in years!” “Let’s get something to eat. I’m starving. That seminar went on WAY too long.” As, Sal got into the passenger seat, Judd reached for the driver seat door knob. The old lady put hand in Judd’s right hand. Something poked his skin. He looked down in his palm. In it was a business card. It very small print it read:

 

The Prophetess

The Pastor’s Prophetess

Anointed for such a time as this!

901-444-5987

 

She really did refer to herself as the pastor. He looked up to tell her thanks but no thanks, but when he looked up, she had already disappeared into the night air.

 

 

Judd sat in his office chair the next day flipping the card around with his fingers. He wondered if he should call her. Hadn’t she said that it was God who told her she’d meet him there? She even knew his name. After debating within himself, he picked up his iPhone and dialed the number. The phone rang several times. Judd decided to hang up. While he brought the phone down to press the button to end the call, he heard a faint voice coming from the phone. He slowly brought the phone back up to his ear. “Hello, Judd. I thought you’d be calling,” said the lady in her annoyingly calm voice. “How did you know it was me?” “God told me you’d be calling around this time. I am a prophetess you know.” Judd could imagine her smiling smugly on the other end. “Well you told me you could help me. And I’ll be  honest with you. Looking over our budget, we’re spending much more than we’re getting in. If God has told you anything that can help us with that, I’m all ears. We’re at the end of our rope at this point. At the rate we’re going, we won’t be able to keep the doors of the church open much longer.”

“And we both know you don’t want that.” “Well, of course not. No pastor wants to have to shut down his ministry.” “Yes. Especially a pastor who has his eyes set on loftier ventures. You desire to be a bishop, don’t you? A jurisdictional bishop?” He was shocked. How did you know that? I’ve never told anyone that.” “I told you I’m a proph…” Judd cut her off, “Yeah, I know you’re a prophetess.” “And you’re not telling the truth about not telling anyone about your dreams of being a bishop. There is someone you’ve told.” Judd froze. Did she know about Nick? Had God told her about Nick? Nick had warned him that God gives us chances to repent before exposure. “And who is that?” Judd finally managed to ask a few moments. “Let’s just say a significant other. Don’t worry. I’m not interested in your love life. I have a few secrets of my own. I’m not here to judge. I just want to help.” “For how much, Prophetess?” Judd figured he better get and stay on her good side if she knew of his secret life. He knew she’d like to be referred to as Prophetess. Her felt her smiling again on the other end of the phone. Well, Pastor Judd. My services are of no monetary cost to you. It won’t cost you a dime. But I might need a favor. It’ll be a mutually beneficial arrangement. So can we meet up to chat?

Loneliness: Trying to Fit In, In the Wrong Place

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When people say that they feel lonely or struggle with loneliness, what are they really saying? Usually they mean that when they consider a group of people, they don’t see themselves as fitting in well or being a good match with the members of that group. They see all the other members of that particular group as relating betterl and having more in common.

It’s quite the feeling to be in a room full of people and yet feel alone. Even if they see you as fitting in with them externally, you know internally that you just do not “click” with these persons. You may dress similarly, you may worship similarly, and you may be of the same age range, educational level, and background. But even with all of those things in common, you can yet feel terribly alone.

But what does it truly mean to “fit in”?

While driving home after bible study one Tuesday night, an image flashed in my mind of one of those icing funnels that you squeeze icing into in order to write words on cakes. And the words, “trying to fit something big into something small” came to mind. In the image, there was a lot of icing that was being made to be compressed into a small shape that it did not fit very well into. And it made the icing feel uncomfortable and pressured. And that’s sometimes how you can feel when you’re trying to make yourself fit into an environment  in which you don’t really belong.

In order to “fit” into a place where you do not belong, the following has to occur: you have to change your God-given shape in order to make it appear as if you were originally intended to be in the place in which you are trying to fit in. Take for instance a puzzle piece. If you have a puzzle like the one I have in my children’s classroom, it contains three puzzle pieces. Because all three pieces are very different, you cannot place them comfortably in the wrong spot. And if you attempted to do so, you would leave the correct puzzle piece to go to another spot in which it too does not belong.

Collective works

When you are where you do not belong, you are in someone else’s proper place. For example, if you are in a romantic relationship in which you do not belong, you are not merely taking up space, but you are taking up someone else’s rightful place. It is best that you find where you belong.

But what does it mean to belong though? I see belong as a root word of the word “belonging”. If something is my belonging, then it belongs to me. In order to know where you belong, you need to know whose belonging you are. I would like to consider the story of Adam and Eve to drive this point home.

