Friday, October 10, 2008

twenty four minutes in the fringes

Being wrapped up in my current life of a house-flipping jedi padawan has blurred my past. Or at least I’ve begun to forget how the deep trenches of the poverty culture is where I had once camped daily.

I’ve recently been reminded twice of my past with the izzy group ministry* some five to eight years ago.

1) Recently in the obituaries I learned of Jim Diddy’s passing. Jim was one of the hanger-ons in the Willy & Patches crowd. He was a notorious drunk and engager of escapism and the mole lifestyle like his buddies. I last saw Jim at either Willy’s or Patches’ funeral. I can’t remember which.

Amazingly enough, the obit mentioned his years of alcohol abuse. It also mentioned that in recent years Jim gave his life to Christ and battled his demons one by one until they were no more. He went on mission trips to mexico with his church as recently as last summer.

Thank you CEO for Jim’s change in life. And thanks for showing me the rest of the story.

2) After work today I drove by a slum house where I often have seen Georgia Rusty sitting in the yard with a 40 ouncer. Rusty was there along with Double O. I did a u-turn and pulled over to sit with these old friends and their watered-down brews.

Man. I was in another world. I almost forgot what life was like on the extreme fringes. While I was catching up with Rusty & Double O and Maria (Rusty’s longtime girlfriend and legendary local schizo), some legless guy in a wheelchair kept yelling to Rusty to buy some of his weed. The wheelchair guy had a leg missing below the knee. And I swear I saw a partial bone sticking out, like maybe the doctors didn’t fold the skin over all the way.

And some other elderly lady walked by then sat down in the grass with a beer and stared off away from the street. I assume she had mental problems (or demons, take your pick).

I watched a cop drive by slowly and gaze at us, like maybe this was a house that was always patrolled.

Double O, a notorious drunk himself, filled me in on the details of his grandkids who have been born since we last hung out. Rusty openly shared of his addictions. Just alcohol and pot. But he quit all that “other stuff”. Needle doing and so forth. Both guys kept fantasizing about some government check that might pop into their lives soon.

I just told them about my children they have never met and how I’m remodeling houses now.

The culture didn’t shock me and I adjusted pretty quick. But I’m very rusty within the far fringes. And it was weird that I was looked upon as the "church guy" with their apologetic behavior and so forth. I've always hated getting the church guy treatment.

I may need to go hang out there more. They invited me to.

*izzy group – nickname for the ministry I was once director and associate pastor of. It was a hands-on ministry to the local poverty culture with various apparatuses.

photo - Gary Kazanjian / AP file


High in Demand said...

Since I’ve now revealed to agent B that I’ve been secretly been peeking into his files I can feel free to comment. I, however, do not have a blog of my own so I will be commenting through Mrs. Jedi Master’s blog. Nothing clever to say about this post. Just introducing myself.
The Jedi Master

No really, a bone sticking out?

Agent B said...

Yes, a bone.

But I didn't get a close look as he was sitting in the doorway and we were outside.

James said...

Agent b, first I just want to say discovered your blog via Revolution in Jesusland and have been a reader for a while. I'm just a guy on a spiritual journey. Anyway, I want to say that I hope you don't think I was preaching at you in my comments on your post "make history: join poverty," as I'm just tossing out ideas. I think you know a great deal more on the topic than I, having just read your article "What I learned from being kicked out of church."

Anyway, in response to your recent posting, I appreciate your story of hanging out with the fringes. Thanks for sharing this, it means a lot to me and my journey.

Agent B said...

James - I have no offense over anything you or anyone else have written here.

Thanks for stopping by and contributing!