TheCall, Day 1: The concert before the storm (of speakers)

September 4, 2010 at 10:13 am 61 comments

Right now Arisha, Anthony, Phyllis and Andy are on the ground for Day 2 of TheCall Sacramento. Late last night, Arisha filed the report below about Day 1 of TheCall — a Christian music concert at Raley Field that did not include speakers. Today, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Lou Engle’s followers will be hearing from speakers all day long. And we’ll be covering it here, as internet connections allow. It should be interesting to say the least.

For those curious about Lou Engle and TheCall’s background, I highly recommend this in-depth piece on TheCall that Linda linked in last night’s comment thread. More to come from the Courage crew on Day 2 of The Call… — Eden

By Arisha Hatch

I was standing in line to register for Day 1 of TheCall Sacramento, when an 8 year-old-girl with freckles and pig tails ran over my foot with her Razor scooter. I pressed my hand against my mouth to keep from screaming out an expletive, as the little girl – followed closely by her mother – rushed to hug me and apologize.

“Oh God bless it,” the little girl said grabbing for my toe. “I am so so sorry.”

“Where are you from,” her mother asked.

“Los Angeles,” I said, avoiding eye contact. After two rental car company mixups, an eight hour drive that should’ve taken six and Andy’s broken air conditioner, I just wasn’t in the mood.

A man in a red volunteer shirt put a wristband on my arm for the field level and handed me a bag of books that I was still too pained to look at.

Limping into a sea of people arms raised – some laying on the grass of Raley Field stadium – singing along to catchy, professionally-produced pop-Christian music, I felt confused.

callhands

“What the hell am I doing here?” I thought, but dare not say aloud.

As I looked around, there were no signs of the contentious social issues that are often linked to gatherings of this kind.

No, Friday was about a concert. Two large jumbo-trons showed close-ups of the performers on stage with Christ-inspired lyrics along the bottom so that the crowd could sing along.

callstage

A volunteer attendant quoted an unverified attendance figure of 16,000. I wouldn’t put it at 16,000 (we’re told capacity was 15k), but they definitely hit around 10,000, to my estimation (to judge for yourself, check out the panorama pictures we posted earlier).

I sat down on the field and reached into the bag that the volunteer handed me. Three books were inside: “The Purple Pig and other miracles;” a pamphlet by Derek Prince titled “Orphans, Widows, the Poor and Oppressed; and TheCall weekend agenda, including a map and a list of Terms and Conditions. (“It’s a fast, not a festival” the pamphlet reads).

The books felt entirely disconnected from the scene before me.

callschool

Needing air, I walked out of the stadium to begin to blog. While sitting I was approached by a Caucasian man in his late 20s.

“Do you like rap music?” he asked.

A conversation was struck. He introduced himself, rapped a few new song lyrics, talked about how he came to Christ and about how political/value disagreements left me feeling disconnected from the church.

“When I was younger, I liked to break dance,” he said. “I wanted to start dancing again so I looked up a place and it was called Lord’s Gym. I didn’t think anything of it – I thought it was just a cool name. When I went in for the first time, I found out that it was a Christian breakdancing group. I stayed. I came back.”

He quoted scripture often and well; thoughtfully applying the scriptures to his own life experiences.

“I’ve gone through a lot of bad things in my life – put myself through a lot of bad things – drug addiction, homelessness,” his voice trailed off a bit. “But I’m renewing myself through Christ . . . finding my way. I told him that even if I slip up, that I will always run back to him – never away from him.”

He paused. “But this is just my Testimony,” he said. “I hate it when it gets all politicized. I mean, murder is wrong so that is why I am pro-life. Are you?”

“I’m pro-life for myself, but think others should have choice. But how am I supposed to be pro-life and pro-death penalty at the same time?”

It’s strange, unlike Brian Brown he actually stopped to think about my question before answering.

“Yea, it’s all mixed up. Man mixes things up.”

“And what about gay marriage? Isn’t it possible that God created gays and lesbians with purpose?”

“Yea, that’s definitely possible,” he easily conceded after admitting that he believed homosexuality was a sin. “I wouldn’t vote for it (same-sex marriage), but I wouldn’t –I didn’t – vote against it.”