Adam and Eve were like a match made in heaven. They are one couple that we can all say, without a shadow of a doubt, that were put together by God. We know full well that God put these two together even considering the issue they had concerning the fruit and the serpent. We know that God intended for these two to be together because Eve was a belonging of Adam’s in that she was Adam’s rib. She was literally contrived from one of Adam’s twelve pair of ribs. She was what we could call a puzzle piece from his body puzzle. She belonged to him because she was his belonging.

But let’s go further. Oftentimes we try to link up with just any body because we THINK we would fit or because we will try our hardest to fit. But is that what Eve had to do? Did she have to make Adam her “soulmate”? No, because with Adam was where she belonged.

We will always feel out of place when we try to fit into the wrong puzzle. At my job, I have two puzzles that come to mind. I have an apple puzzle and a duck puzzle. The apple puzzle contains five apples of different sizes even thought they are all the same shape. And even though they are the same shape, they will not properly “snap” into the right missing place because they were not cut from that shape. The same goes for the duck puzzle. There are three ducks, but they are in three different positions; one has the duck wading on top of water, the other has the duck diving into the water, and the third position has the duck flying in the air. Even though all three positions are of depictions the same duck, the three pieces will not fit into another’s place. This is the case for obvious reasons, but also to go a little deeper, we have to understand that the puzzle pieces were cut from a once whole wooden picture. The picture of the three ducks and five apples were already painted onto a wooden canvas. And a die-cut was made to cut out the shapes from the wooden canvas. So it wasn’t as if the puzzle was made with HOLES; the puzzle was originally made WHOLE just as Adam was made whole. Then after some time, God put a hole in Adam in his rib cage by cutting Eve out of his rib cage.

The place where you belong is the place you were cut out of. You will always feel out of place until you find that place. Don’t just find SOME place, ANY place, or just A place and expect to fit in perfectly because the truth is that you were taken out of a particular place. Eve was not just taken out of one man and expected to link up with any man. God knows where He wants you. And He allows you to feel lonely until you find that place.

If you try to settle and just try to fit in anywhere, you will be like that icing crammed into that funnel tube. To try to fit where you do not belong will require the following from you: you will have to cut off parts of yourself in order to fit in. You cannot be all of you and expect to fit into every place you try to squeeze into. In order to fit into some churches, you will have to cut off parts of yourself. In order to fit into certain cliques, you will have to cut off parts of yourself. In order to date certain people, you will have to cut off parts of yourself. Remember that you will never have to cut off parts of yourself in order to fit where you belong. You will never have to cut off parts of yourself in order to fit where you were cut out of because where you came from will fit you perfectly being that you left a You-Shaped puzzle piece in that puzzle.

Jesus never fit in on earth because He was not originally from earth. He came from heaven. He fits perfectly in heaven because He came from heaven. Likewise, you will never fit in with that man or that woman, because they do not belong to you or vice-versa; you are trying to fit into someone else’s man or woman. You will never fit in with that set of coworkers, because that is not the job God wants you at. You will never fit in at that church because God may want you at another one. You will never fit in in that particular city because God wants you moving somewhere else.

So we see that loneliness is not just a temporary feeling like happiness or sadness. Loneliness is an indication that you have not yet found your niche. It is an indication that you are in the wrong place. And what is important to note is that you may have fit in with a particular group or place at a certain time, but as you have grown, you have outgrown that place or those persons. As you change, so will your environment. You may be big trying to squeeze into a cramped space just to be alone.

And ultimately, you will have outgrown earth in order to realize that it’s time for you to fit into heaven. Let your loneliness motivate you to pray that God take you to where and who you belong!

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Church Hurts: Chapter 6 – “Birthday Girl”

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Terita pressed 7 on her cellphone to buzz in her guests at the gate. She had invited only 20 people to her birthday get-together and ten were here so far. Every time she pressed 7, she waited anxiously for Dave to knock at the door. But still no sight of him. He had replied to her text late Saturday night saying that he would try to attend. She had long-term plans for him, and they began tonight.

She looked back into her bedroom mirror to reapply her hot pink lipstick. She looked flawless. Her dark-almond shaped eyes sparkled as she batted her false lashes at her reflection. Her smile revealed two perfect rows of neat, white teeth thanks to the thousands she had paid for veneers two years back. She had two dimples perforating the center of her cheek. She had three earrings in row in her left ear – the side with the short hair. She had curled the long side of her hair into ringlets which cascaded down her face and shoulder with variegated highlights. Her beautician had told her she would run the risk of looking “ghetto” with the hair color, but Terita just shrugged. What the hey? It was Memphis.

