Thursday, August 28, 2008

the update files

Checking in:

Some days I wonder if the “agent b” era of my life is coming to a close. Not that I would quit living subversively within the poverty culture. But writing about it on the computer is waning fast.

My new found life in the avoid-the-computer arena has obviously added to this wane. And so has house flipping.

But I'm hanging on for now. I think.

Padawan status:

My jedi training is moving ahead at light speed. Being matched up with my jedi master house flipper is truly an answered prayer and a crafting from the CEO. My training transcends simple carpentry and trades skills, but also real estate and business skills.

My current maneuver and thus communications requests to the CEO is possibly my becoming the financier of the next house flip.

Correct: I could be visiting a banker or two soon about a future house project with the jedi master, making he and I equal partners in that particular endeavor.

I ask you to join me in praying that this timing is correct and thus, the banker gives the A-OK and therefore, the loan.

Hop aboard the fellow-ship:
...complete with fool-ass luggage.

No, seriously. I’ve always thought the word fellowship to be a complete cover-blower. I mean really. Yes, it’s a real word with multiple uses according to the dictionary. But how often is it used in everyday conversation outside of church talk?

I recently ran into an acquaintance from the Happy Daze Community Church I was once employed at. He cuts to the chase and asks, “where are you fellowshipping these days?”

Imagine if you were me.

How should agent b honestly answer that question?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

employer spotlight #002

In this edition of the seldom received, highly coveted employer spotlight award, we acknowledge the jedi master, for whom I train under in the house flipping arena.

Note: this award is to bring out positive news from local employers in the fair mother city - a city who is chock full of tight fisted (ie: "cheap") business owners who mostly happen to be christian too.

The jedi master recently closed on a house that I was a small part of a couple of months ago. It was the one I mostly volunteered at after he notified me that he could no longer afford extra help that I was filling in for.

This house was a fair sized profit maker. The day of closing, both Chucky and I received sizable and very unexpected bonuses.

A business owner profits and thus chooses to share the wealth with those who helped him get there. What a concept. Thank you CEO.

And here's to you, jedi master house flipper, receiver of the second ever agent b employer spotlight award. Enjoy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

jesus doesn't give a sh** about your prosperity

One of the biggest crocks in the history of the church is this teaching that the god who was born in a feed trough, became a homeless wanderer, then was tortured, humiliated, and murdered, somehow wants you to be materialistic, thus happy.

Or, you know, prosperous.

This is a false message from false preachers, false teachers, and bogus prophets. Have nothing to do with them or their sugar coated words.

There is no die to self in this kind of message because prosperity is a SELF-based message.

Opposing a prosperity message is very unpopular. One assumes that by opposing the feel good prosperity message, the opposite is being embraced and emphasized: poverty. Nonsense.

Jesus does not want you to be rich.

Jesus does not want you to be poor.

Jesus does not want you to be comfortable.

Jesus does not want you to be tortured.

Jesus wants you. Period.

So please christians, do away with your whiney, fat-ass, soda-guzzling, gadget-wanting, compensation-demanding, comfort-driven bullshit.

Thank you for your time.

* I know this doesn’t help when my reading material of late is any and every story I can find on martyrs. I’m fascinated with anyone who is willing to die for a cause. Especially faith. If interested, I recommend Foxes Book of Martyrs for starters.

** I know this doesn’t help when my new pal and work-mate Chucky
(who is not an overtly spiritual minded person nor heavy church goer, but he does join his in-laws at a local church that’s subtly prosperity-laced) mentions in a recent conversation “well I know that jesus wants us to be prosperous”. ?!? Says who? Those North Korean christians who were forced to watch their relatives have their heads run over by a steam roller? I guess they missed that message when signing on to jesus

Thursday, August 14, 2008

mr. mackey

My across the street neighbor Mr. Mackey and his wife Faye are sort of the anomaly of our street.

They do not embrace anything of the poverty culture or mentality. Their house is in better condition compared to the rest of the street. Yet they are not “rich” by American standards and live quite modestly.

Their mannerisms and so forth are very middle class. Mannerisms like...occasionally making a snarky comment about a neighbor or two who parks in the front yard and leaves trash everywhere.

Yard parking and trashy yards: those are two major offenses against the middle class mindset. I think. Or maybe it’s just their generation.

I love the Mackeys a lot. In many ways, they remind me of my parents. Or maybe my wife’s parents. I mean, they are all the same age, go to the same type of church (church of christ), and make the same kinds of snarky comments about yard appearances.

Maybe this is just the culture of 60-somethings who worship at the coc. I don’t know.

Recently, I’ve noticed how I am a lot like Mr. Mackey. Or, I am becoming like him.

First, Mackey is a cabinet maker by trade. Although he’s been known to do other various trades jobs like general contracting for home renovations which he uses me on occasion. Recently, he and his wife quit their paper route after nearly 20 years. They grew tired of the early morning hours yet they feared losing the steady income. So they confided in me that they were taking a leap of faith and quitting the paper route.

Now he’s got so much work that he can barely keep up. Thank you CEO.

Anyway, Mr. Mackey’s history is that he was once a young preacher in the coc. His first (and last) preaching gig out of college was in some small town in Louisiana in the late 1960’s.