I suddenly realized that this Christian rapper didn’t necessarily fit into the “Yes on 8” box that I had put him in; he was somewhere in the middle; he was a “maybe.”

And “Maybes” we can work with. I’ll take a maybe any day out here.

As he gathered his things to meet his friends, he stopped to say the following:

“You know earlier, I was wondering why I came out here today. It was good to talk with you.”

“Me too,” I thought.

callparkinglot

More tomorrow, as Day 2 of TheCall commences on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento…

Entry filed under: Right-wing, TheCall.

#TheCallTurnoutFAIL? You be the judge. TheCall, Day 2: “Madonna kissed Britney [Spears] … and look what happened to her”

61 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:20 am

    That is why you, Ant, and Phyllis are there, Arisha. To reach out to the maybes that have not yet been so indoctrinated and brainwashed that putting their own personal religious beliefs into the laws at the expense of other religions is the only thing that is right in their eyes. Way to go!

    Reply
    • 2. Ann S.  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:28 am

      Thank you, Arisha, Anthony and Phyllis, for reaching out to the maybes.

      Reply
  • 3. Ronnie  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Seriously…are they doing the Y.M.C.A.?….<3…Ronnie

    Reply
    • 4. PamC  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

      This is a pic of some folks doing the ymca with “Touchdown Jesus” — the big statue that burned down recently. If you’re not a yahoo subscriber, it may not work, but give it a shot; it’s priceless!

      Touchdown Jesus

      Reply
  • 5. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:24 am

    subbing….

    Reply
  • 6. Kate  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I am so glad they call themselves Nazirites. How stoopid can these people possibly be? This ought to liven up even mainstream news coverage. Well, we already know they aren’t exactly original.

    Reply
    • 7. Carpool Cookie  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

      Yuh. Where did that come from ? ?

      (The writing on the forehead also reminds me of the Nazi movie Inglorious B@st@rds.) (Trying to be sensitive to any Christianists lurking.)

      Reply
    • 8. Adrenalin Tim  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      To be fair, Kate, it comes from the Hebrew scriptures. The “Nazirite vow” was a form of extreme dedication to God, made by either a person or one’s parents, to abstain from alcohol, cutting one’s hair, and sex (?). Sort of like an ancient version of straight edge, I guess.

      They are aware of the word “Nazi” embedded in there. I remember an article from when I was involved in the movement called “Nazis or Nazirites”, attempting to compare and contrast their extreme devotion with that of (say) Hitler Youth.

      Reply
  • 9. Carpool Cookie  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    This defensive question of “How can you expect a [Christianist] to vote against their values?” has come up on other boards I’ve been on, and I’ve reached the same conclussion the rapper you spoke with did.

    If a Christianist absolutely, positively can’t find it in themselves to vote for Marriage Equality….then they don’t have to check any box on the ballot, at all.

    That way, they’re not breaking their personal faith, but they are also not imposing their personal faith on OTHERS.

    I doubt very many of them have seen it that way, though, and actually refrained from voting.

    Thanks for foraging into the wilderness on all our behalf, and reporting back ! ! ! !

    Reply
    • 10. Trish  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:37 am

      CC, I like your answer. :)

      But I am personally torn about this issue. By telling someone they should not impose values upon others, aren’t I imposing my values on them? In particular, the value that people should not impose values on others?

      Reply
      • 11. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:43 am

        @Trish–

        Not imposing personal values on others in the form of legislation is a protection in our constitution.

        You are not imposing your values when you seek to uphold our constitution.

        Reply
      • 12. Sheryl Carver  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:59 am

        Trish, good question.

        I think the only value of yours that you are asking (because they can choose to ignore it) them to consider is to honor the separation of church & state. Yes, it is also a value, one that their religion may not support, but as Linda pointed out, it IS one of the principles in the US Constitution.

        &, as has been pointed out so many times, that value (separation …) serves to protect THEIR rights to live according to their views of what is moral. Which is why no one can force a Catholic priest to officiate at a marriage for a divorced person, nor do we force soldiers to eat foods prohibited by their religions, etc.