When she heard a knock at the door, she heard one of the attendants say, “Who is it? Oh, hey, Dave! The door’s unlocked.” Her smile became wider and her dimples became deeper. She slipped out of her flats and into her high-heeled hot pink, bejeweled Christian Louboutin pumps. She knew her strut would get her the attention she wanted.

She turned the corner out of her bedroom into her front room. She exclaimed, “Hi, Dave! I’m glad you could make it. She gave him a big hug as he told her happy birthday. He handed her a card. She wondered if there was money in it. She told him to grab a plate and to get something to eat. After he did so, he sat on a stool at the bar counter between her kitchen and front room. Terita sat down beside him. Lucky for her, there were only two barstools there, so that would greatly decrease their chances of being interrupted.

“I’m so glad you could make it,” Terita beamed at him like an outgoing five-year old. She laid her hand on the back of his hand to drive home the point. “Well, of course I’d be here. You know you and me go way back.” Terita had been girlfriend of one of Dave’s closest friends back in high school. They were the popular church kids who had nice clothes and well-educated parents. There was a group of nine of them that hung out all the time. Most of them were musicians or singers. Terita was talented in liturgical dance. Dave could play the guitar well, but he was most popular for having the richest granddad in the county. They went to vacation bible school together every summer. They attended the most anticipated revivals together. They dated the most popular, well-dressed, most talented, and wealthiest of the church “elite”.

Church Elitism was popular in their denomination. It was something like a caste system. A social order so speak. At the bottom were the poorest. They dressed most modestly. The women typically wore ankle-length jean skirts and flats. Their women and girls frequented inexpensive clothing stores like Cato’s, Simply Fashions, and Rainbow. They would wear their relaxed hair in low ponytails or home-rolled curls. They were humble, but tended to be more judgmental. They usually came from small towns in the Dirty South or the Midwest.

Next in pecking order were the middle-class bunch. They could afford to shop at stores at the mall and outlets. They were college-educated usually. They worked from paycheck to paycheck just as the poorer one’s did only without any government assistance. Some would usually look in pity at the lower “caste” and look up in admiration and aspiration at the upper class.

And then there was the upper echelon. This was where people like Dave and Terita resided. They were the sons and granddaughters of jurisdictional bishops, their fathers were politicians and successful business owners in their cities, most of the people they associated with had master’s or doctoral level degrees. They lived in neighborhoods often as they sole black family on their block. And they wore this privilege proudly. They had tailor-made suits, real animal skins for coats and shoes, and shopped solely at boutiques. Their memberships were coveted because their tithes alone were enough to sustain the church more than 200 of the other members. They had the highest titles in the denomination. They married the most beautiful women of etiquette. Their women were members of social clubs and their menfolk were members of exclusive country clubs.

Everyone at the house party was of the higher order. There was Barry the church pianist from the megachurch down the street. His father was pastor their. There was Sheila who just graduated from Harvard law school following in her mother’s footsteps. There was Marcus who had been successful at opening a male suits clothing store with fine suits that he and his twin brother designed. Lucinda was there. She was the niece who was raised by her aunt who was also a member of a famous gospel group. Anthony’s father had just been re-elected as the Memphis City School’s superintendent; it was his third term. He saw to it that Anthony never had to pay a bill. Melissa and her sister Megan sat on the couch sipping their punch. They were somewhat antisocial. They claim to fame was a father and mother who had graduated from MIT as engineers. They were just as smart and withdrawn as their parents. Terita dwindling wealth came from her charismatic charm with successful and prosperous men. Terita was brought up poor, but fortunately she had good looks and a great personality. She used these assets to her advantage. She had met a much, much older bishop who was quite lucky in the stock markets. He wanted a PYT to share his riches with. Terita heeded the call. She saw this as her chance to ascend the church ranks. She was successful. After a brief marriage that ended in his timely death from old age, Terita was a young widow who had inherited all of his wealth being as her deceased husband had no children. However, her shopping addiction did not afford her any wise spending habits so she was losing hand over first. Whereas before she had enough to last her for a lifetime, she now only had enough to last her the next five years or so. And she had no intentions of slowing down. She had to find a new donor. Dave looked like he’d fit the part. She was no longer heralded as the youngest bishop’s wife. To be in the elite, it was not enough just to have money and nice possessions. You had to currently hold a high title or be known for your skill at a thing. Terita knew she could go down in church history as the old bishop’s widow who excelled at church mime until she died broke and alone. She figured this time she figured it was just enough to marry rich, but to marry rich and young. Her mistake was that she had married rich and old. She didn’t care that the old man had passed. She was disgusted every time he touched her. Every time she went to bed with him, she had to remind herself to stay in it for the money.

