Tuesday, March 24, 2009

bad guys

My son, Agent Offspring #1, is four. And in his vast world view, there are two kinds of people: good guys and bad guys.

He plays various adventure scenarios in the back yard based on the embarrassing amount of videos I never thought we'd let our kids watch. And the characters in his play adventures are realistic but quasi predictable. The good guys do good stuff and the bad guys do bad stuff.

He's probably too young to comprehend that sometimes bad people do good things and sometimes good people do bad things. Hell, I can't always comprehend it.

And then there's "who gets to decide what is good and what is bad and what is the definition of good and bad". And on and on.

A couple of weeks ago, my next door neighbor, former backyard shadow, and garden wars competitor The Tiger finally went off to jail for some crimes he committed about two summers ago. He was on probation for a while until he broke his probation.

I told him about jail a while back, hoping to convince him to live on the up in up during the probation period. It didn't work I guess. I said "you're 18 now. You're a man in the law's eyes. No more pansy juvenile detention wus-ville. You'll get put in a cell with six other guys who will force you to be their girlfriend, all at the same time".

I love The Tiger. He really has good in him. A lot. I've seen it. I've lived next door to him for six years and have known him for four years prior to that from the old izzy group ministry food pantry days.

Not to defend his actions but, in many ways he never had a chance. I mean, he grew up moving every four to six months. His mom moved him and his two siblings into one roach infested hell hole after another. He grew up watching men beat his mom. I'm still amazed that to this day he has yet to copy that behavior. He's never had a girlfriend that I know of nor has he created or participated in any physical violence.

He's just such a follower. He's never had a grand goal or even any small goals and stuck with it. He's never had any parents or adult role models that had goals either. He just lives day to day and see what stuff happens. That's the poverty mentality.

But he's a good guy. Deep down. I know he is.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

state of affairs address

Almost four years ago I, Agent B, introduced myself to a small internet public via the agent b files and began sharing my adventures of both a) my spiritual desert period as well as b) my assignment within the poverty culture of a very religious North American city. And other than the occasional word from the CEO, prophetic-type observation within my own surroundings, or random jackass quips, I believe this blog has remained true to it’s mission: to report my discoveries, observations, and personal confessions as a middle-class westerner within relative poverty surroundings while remaining (somewhat) true to christ’s words in Matthew 6:1-4.

All of that to say – there hasn’t been much for me to report as of the past several months for reasons as follows:

1) My wife and I continue to plead with the CEO for an assignment change. I cannot imagine leaving the fair mother city with Obi-Wan still alive and well. But should he pass on, or the CEO gives the green light otherwise, we want to leave. Bad.

We have a realistic destination in mind, but it’s way too early to mention it. As for now, my family and I have stopped “investing” in the fair mother city. We just don’t have it in us anymore. We are spent. Never thought I’d say this but, I just don’t give a shit about Abilene, Texas anymore. Our time is up. The religious strongholds have not won over me. But I am weary. And besides, I’m pretty sure our time here has been a training period for the next phase of our lives.

2) Due to the above, I feel that there is little to say of my life and thus my lack of blogging. I really feel that anything I write now would only be a bunch of rehashed observations from the past four years. One can only say the same thing just so many times.

3) Since much of my day now revolves around trade work (which is physically taxing) I am usually tired by the end of the day. And when I get home there are two toddlers, a newborn, and a wife who is weary from dealing with them all day. I have little time or energy to write anything of significance.

I still have multitudes of observations of the poverty culture and the wealth culture from within my jedi padawan gig. But again, all has been said before one way or another.

On a related note, I am excited about this youtube clip going around of some famous guy on Conan O’Brien’s show ranting about the whineyness (or joylessness) of our wealthy culture. I see this all the time during remodel jobs for wealthier people. People can always find some ridiculous little nuance to be unhappy about. Meanwhile, we installed a laminate floor for an elderly woman who seems to live pretty simple and she was the easiest human to work for. Have lots = bitching & whining. Have little = thankful for everything. Go figure.

Back to the subject – the agent b files isn’t going anywhere. I haven’t heard to shut it down. But my reports may continue to thin out.

My thanks to the handful of you who continue to find value in these writings, thus continue reading. To all – my apologies for not keeping this blog as active as it once was. Thanks for your communications and comments over the years. And please continue to communicate whenever possible. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

the aliens

One of the major chapters in the life of Agent Wife and myself is our African friends. About four or five years ago Agent Wife somehow got hooked up with a large African family through her French speaking abilities.

This family is actually four separate households – all siblings: two brothers and their two sisters. The oldest brother is some 20 years older than the other three, so he’s like the patriarch or something. And some have spouses and children and so forth. So, they’re a large group.

They came to the fair mother city through a non profit program called the IRC: International Rescue Committee. It’s a group that assists in bringing immigrants from war torn countries seeking asylum. They pay for the plane fare to the US, find housing, speed up the immigration process, assist in finding jobs (always hourly pay labor since even the educated don’t know our culture, language, etc), and assist in government subsidies (food stamps, etc).

Then they have 4-6 months to be completely self sufficient when all the subsidies end. And oh yeah, they have to pay back that plane fare. Air fare don’t grow on trees, I guess.

So Agent Wife & I stumble upon a great DVD at the library that I highly recommend: The Lost Boys of Sudan. It’s not just some boring documentary (which I like those, btw). But it’s pretty entertaining. Like the Napoleon/Pedro-esque technique of a young man trying to impress a female by giving her caged birds he caught.

Lost Boys is filmed in a “reality show” style, minus both the nonsense and ego filled soliloquies. The characters share a very similar story and life to our local African friends here in the fair mother city, which helped open our eyes to their daily issues.

If anything, this film can effectively show Christ followers the difficulty of daily life for the aliens in our midst. I hope it raises your compassion for those far from home.