        Reply
    • 13. Kathleen  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:18 am

      I have no problem with people voting their values. That’s what I do when I vote. But there are some things that just should not be put up to popular vote – like civil rights. And when they are (because of some convoluted political process that allows this to happen), the result needs to subjected to judicial review to make sure the law is constitutional.

      I wish there were a way to go through this process w/out denying peoples’ civil rights in the process.

      Reply
      • 14. Don in Texas  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

        Just a reminder:

        “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects
        from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the
        reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal
        principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty,
        and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and
        assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote;
        they depend on the outcome of no elections.” — Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
        West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 319 US 624, 1943

        Reply
      • 15. Kathleen  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:05 pm

        I like DC’s approach – no initiative or referendum can go on the ballot w/out being reviewed to see if the effect of the law would be in violation of DC’s Human Rights Act.

        Reply
  • 16. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:40 am

    His comment, “Yeah, man messes things up..”

    No; man proves that the premise is wrong to begin with!

    Reply
    • 17. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:50 am

      Okay–going for a second cup of coffee to insure that my comments are actually accurate…

      The young man actually said, “Yeah, it’s all mixed up. Man mixes things up.”

      But see, that’s what he has to conclude given the premise he’s adopted–that God (the Christianists’ interpretation of God) is perfect and his scripture is inerant and absolute–when Man comes along with a contradiction, then it’s Man that’s mixing things up.

      The reality is–Man is shedding light on the erroneous premise. Man isn’t mixing things up, the premise is!

      Reply
      • 18. Jp  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

        I disagree with you, as a gay Christian of course. Man does mess things up, and that includes interpretation of the bible. If we could just understand what Jesus taught a little better, we would have much less problems, even when we disagree. But the Christian church is just as messed up as the rest of the world. I believe it’s a human condition, one that is so sad on many levels, and yet marvelously beautiful on others.

        Reply
      • 19. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

        @JP–

        Yep, we are coming from different perspectives on this issue. Isn’t it wonderful that we can disagree and still be friends?

        Reply
      • 20. AndrewPDX  |  September 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm

        I agree with Jp… ‘Man does mess things up’. As humans, we all make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.

        Well, maybe Lou Engle… but he’s just a perfect @$$hole.

        Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
        Andrew

        Reply
  • 21. Trish  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I am in Sacramento and planning on going downtown for a few things today. I work on Capitol Mall and might just have to go through the crowd to get to my building.

    This is yet another issue that makes me torn. There are plenty of Christian gays, and plenty of Christian supporters of equal marriage and equal rights. These kinds of events are supposed to be unifying, for, as they say, “We are all one in Christ.” I’m a former Catholic and for two years of my life I read the Bible every day. Of course, at that time I was finding specifically those things I disagreed with to justify my leaving the Christian faith, but I became somewhat knowledgeable. And polarizing groups, or lifting one group above all others, is certainly not what the New Testament seemed to be about. Why do all the different Christian sects fight so much about doctrine when there should be only one rule that matters? I do my best to live my life by the Wiccan credo: An ye harm none, do as ye will. Isn’t that the same as trying to live a Christ-like life?

    Reply
    • 22. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:57 am

      @Trish–

      Your question is remarkably familiar in my line of work.

      I am a music teacher. The materials I use include a wealth of folk songs. Now folk songs, by their very nature, do not have one, absolute version. They were passed orally for years, decades, even centuries before they were actually transcribed. And in fact, the hallmark of a well-loved folk song is the number of variations that can be found of the same song.

      But….people will invariably develop allegiance to the variation of the song that they learned first; and many people will insist that their variation is the correct one, and all the others are wrong.

      Obviously, there is no validity to that claim; it’ s just a matter of their preference.

      It’s the same way with all these different denominations: which one is right? Which one is the true one? The answer? None or all.

      Reply
      • 23. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:16 am

        Linda, what grades benefit from your love of music and your teaching of it?