“So Terita, when’s the last time you talked to Stephen?” Dave was referring to his friend, her ex. “Oh, it’s funny you ask. He went me a happy birthday message on Facebook as soon as it was midnight.” “Oh, well that’s cool. You do know he’s single now. Things didn’t work out with that Marissa girl. She was too clingy. Called the man all day. Asking what he ate, who he was hanging out with, and all kinda questions. He had to let her go. But yeah. He asked me about you the other day.” “That’s interesting. Marissa did seem kind of stalker-ish. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m kinda interested in another guy.” “Oh, really? And who just might this be?” Dave inquired curiously. “You know the guy. He’s real cute. Has kinda long dreads,” Terita hinted. “Is it that Derek guy who’s been visiting our church lately?” “No, not him. Don’t try to guess because I’m not going to tell you who it is. Not yet. Real soon though.” Terita grinned. Interrupting their conversation was Anthony bearing a red velvet cake with sparkling candles covered with fondant icing in the replica of a Louis Vuitton bag. She beamed from ear to ear as her wealthy friends belted out an ethnic rendition of the happy birthday song. They surrounded her as she closed her eyes and a made a wish. She only hoped Dave would cooperate in fulfilling it.

Church Hurts: Chapter 5 – “In the Studio”

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Nick’s loafers pat down the dark corridor filled with the vibrations of musicians in the studio. He’s excited about laying a record with his good friend Pete (better known by his stage name “Neophyte”). He always enjoyed Pete. They had such a close history with one another that they knew that despite their lifestyle differences, they would forever be linked. Both had the misfortune of being sent to juvenile detention in their mid-teens. Pete, who had been raised by the streets because of a drug-addicted mother and a dead beat father who left him to be raised by a very elderly grandmother. He was driven to the streets for a male figure to care for him. And he found that in the form of a gang known as the Red Road Gangsters. After doing the things that gangsters do for years, he was eventually caught on a drug charge and sentenced to two years in juvy. This is how he met Nicholas.

Nicholas’ story was quite different. He both of his parents in this life. They were still married to each other when Nicholas was imprisoned. His father had stored drugs in the car. And when the cops caught wind of it, the father convinced his young son Nick to take the charge because he wouldn’t get any jail time because of his age and clean record. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. Nick the pretty, church boy was not cut out for jail.

Because of their small physique, good lucks, and “good hair”, both Pete and Nicholas were easy and obvious targets for the more hardened of the juvy boys and guards. Pete who was much more capable of defending himself, felt compassion for Nicholas and would often sacrifice himself to get Nicholas a night off. For that Nick was forever indebted. There was nothing Nick would not do for his friend Pete.

“Hey, man! Whassup, Nick! You late as usual. You know studio time is money!” exclaims Pete to Nicholas as they exchanged daps and chest hugs. “Ah, man. You how I do. I got to stay fine for the ladies. Had to get some extra mirror time to keep your grandma’s interest.” “Dude, please. I’m just as handsome, and I got here early. I want you to meet some friends of mine.”

Nick is introduced to three of Pete’s rapper buddies. They didn’t seem to detect his “gayness” much to his relief. He made sure he made the comment about the ladies to throw the men off his trail in case they had caught a whiff.

Lastly, Nick is introduced to quiet man sitting in the corner. He walks up to Nicholas to introduce himself as a talent seeker of a well-known gospel recording label. He’s a middle-aged man who is far less dressed up than Nicholas. Could this be his big shot?

Nicholas had dreamt of being signed to a label for as long as he had been singing for the church. He knew he was talented and had the “right look”, but it was unreal to see his chance right before him. Within the hour, he could convince this man to sign or to forget them. This man could crush or fulfill his recording artist dreams.

Hey there, Nicholas. I was invited here by Pete here. He sent me some videos of you two’s work a few months back and I finally got a chance to stop by from Atlanta. I think you guys are sitting on something great here. I’m sure you won’t mind if I sit in during a recording.

Nicholas tries to maintain his composure. He knew that when he got giddy, he lost a lot of his masculinity. He managed to muster out a, “Yeah. Sure, man. That won’t be a problem.”

