You Can’t Argue with Crazy

(Just assume that the disclaimers from yesterday are still in effect)

I’ve experienced my share of crazy.*

I’ve received the occasional rant, just as I’ve had the joy of the occasional dissatisfied customer (still one of my all-time favorite tirades). I was recently asked, how do I deal with the crazy. My answer is simple: I ignore it. I don’t advertise them by giving them a platform (read: I don’t respond to nitwits nor to self-important nobodies trying to make a name for themselves) because that only gives them credence. And I certainly don’t argue back. Why? Here’s what I’ve learned about crazy:

Crazy has time on its hands. I’ve got stuff to do. Because crazy has the time, focus, and energy to sit at a keyboard for long lengths of time …

Crazy LOVES to send out letters. I’m lumping blogs, message board/social networking site comments, and actual letters into this category. In my rant hall of fame, I have a 20 page, single-spaced missive from a fan/(self-described) nemesis. That was an e-mail rant. Number 2 in my hall of fame was an 11 pager that arrived in my physical mailbox. The time it takes to type 11 pages, print it out, put it in an envelope, address it, stamp it, and put it in the mailbox should provide a lot of opportunity to come to one’s senses. However, …

Crazy has other issues they need to work out. When you get an over-the-top screaming meltdown, there to what at first blush seems to be a rather minor point, there’s probably something else going on. In fact, there’s usually a lot going on when the crazy decides to erupt. The actual triggering event is typically only the last straw. A lot of little things had been building up unresolved before the eruption point.

Crazy has to save face. At some point, crazy recognizes the mess that they’ve made. They delete their MySpace/Twitter/Facebook/Message Board accounts in hopes of taking a break from things. (When I’m feeling less generous, I also assume it’s because they don’t want to be held accountable for their words and actions, forgetting that the internet is forever). They wisely go underground, find new circles to travel in, and hopefully time will ease the sting of the fallout from their eruption.

Crazy can’t be argued with. Facts don’t matter. Logic need not apply. The reality of the situation is a waste of time to explore because the only one that matters is the one that they’ve created.

So, no, I don’t argue with crazy. I’ve even quit poking crazy with a stick for my own amusement (who says I haven’t matured?) . Nor do I defend myself against crazy. For one thing, my life speaks for itself. If the accusations made by someone matches the experience people have had with me, then so be it. Secondly, crazy speaks for itself. Most people recognize it as such.

The bottom line is that I try to ignore crazy and leave it alone to work out its issues. I try to deny the eruptions the opportunity to do irrevocable damage to the bridge of our relationship. Crazy needs time and space to heal and gain perspective. And since I’m not going anywhere, crazy always has a place to return to. We’re going to get dirty wading into the tapestry of issues that constitutes the mess of other people’s lives. Might as well be prepared for it.

*For the sensitive, I’m using the term “crazy” to describe the behavior.

Some Fools Exhaust Me

Dear Black People,

I’m calling for another family meeting. I hate as much as anyone to give up on a brother, but it’s time for us to let go of R. Kelly. I didn’t want to have to go over to that bastion of black culture, BET, but I had to hear that interview for myself.

So when Toure asks you “Let me ask you something real that millions of Americans are thinking about and wondering about you. Do you like teenage girls?” tell me you didn’t come back with “When you say teenage, how old are we talking?” Seriously … seriously … you are going with your “it depends on your definition of ‘is’ is” defense? Hell to the naw, we are too through.

This wasn’t the judicial system working for us for a change. This is a failure on our part. Unlike O.J. or Michael Jackson who suddenly wrapped themselves in the love of the black community who they had long forgotten, R. Kelly has always been here. But we have standards and we need to hold each other accountable. He’s not a hero to be embraced. He wasn’t Nelson Mandela unjustly imprisoned and on trial. R. Kelly was fool enough to videotape himself as if we don’t live in the YouTube age. Get R. Kelly some help.

Look, I live by a simple credo: we don’t get to pee on children. Is that too much to ask from people we decide to rally around as if they’re role models? I’m not a hater. I don’t care about his money. I don’t care about his songs. I don’t care that he’s the Pied Piper of R&B.; I do care that not only did he get away with it, but we made him confident enough, worse, unashamed to go on national television and spout his brand of nonsense. So yeah, I’ll say it: you could put him under the jail … and spare us another episode of “Trapped in the Closet.”

If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.

On Nap Nazis

Okay, this is just an escalating pet peeve of mine, so you may want to just skip this rant.

I realize that not everyone counts the cost of what it means to be a part of a church plant. There are sacrifices that one has to make. Not all the “programs” will be set. Heck, there might not be any programs to speak of. For a while, that was the number one complaint we had when we got started: we didn’t have any programs for the kids.

Yes, I get it. You believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

I believe we’ve raised children to the level of idols. The children end up ruling the household because they are apparently fragile and in need of constant shielding (protection is one thing, encasing them in a plastic bubble is quite another). Yet more and more parents become slaves to the routine and schedule of their kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m like the Ayn Rand of parenting: I believe in the selfish parent. My kids have to adjust to my schedule. Until they start paying bills, they jump to my tune, not vice versa.

Then there’s the church culture many of us grew up in. The one with programs for kids starting when they can sit up and are taught to “pat the Bible” as their nursery theological training (because, well, as you know, the Bible is the fourth person of the Godhead and we should be worshiping it, not allowing it to point us to God). We need to just admit that most of our concern for programs for our kids boil down to 1) we abdicate our role as the spiritual teachers in our children’s life and want someone else to do it and 2) we want free babysitting for a couple hours (and, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the idea of dropping off my kids at a church nursery so that I can go home to cry out “oh God, oh God” in an entirely different context).

Oh, and don’t get me started on being slaves to a nap schedule. I get that we’re a consumer culture, and we want church to serve us like Burger King: I’ll have a whopper of spirituality done my way! So we choose the services we attend in order to coincide with our precious, precious baby’s nap schedule. I appreciate the need for constancy in a schedule, but one day a week breaking your routine won’t kill anyone. Just admit that we’re ultimately still slaves to our own convenience and that it’s about you and your comfort. Again, I’m the Ayn Rand, I can appreciate that.

In short, if you want to talk to me about creating a rhythm to your life, I’m all good with that. And I’m all good with basing your routine around your Sunday morning or the convenience of your life. Just realize that you are modeling the importance of the gathering. Balance that out with the realization that it’s only one hour out of week when you worry about the programs you are subjecting your kids to. That isn’t going to be the bulk of what forms them. If I want my kids to be compassionate, I have to model compassion and be compassionate 6 days and 23 hours a week rather than stick them in a class for 1 hour a week and hoping for the best as they pat the Bible.

Of course, I can only rant like this as long as our church stays at Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. If we had to move to a Sunday night service, we’d have to leave early because our kids have to go to bed at 7:30 pm or they are monsters the next day.

If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.