        Reply
      • 24. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

        Richard, I have the delightful fortune of being the Music Specialist at a Visual and Performing Arts magnet school in my district. I teach Kinders through grade 4 (K-1 piano, and 1-4 classroom music 2x/week). Plus, I have a wonderful 3rd-5th grade choir.

        In addition, since our campus houses both an elem. and middle school, I get to vocal coach the middle school musical every year.

        Seriously, if you gotta work, this is the best place to do it!

        Reply
      • 25. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:27 am

        You are so right! And I may be wrong, but don’t reading and music have in common that the earlier you demonstrate your own love of reading and music to children, the more likely they are to also enjoy reading and music? At least, that was how it was with me. There was always music in the house, and so many different genres of music. That gave me an enjoyment of so many different styles and cultures of music that continues today. And there was always a very enjoyable focus on reading, and I still enjoy reading today–newspapers, books, magazines, and now I am beginning to learn about ebooks. But I have always found that music and books can be a very affordable way to travel anywhere I want to go, and to even go back in time.

        Reply
      • 26. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

        Brain research is finding more and more links between early exposure and the later ability or facility to learn. This applies to everything; but certainly early exposure to music enhances the learning of music; the ability to match pitch, feel the beat, carry a tune, etc. But the most valuable aspect of that exposure is the love of music that is fostered.

        Reading teaching language! I can’t tell you the number of children who begin their education with virtually no language. They have basic conversational skills, but that’s it. It is mind-boggling that so many parents still do not understand the value of reading to their children. Or if they don’t have the time, then they can buy those books that also come with a cd or cassette tape. The point is, children need to be exposed to as much language as possible.

        And I have gotten waaaaaaaaaaaaaay off topic! Sorry!

        Reply
      • 27. Ann S.  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

        Linda, I agree with you so much about reading and music.

        I knew we had succeeded in giving our daughter a love of reading when I had to go in at night and wrest books out of her hands so that she would go to sleep.

        Last night was one of many occasions I knew we had succeeded in giving her a love of music. She played in the orchestra for a youth production of “Into the Woods”, and the music director told us that she had begged to be allowed to play in an upcoming production of “Les Miz”.

        (We-e-e-ellll, OK, was what the music director said, and inside she was going, YES!!!)

        Reply
      • 28. Sagesse  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm

        I have long thought that music is processed in the language center of the brain. Young children learn language(s) easily, and the same is true of music.

        My son and his buddy were both learning piano when they were in first grade. They loved The Phantom of the Opera, and one day they were listening to it at our house. They walked over to the piano, and started to play it… looking for the right notes. Then one of them picked up a blank sheet of music paper, and they started to write it down…. language.

        Reply
      • 29. AndrewPDX  |  September 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm

        Which denomination is right? none.

        Let’s just take it for read that God exists, that She is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and exists outside of the flow of time and can see the past as well as the future.

        How can the human mind possibly get close to grasping this infinite divinity?

        To claim that one’s special cult has the one and only true interpretation is pure arrogance, presumption, and hubris.

        Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
        Andrew

        Reply
  • 30. Sagesse  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Watching, warily, to see how this unfolds. Not hopeful that it will be a pretty picture. Arisha, Ant, Phyllis and Andy, I don’t know how you stomach being in this atmosphere. You must be cultural anthropologists at heart. Thanks as always for all you do.

    Reply
  • 31. Kathleen  |  September 4, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for being there for us.

    Reply
  • 32. Wolfinlv  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Not sure why but that book cover really really really creaped me out. It’s almost a great cover for like a horror movie or something…

    Reply
    • 33. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:15 am

      The people on the cover have that same blank but resolute expression in their eyes that we’ve seen in the eyes of the Jihad.

      They have signed on to be martyrs; and once that happens there’s nothing left for them to think about.

      Reply
    • 34. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

      That book cover does remind me of posters for The Stepford Wives (the original, not the Faith Hill version) or Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

      Reply
    • 35. Michelle Evans  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

      Creepy is definitely the word for that photo, as it is for the whole idea of what they are trying to accomplish with this indoctrination weekend.

      And is it just me or does it appear that the girl in the photo has an earring that looks like a body tag?