Nick called Pete out into the hallway for some privacy. He gives Pete a bear hug. “Man, this is awesome! How did you manage to…So when did you…This is huge! So which song do you think we should do for him?” “It needs to be something that showcases my lyrical genius and your range and runs.” “Exactly what I was thinking. What about “When God Says It’s Time”? That one has equal rapping and singing parts that way no one seems like a ball hog.” “Mane, I don’t even care! I just want a chance to get in that booth and show this man what we got!”

After the two friends calmed down, they walked back into the room collected. Nicholas’ began by singing: “When God says it’s time, you better get on the move. When God says speak, you better tune up soon. God has a tight schedule, and you got to do what he says. God’s not playing, you’ve got to do what he says. When God says jump, the heights can’t be an excuse. When God says pray, you better ask for whom. When God says preach, you better decree and declare that the word of God is a seed that will bear…”

Nicholas was very pleased with how it went. He didn’t skip a beat or hit a bad note. His runs and range were on point. And Pete did awesome as well. His hip-hop rhymes were a refreshing contrast to the song.

After the song was recorded, the label’s representative smiled at then while nodding. He said, “I’m very impressed. You guys definitely have a spark. I will run your music by some of the partners at the label. I’ll be in contact. Neophyte and Nicholas. I like that.” “Actually,” interrupted Nicholas, “that’ll be Neophyte and Nea Zoi. New Growth and New Life.”

Nicholas walked out of the studio feeling like a million bucks. From the looks of it, God was going to fulfill His promise to Nicholas. As he walked to his car, he checked his phone. There were two new texts and one voicemail. The first text was from Terita. She was inviting him to her birthday party this Friday. The second text was from his mother. She was new to text messages and had managed to type out a brief text which read, “love you”. He smiled. The voicemail was from Judd. His heart sank. How he was going to go on to New Life if he hadn’t yet closed the door to his past? The voicemail said, “Hey, lady. Just thinking about you. I hope you haven’t changed your feelings for me since we last met at the church. God bless.” Judd would leave voicemails addressed to the unnamed “lady” just in case anyone was eavesdropping or got a hold to Nicholas’ phone. The voicemail immediately stripped Nicholas of his newfound joy. He knew he had to obey God. He had to heed the warning of the song he had just recorded with Neophyte. He knew that he must do what God asks “when God says it’s time”. He just needed to pray for God to give him the strength he needed to do and follow through. And a move to Atlanta near the recording company might be just what he needs to cut ties.

Church Hurts: Chapter 4 – “Choir Director”

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The door clicks behind them.

The choir director of New Jerusalem quickly locks the door the behind them. “Hey, Mr. ___. You had me down there playing that piano for forever!” “Sorry. I had to handle something. You know that Terita girl came by here again asking for money,” __ said. “I thought you said you were going to handle that one,” Nick said. “Now, Nick, you know it’s not that easy. She knows too much. She could blow our whole cover. It’s imperative that we keep our business between us and her.”

By business, he was referring to their undercover relationship. It had been going on for the past three years. ___ had accidentally sent a text meant for Nick to Terita. And ever since then, she would stop by his office to ask for favors only they knew the favors were not optional. If he did not comply with her requests, it could mean the end of all of their dreams.

But ___, you know that every time she comes by, she asks for more. We have to put an end to this once and for all,” Nick reminded him. “I know, I know. That’s why I’m working on something. I have a plan. You know she’s accustomed to nice things. And right now, the only option she has is a blackmail us. But if we can find her a new supplier, she’ll have a new host to leach off of. She has her eye on one person who should be able to have her set for life,” Judd replied. “And who is that? One of your bishop buddies?” “No, even better. He’s right under our noses. She’s really interested in the youth pastor. She knows he’s sitting on a gold mine. His grandfather is loaded. And with his health deteriorating like it is, he and his mother will be the sole beneficiaries of his estate,” Judd informed Nick. “Is that so? So how quickly do you think we can enact this plan?” “Sooner than you think,” Judd replied.

Judd was referring to the birthday party Terita was throwing for herself. He suggested to Terita that she invite him to a small get-together with a few of her closest friends. And then she could launch Plan B. They were both confident in her abilities. Terita was quite the seductress when she had her mind on it. She would have tried to seduce Judd, but she found out via the text that she was probably not his type. Although Judd was known back in the days B.C. for “getting around” with the ladies, Terita saw that it was likely only a cover in case any questions arose about his attraction to women. And if Terita’s skills could not trap Dave, there was always Plan C.