He said that preaching was fine, but the church was tough – a bunch of old rednecks and so forth.

Mackey preached there for two years and the church wanted to get rid of him. The final death knell: Mackey’s sermon on how they should accept black people into their church.

They kicked him out for that one.

So, the Mackey’s made their way for a new life in the fair mother city enrolling in school. They bought the house they still live in, started a family, and he fell into trades work.

So I’m thinking: beat up by religion, making your own living with your hands. Yeah, I can relate to that.

I’m finding more and more former professional clergy in the trades-world within the fair mother city.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

evang-e-droppings #017: anniversary

We here at the agent b files acknowledge the celebration of the mediocre by making mere mention of the one year anniversary of the Evang-e-dropping Eradication Operation this week.


This operation is still such a dichotomy in my life. I find it silly or absurd. Yet I take this operation seriously and go way out of my way to maintain this act. I miss it when I’m out of town or ill and thus can’t pick up tracts, etc.

The following are some brief recollections of the evang-e-dropping gig over the past year. It is still a coin toss as to whether it has benefited anyone’s life but mine:

Cleaner – There’s at least ONE city block and its surrounding area that is free of guilt induced evangelical outreach tracts. I suppose that’s a good thing. You be the judge. The weekly average pickup is about 30. I have found as much as 60 and as little as 17. I have yet to find any scientific rhyme or reason to these numbers other than windy days equate to fewer tracts. To date I have almost two plastic shopping bags full of tracts in my house. I have yet to know what to do with them. No, I’m not going to put them on people’s cars during their church service.

Gimme some lovin' – In the tract collecting process, I have gathered all trash found on the night club premises and disposed of it. I have no idea if club owners or employees have taken notice, nor do I care. I am concerned if I have been caught on their security cameras though.

Canada would be proud – Beginning on new years 2008, my family and I have begun recycling. The fair mother city has several easy access locations to collect glass, plastic, tin, aluminum, newspapers, and cardboard. So, I also carried this over to the Evang-e-dropping gig. It makes it a little confusing, collecting tracts, recyclables, trash and keeping them separate. I think this operation sort of inspired me to take up recycling both on the operation and at home as I have hands-on experience with how much crap we produce and dispose of.

New friends – To date, two complete total strangers who stumbled across this blog have joined me on the operation. I am honored that someone would join in with this, so thank you.

Least of these – Being out on the streets again has briefly put me in touch with our local homeless society, whom I once had deep in-roads with five years ago. My wife and I miss having a meeting place where we can meet on common ground. Maybe someday.

Ground control to major tom – About 90% of the time, I am solo on the operation. And that’s fine with me as I look forward to the communication with the CEO. And tract collecting provides ample time for that

Thank you CEO, for giving me the grace to maintain and celebrate the absurd. Just say the word and I'll drop this like Oprah on a baked ham. Otherwise, I look forward to our chat over tracts next week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

padawan #001: demo

I am having a blast on the jedi padawan gig. It’s only part time, so I’m allowed up to 25 or 30 hours a week. I wish I could be there a full 40 hours. I really REALLY wish I could drop the pruning boy gig with Son & Dad Tree Service like a rock. Maybe in due time.

I joined this current project with the jedi master from day one. We started with a cruddy house and are transforming it into something livable and sell-able.

The first step in the process is demo (as in demolition). Destroying the old. Violently removing everything that is not staying. Taking it away by force.

Typical demo tools are: hammer, various pry-bars, and a sawzall. Sledge hammers and circular saws make cameos on occasion.

Demo can take several days, depending how much transformation will take place.

This week I found myself in “the zen” several times.

The zen: wearing safety goggles, ear muffs, and operating something loud and repetitive.

The CEO of the universe communicates to me during the zen quite often, even when the zen involved swinging a sledge hammer at a cast iron tub. That was a virgin experience for me.

I find it no coincidence that the CEO shows me the importance of the demo process during the zen so shortly after my hell and back experience.

I think he’s on to something.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

to hell and back

Excuse my brief internet absence. It was an accidental yet necessary hiatus which may continue throughout the future as I ponder and reluctantly observe my own carnality.

This secret agent is going through a deep cleansing from headquarters.

I have begun permanent maneuvers to remove a single root of life-long sins. I believe this to be a very necessary move to bring my family and I into the calling of our life. We have been in deep training for it these past five years of desert wandering.

Meanwhile, I have done some very un-agent b-like things such as: join a men’s group at a local church. Yes. You heard me right. The time is now. Also, I’ve subjected myself to another’s cleansing prayer ministry of sorts and discovered a handful of deep seated issues that are freeing me as of this writing.

Hell is a very lonely place. I don’t ever want to go back there.

During my 24 hour hell get-a-way I contemplated killing off “agent b” and thus disposing of this blog. I now believe that to be a knee-jerk reaction. But future reports might be more sparse as I purposely avoid family-ignoring devices in my life such as the computer. Hey...I’ve discovered things like: my daughter loves to sing and my kids are good with play-doh. I’m not too shabby with the play-doh either.

In the past, I have avoided the practice of soliciting blog comments. So I do not seek your pat on the back. But if the agent b files hasn’t helped anyone’s faith journey one iota, then maybe it’s time to wind it down. We’ll see.

Thanks for your time.