      These people get scarier every time I hear something new about them. And I thought it couldn’t get much worse.

      Reply
      • 36. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:23 am

        Michelle, it even looks to me as though that earring has writing on it, just like a body tag would. You’re right, these people are getting scarier and creepier by the picosecond!

        Reply
  • 37. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:30 am

    This is just an excerpt from that article I linked in the previous post. This guy is scary!

    “The most ‘dangerous terrorist’ is not Islam but God.”

    The US is still home base for Christian fanaticism and many of the new leaders of the religious right believe they either have a direct line to God – or hint they might be semi-Divine. Lou Engle unabashedly claims he has Holy water running in his veins: “Wherever I go I spit, but it’s holy water.”

    With nationally known old lions of the Christian right such as Jerry Falwell dying off or retiring, this younger leadership group is coming to the fore. And politicians know it – though they may not know exactly what they’re buying into.

    [image, left: Lou Engle leads rally]

    The most dangerous terrorist, according to Lou Engle, is God. It’s a point that might warm Osama Bin Laden’s heart. In a document titled “Doctrine of the Shedding of Innocent Blood,” [PDF of document], Engle writes,

    “Where there is shedding of innocent blood, there is no atonement for the land. There is a blood pollution problem on America’s soil. The most “dangerous terrorist” is not Islam but God. One of God’s names is the avenger of blood. Have you worshipped [sic] that God yet.”
    In his book Sons To Glory, Paul Jablonoskwi, who is sympathetic to Engle’s cause, described a 2002 Lou Engle/TheCall event in Kansas City:

    “What I witnessed in Bartle Hall on December 31st 2002 was the antithesis of radical Islam. Instead of people wanting to blow themselves up to kill others, I saw young adults who were so radically in love with Jesus that they were willing to become martyrs for the sake of saving other people’s lives. Someone from the stage asked, ‘who here feels like they are called to die as a martyr for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ?’ Many hands went up throughout the stadium.”

    Reply
    • 38. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:58 am

      How exactly does he think that dying for the Christian cause is not the same as dying for the Islamic cause?

      I think I missed a turn there, somewhere.

      Reply
      • 39. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:05 pm

        Anonygrrl–Oh gosh, that’s simple (rolling eyes). The Jihad martyrs die while blowing up people–so they die while killing. Engle wants his martyrs to die while saving people.

        I’m not sure what an example would be, though. One of the hot issues is abortion. So…if one of his followers dies while protecting an unborn child that would make the follower a martyr. But I don’t know why they would have to die….?

        It’s extremism. It’s moving people from a thinking state to a blind allegiance state.

        Reply
      • 40. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm

        LOL Thanks, Linda! That clears it all up for me.

        I think I am going to pledge my life to dying to protect martyrs from dying.

        What do you think? Want to join me? God may not like it, but we do have plenty of cookies!

        Reply
      • 41. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

        Linda, this is how. If a Christian suffers the death penalty for killing a doctor to prevent him from performing abortions… that makes the Christian not a murderer, but a martyr, saving lives.

        This is one, twisted example of what these folks would find to be a good thing.

        Reply
  • 42. Jon  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I just don’t know why Jesus bothered preaching without Jumbotrons, catchy pop music, and top production values throughout.

    Reply
    • 43. Joel  |  September 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      “If you’d come today, you would have reached a whole nation,
      Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication”
      Jesus Christ, Superstar

      Reply
  • 44. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Seriously… can I ask everyone here to make me a pledge. And to pass that pledge on to others. I am not joking now, I am serious.

    Looking at how these people are vowing to die for their cause, may I ask each of you to promise me that no matter how tough the going gets, you will LIVE for your cause?

    If I could talk to teenagers who are going through tough times because of homophobia and hate crimes, this is the message I would like to give them. People who hate others kill and die for their causes. People who love others live and protect life for theirs.

    Please live.

    Reply
    • 45. Linda  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      Anonygrl–I not only promise to live, but I promise to live as joyfully and as happily as I possibly can!

      Now, about those cookies……:)

      Reply
    • 46. Ann S.  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      I second Linda’s pledge. But I do require cookies.