Hey, Judd. There’s something else I wanted to talk to you about. Need to talk to you about,” Nick said with downcast eyes. “Well, two things actually. One reason I asked about how you were going to permanently silence Terita was because I don’t want anything information to have a negative impact on my career in the ministry.” “Don’t worry about that, Nick. I said I have this under control.” “I’m just saying. I start recording in the studio next week to lay down the single for this album me and my group have been working on. The last thing I need is a rumor like this bringing me down.” “I totally understand. You know I have just as much riding on this as you do. You have hopes of being a famous gospel artist, and I have hopes of being a jurisdictional bishop. If this stuff gets out, if she forwards that text to anybody, we’re both ruined. And we’ve both worked so hard for this.”

Hanging his head even lower, Nick continues on, “But that’s not the only thing I’m concerned about. You know how pastor has been preaching this series on our bodies being the temple of God and everything…” “Yeah, the series has been great. What’s your point?” Judd asked ignorantly. “Well, you know, I mean, I, I, I’ve been feeling conviction, Nick stuttered. “Conviction about what?” Judd asked obliviously. “Well, you know. I’ve been feeling conviction about this.” “What about this,” Judd pushed. “Come on, Judd. You know I care about you. A lot. But you don’t ever feel weird about what we do?” “Not at all,” Judd replied to Nick’s surprise. “You mean, you never feel weird about being with a man when our denomination speaks so strongly about same-sex relationships? And especially after this series the pastor’s been speaking on. He made the scriptures so plan to me. I mean, I’ve heard all the verses before, but for some reason, this past month, it’s been really getting to me.” “So what are you trying to say, Nick?” “I’m trying to say that maybe we should see about ending this,” Nick said to Judd’s dismay. “Ending this? We’ve been doing this for three years now. Why stop now? If it was so wrong to do, why hasn’t God struck us down dead yet? How come every time you plan the piano or sing, people still get delivered? How come every time I preach or teach, people come to the altar to get saved? If it was so wrong, how come God is still using us so mightily in the ministry?” “Judd, I wonder about those same things. But you know how pastor always says the gifts of God come without repentance. Maybe God is just using us for our gifts. Or maybe God is just being gracious to us. Maybe he’s just giving us a chance before we get exposed. Just like with Bishop Long. I’m sure God gave him many chances to repent, but he just wouldn’t. And the rest is history. I don’t want that to be us.” “Nick, don’t worry about that stuff. Haven’t you ever read in the bible that God is love? And sex is God’s gift for mankind to express their love for each other. All we are doing is expressing our love for one another,” Judd said defensively. “But, Judd, you don’t even feel a bit of remorse. I mean you even have our bed in your office in the church! I just don’t know, Judd. I have a lot of thinking to do.”

Nick unlocks the door and walks down the corridor to his BMW that Judd had purchased him. And it was likely bought with the money of the parishioners who trusted him to practice what he preached. Judd was just so convincing. Wasn’t God love? Was there any doubt of the love Judd and him had for each other? He drove off into the sunset towards his expensive downtown loft.

It was a long ride up the elevator to his top story apartment which overlooked the river. It was such a beautiful view. However, the way he earned it just felt so wrong. He had to engage in behavior that disgusted him in order to attain it. He had received a prophecy as a young boy that God was going to use him in a mighty way to bless others, and that he would also bless him with the lifestyle that he desired. God couldn’t have meant for this to be the way he acquired these things. Was this God’s will for Him? For him to give his temple to a power-hungry pastor who was living a lie? Sure Judd had been better to him than the other men Nick had been with, but somehow he still knew it was wrong.

He set down his Louis Vuitton briefcase on his hardwood floors. He locked the door behind him. He walked solemnly to his master bedroom to get undressed. Then he ran his bathwater. He felt his emotions bubbling up within him. He got into the tub and scrubbed at his skin until it hurt. He scrubbed just before it got raw. He would scrub until he felt clean. Just the thought of all of those men’s hands touching over his body made him feel filthy. Then the tears came pouring down into the bathwater.

He couldn’t find the words to say so he just moaned. There were no new words he could say. He had already had this conversation with God a hundred times. He would feel disgusted. He would feel dirty. He would repent. He would feel sorry. He would feel sinful. He would feel unforgivable. He felt as if it was no way in the world Jesus would have gotten on that cross for a man like him. He engaged in the same sin night after night in the church. There was no way God could forgive him. There was no way Christ would have died for homosexuals. So he just cried and moaned and scrubbed. Cried and moaned and scrubbed.