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It’s Sad to See an Old Lion


Our podcast last week was one of our more conscious ones. We had our first freelance writer to join us and we discussed a couple of her articles. There was a deep conversation to be had about where certain sects of society stand on race relations. You can still be surprised by the lack of empathy of some, or you can be inspired by those who are looking to be a part of the change.


Since I began writing these blogs, I remember back in college in a creative writing course, my teacher said the best inspiration you are going to get is overhearing everyday conversations. Before every class, he made us write on the board the most outrageous, or insightful dialogue we heard in between classes. This week’s title came from famed boxing trainer, Teddy Atlas. Teddy is one of the all-time great boxing trainers, as well as a historian.


I saw a video clip of him earlier this week talking about MMA fighter, Anderson Silva. Teddy was in awe of him. He saw that you didn’t have to be an MMA expert to realize you were looking at greatness. In Silva’s heyday, he was truly special. A great pinpoint striker with an elusive defense. The man could truly close in on his opponents with such quickness, by the time he hit his opponent, they were on the ground begging not to be hit after being put in a jelly-like state.


Unfortunately, like most great ones, they can’t turn that competitive mindset off. They can’t see when their skills start to diminish or when the game has passed them by. Teddy spoke on Silva’s latter fights in his career when he finally became human and his metaphorical armor began to show significant chinks. Teddy said it is sad to see an old lion, especially when he doesn’t see what you see. Silva’s speed was no longer there to match his precision striking. That defense eluded opponents was a thing of the past. At some point in our lives, that ability that makes us feel superhuman leaves, and some of us try to hold on to it, while others accept their fate.


*****


Our guest on last week’s podcast, was freelance writer, and good friend of our own Batman, Dara Mathis. Batmanshared an article with us that she wrote for The Atlantic, “The Church’s Black Exodus”, that covered black parishioners leaving their church when health inequities aren’t being addressed, as well as the racial strife that goes on in our communities.


Dara expressed that when she did this article initially, it was hard to get sources to attach their name to their statements. Like a job, when you’re leaving out the door, it’s not good to burn bridges. They want to remain in good standing with their church in case there is a change of heart down the road. The Ebbtide Crew was able to relate to the feelings that Dara’s sources were going through.


I grew up Catholic, and I never encountered a priest (majority of who were white) that addressed any of the racial tensions that were going on in the world. The most I heard was feeding the starving people in 3rd world countries, and raising money for church functions. As Dara mentioned in her article, “these racial issues were something that was dealt with through fellowship and interpersonal relationships.” That was always going to be the vibe and it was just something that was understood and accepted.


Black churches have moved away from addressing these issues as well. You have to remember that the Civil Rights Movement was started in the black church. It wasn’t like black people in the 50s and 60s had their own meeting space to organize the Movement. The church was a semi-safe haven to organize tactics to progress the movement forward. White opposers knew this and that is why they were willing to bomb black churches, beat black parishioners as they came out of their mid-week bible study. In the case of Tideking’s father, when he was a teenager, the Ku Klux Klan road in his church on horseback, in order to intimidate the black congregation from registering to vote.


In Dara’s article, she also spoke about how some black churches don’t address our health and racial issues as well. Their focus is geared to building up the size of their congregation. Addressing these issues, will most likely turn people off and prevent the church from having a decent size attendance. I’ve seen this firsthand with the Catholic Church, whenever we had the rare priest who was concerned about his community. Within 6 months, that priest was relocated to another parish.


This has been the business model for the Church for quite some time. Build up your congregation and you will be able to expand your church financially beyond expectation. I get it! Most people come to church to escape the pain and strife that we encounter on a daily basis. It is a place of peace, a place to fellowship, and give thanks to God for getting us through whatever struggles we may be suffering through.


Making the issues we face in the world a consistent topic is just bad for business.

It was great having a more experienced writer on the podcast. Dara gave me some great advice as I continue to navigate my way through the blogosphere. As much as a writer loves to write, sometimes you’ll hit that wall and wind up with writer’s block. Passion can take you so far, and as Dara put it, “you have to find creative ways to push through the wall.” Resist all notions that you are losing your skill. One of my mechanisms that helps me to push through writer’s block is reading. Growing up, I was not a big spare time reader. It was only when I began to read more, that I realized that I can do what the author was doing just as well.


*****


As of Saturday, November 7, 2020, Joe Biden has won the 2020 Presidential Election. He has a lot of work ahead of him and I would like to talk about how we got here. When President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, there was emergence of what was called the Tea Party with the former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. This group was terrible and came across to the public as bold and uneducated. For me, I thought they were just misinformed. I encountered a lot of these people on a daily basis leading up to that year’s election.


As Obama looked to strengthen our country’s position as a powerful nation. We suffered one of our biggest security breaches in our nation’s history, when former NSA analyst, Edward Snowden, revealed the meaty part of our spy technology to the public. While it was invasive to our allies and our own citizens, I believe we always need to be on alert to prevent the next World War or terror attack. Snowden is now in Russia under asylum.


With our technology out in the open, this is how the culmination of Donald Trump becoming President of the United States came to be. Russia was able to slip through the cracks of our democracy through social media to sabotage our election, and also provide damaging evidence on the Democratic Party to the public. Under Trump’s administration we became a weaker nation to the rest of the world and we turned our backs on our allies.


As we welcome our new President, I think we are poised for a comeback story. We will remind the rest of the world that we are not an old lion, and that we have a few more victories left in us. I see us being like Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters, or Lebron James in year 17 of his career reminding the sports world of his greatness. We will be like the greatest of them all, Serena Williams. While there may be a good storied path to reach a victory, like Serena, we will be there to remind everyone of our dominance.


If this election has taught us anything, it’s that while our country may be an old lion that the world is sad to see. Sometimes it takes an Old Lion like Biden to pull out a victory to inspire a nation. While some of our churches have forgotten that they are giants in their communities and have settled for being relics rather than pillars. It is my hope that Joe Biden’s victory is the inspiration that can heal this country and help us began to move forward.

Tony Love

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