      However, our daughter surprised me by making me a bowl of fruit salad just now, because I’m having to work this weekend. Life is good!

      Reply
      • 47. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm

        Ooh… fruit salad is good too!!

        Reply
    • 48. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      Anonygrl, I vow not only to LIVE, and to LIVE JOYFULLY AND JOYOUSLY, but to also be there for anyone who needs a listening ear, to be there to lift up others who are oppressed, and to continue to do so for as long as I draw breath. I vow to continue to live my life unafraid, and when I am afraid, to proceed with courage, knowing that courage is not the absence of fear, but continuing to persevere in spite of the fear, and often, because of the fear. I vow to continue to reach out to our younger LGBTQQI’s and our allies to give others hope, and to remind people of the immortal words of Harvey Milk, who himself told us that we have to give them hope. I vow to share the beauty of the rainbow with others so that they will see that it is our differences and uniquenesses that make us fabulous, and that when we try to destroy those uniquenesses, we destroy all humankind in the process.

      Reply
      • 49. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm

        Thank you, Richard, for taking my idea and making it so beautifully poetic!

        That was lovely.

        Reply
      • 50. Dpeck  |  September 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm

        I don’t think there’s any way to improve on Richard’s post, so… yes. What HE said!

        Reply
    • 51. Sheryl Carver  |  September 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      Funny how things work out. I’ve been going through some really tough times for the past 2 years, & have allowed myself to create a too comfortable rut of negativity & anger. Just a few days ago I made a commitment to myself that I was going to make the most of the rest of my life. Perhaps THE most important aspect, & the one I have the most control over, is fostering a positive attitude. Not ignoring sadness, fear, etc, but feeling those emotions as they come up, then letting them go & returning to joy, happiness, & gratitude for all of the good things in my life.

      So, anonygrl, I wholeheartedly take the pledge to LIVE, really LIVE, every single moment. For myself, for those I love, for my cause.

      Reply
      • 52. Sheryl Carver  |  September 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

        BTW, cookies are nice, but I do particularly enjoy chocolate in any form!

        Reply
      • 53. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm

        Good for you Sheryl! Let me share a piece I wrote a few years ago, written because I think sometimes people just forget that they CAN be happy…

        .
        Be happy.

        That is the secret. Just be happy.

        If something is making you unhappy, change it. If you hate the color of your walls, paint them! If you don’t like your friends, make some new ones! If your job depresses you, go out and get another!

        If you cannot change the thing you don’t like, find something else that DOES make you happy and do it. If you have to keep your job to keep your family fed, get yourself a hobby you like! Take up a sport! Take a class in cooking! Volunteer to help those in need!

        Whatever it is, find something that makes you happy. Far too many people would rather walk on the shaded side of the street past the burnt out buildings and complain about it than cross the street and walk in the sun past the flower gardens. Flowers are everywhere, if only we take the time to look at them!

        Be happy!

        Wear a shirt you like. Eat one cookie, even if you are on a diet. Kiss your kid before he goes to school. Spend your lunch break outside by a fountain. There are hundreds of choices we can make EVERY DAY to make ourselves happy.

        So be happy!

        A friend of mine (who I adore and who loves to play devil’s advocate) says, whenever I suggest that people should just be happy, that it is not that easy. Some people have very hard lives. Some are going through messy divorces, some are trapped in untenable situations. Some cannot pay their bills, some are discriminated against because of their race. There are lots of serious reasons why people are not happy.

        And I say, so BE happy. Yes, life is hard. There are many tragic, miserable things that happen every day. I am not saying this is the solution to all life’s problems, I am only suggesting that you make a choice that will make you happier than you were. Play your favorite song on the CD player. Pet a dog in the park. Take a good book with you to read on the subway as you are going to work. Make a paper pirate hat and spend ten minutes entertaining a child with it.

        Pick one little thing that you will enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to be a huge choice. You don’t have to change your entire life. But be happy! Eat your favorite fruit for dessert. Walk through the department store and spritz a little of a new perfume on each day. Put a quarter in a stranger’s parking meter. Watch your favorite TV show.

        Be happy.

        If a choice presents itself and you can pick something that will make you happier, choose that one! Take the red umbrella rather than the black one. Read the sports section and not the front page. Call your mother just to say hi instead of calling to complain about your day.

        Be happy.

        Choose happiness. Even if you can only do it once a day, for just a minute, make the conscious effort to pick something that makes you happy, and do it. If you can, pick something, like a hobby, that you can enjoy over and over. If you can’t, choose to walk around the puddle instead of having wet feet for the next several hours. Anyone can do it, but so few people do.

        Be happy.

        And acknowledge it when you do! If you pause outside the bakery just to smell the fresh bread for one second, it will not take ANYTHING out of your day, it will only ADD to it. So do it, and when you do, say “I am choosing to enjoy this thing” as you do. It will encourage you to do it again.

        Be happy.

        Smile as you walk down the street. It is contagious, and even if you are NOT happy when you start it, you may well find you BECOME happy when strangers return the smile. A little choice, one that uses less muscles than frowning, but a choice to be happy.

        If life has you completely down, and there seems to be no happiness anywhere, FIND some. Choose to sit next to the pretty girl on the bus rather than the grumpy one. Look up at the skyscrapers rather than down at the litter. Pick up a pretty fallen leaf and press it in a book. Make a choice, and choose to be happy.

        It may not last all day. It may not last more than a few seconds, but for those few seconds, if you are happy, isn’t that better than not being happy? It may not solve all, or even any of your problems. But if a couple of times a day your heart is lighter, that certainly won’t increase your problems, and may even make them a little more bearable.

        Why not be happy?

        What benefit is there to choosing not to be happy? Will you get brownie points on some cosmic scale if you go out of your way to avoid happiness? If not, then why not choose, once in a while, to enjoy life?

        Be happy. Make a little choice every day to do something you like. Enjoy it. And just maybe, if you get into the habit of doing that, you will become, bit by bit, a happy person. A person who loves the life they are living, even though there are hardships and tribulations. You might even become a person who is able to share that happiness and encourage other people to be happy.

        Just think how nice that would be.

        So choose. Choose to be happy.

        Reply
      • 54. Sheryl Carver  |  September 4, 2010 at 4:35 pm

        I really like your piece on happiness, anonygrl.

        Having a wonderful community like this really helps, in so many, many ways!

        Reply
  • 55. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Perfect! Here’s the plate of cookies! Pass them around sister!

    Reply
    • 56. Brandy  |  September 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      Both me and my partner really liked your piece on happiness! Thanks for brightening up our day :)

      Reply
  • 57. Adrenalin Tim  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Great, great post, Arisha—it rings so true with my experience (as an attendee of two prior Call events, and former member of Lou Engle’s church).

    There’s a lot more “maybes” out there than you may think. I was once one.

    Reply
    • 58. anonygrl  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      I am so glad you have been able to walk away from that. I know that it can be very difficult to do so. And I am glad you have found us, and hope that the love we can give you helps to make up for some of Engle’s hate.

      And thanks for reminding us that there are still people out there we can help save.

      Reply
  • 59. Lex  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    My girlfriend and I went yesterday to see if there were any protesters. We didn’t find any protesters so my girlfriend decided we should go in (she’s a photographer and wanted to take pictures). It was seriously the most creepy thing I have ever seen. I don’t think I have ever felt more uncomfortable, being around all those people. I’m pretty sure I had the most disgusted look on my face the whole time. I will most likey be avoiding downtown today because I don’t know that I could handle doing that again. Thankfully I don’t work today since I work on Capitol.

    Goodluck Arisha, Anthony, Phyllis and Andy!!!!

    Reply
  • […] Clearly, this was not the case. It took me over 10 minutes from the first road closure, to even reach a semblance of “The Call.” Turnout was only 20 percent of what organizers may have expected, and considerably lower than the events from even the night before. […]

    Reply
  • […] Arisha’s first installment of her coverage of the ‘TheCall’ convergence she recounted a conversation she had with a young man. In the course of the conversation she pointed out the contradiction of being pro-life and […]

    Reply

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