Thursday, August 6, 2009

In This House, On This Morning (Max Returns to the Mourners' Bench)

This morning a call from Pops Reddick woke me up way too early. It seems the Right Reverend Pops Reddick has been tagged to give the key note address at some conference or another, and he wanted me to critique his sermon.

And I listened despite the earliness of the hour. I have finally come to the age when I can admit that my dad is actually a very interesting individual. He is like the mad scientist of the theological community. Currently, he is consumed by his own pseudo science which he calls theosophy, a marriage of theology and philosophy.

But anyway, the conversation turned toward church liturgy for some reason or another, and I informed him that I thought the most powerful part of any church service was the culminating altar call or Mourners’ Bench. So, Pops Reddick proceeded to inform me of the psychology undergirding the Mourners’ Bench. And it’s not all about securing one’s place in heaven.

Sitting on the Mourners’ Bench is tantamount to a public confession. And according to Michel Foucault, the public confession accomplishes two things: the public confession establishes guilt and recognizes power. In the instance of the Mourners’ Bench you confess that you are nothing more than a dirty low down sinner and you recognize and give yourself over to the omnipotency of a higher power.

Please stick with me. I am hurrying toward my main point, but first I just had to establish a few things.

Pops Reddick broke it down further in secular terms. At that moment, you must do a bit of soul-searching (excuse the pun). You must weigh yourself. You must decide just who and what you are and where you stand and just who and what you are and where you wish to be.

And the public spectacle is required so that others might bear witness to your moment of transformation and provide you support as well as hold you accountable.

Let me simplify this for the Facebook and Twitter crowd. It’s just like setting up your spiritual profile. Except you have to be really, really honest or your friends and/or followers might call you out.

So, I’ve been contemplating the knowledge Pops Reddick bestowed upon me. And as I enter middle age, I am trying to get a firm grasp on just who or what I am and where I wish to be. In doing so I realize that I have not achieved many of the goals I set for myself so long ago. I realize I am nowhere near where I wish to be personally or professionally. And I need some spiritual help as well.

And I am returning to the Mourners’ Bench to publically confess my shortcomings, to say publically that at this time in my life, I am not yet who or what I wish to be and additionally, recognize my power to be able to change that. I am the only one person with any real bearing on my future, on my success, and I will not give that power over to others by blaming them for my own personal shortcomings and failures.

The door to the realization of my aims and dreams is right in front of me and all I must do is to compel myself to move forward and reach for the door handle, and once I enter, leave the door slightly ajar for those coming behind me.

And I am confessing it here so that you might bear witness to my confession and provide me support as well as hold me accountable.

Do you need to return to the Mourners’ Bench? Have you taken account lately? Do you really know who and what you are and where you are heading personally and professionally? The doors of the church are open.

11 comments:

Seattle Slim said...

I don't know if I am still at the mourner's bench, or if I've finally left (I think I have) but I was at the mourner's bench when I was told that I had a lump on my lymph node and would need a biopsy. Boy, did I hit that mourner's bench. I confessed and begged forgiveness for not moving forward with my plans, second guessing myself, etc. I made changes and then I was told it was benign. Maybe that happened so I could sit at the mourner's bench for a minute and reflect. I guess I wasn't reflecting as effectively as I thought I was.

Welcome! And honestly, once you spend time there and get your thoughts and ideas together, you'll leave stronger and happier than ever.

Max Reddick said...

Sometimes I find life moving so fast that I cannot sit down and get my thoughts straight. However, I am determined to take time to think and to contemplate things a bit deeper as I move forward.

Right now I am trying to simplify a few things so that I can get off the merry-go-round before I allow it to get me too dizzy.

A. Spence said...

I think I haven’t reached the Mourners Bench. I know where I’m heading personally, but professionally, I hadn’t come to any decision. I hop from one place to another mentally on ideas and thought, that it’s hard for me to make a choice. I’m interested in everything but committed to nothing. I often think about what I want to do with my life professionally and I’m left still thinking about it.

udee said...

Thank you for this powerfully inspiring blog entry. I feel the need to share it ... would you mind me re-posting this, Max?

Ever since graduating college in May, I think I've been at the Bench without realising it. My soul's been very very quiet and I've been writing a lot more than I ever have. I think I'll stay here for a while ...

And thank you, Seattle Slim for your testimony of health ... it's really inspirational to hear ... gives me hope. This too shall pass.

Max Reddick said...

Of course you can Udee.

LoudPen said...

Max, this is the best inspirational post, I've ever read!

But really, I'm not where I want to be professionally or personally, but, I truly believe I'm headed in the right direction. I've already received a promotion at my job after less than a year, and I'm currently in the process of starting a blog conference with a subsequent organization. So, I feel that my ambitious work ethic will get me to where I need to be. All my life I've known that I was going to own my own business, I just didn't know what.

I have my dad's entrepreneurial spirit, I can work with others, but, not for others...there is a difference. A lot of people are threatened by my strength and direction b/c I am young, but, I'm glad I have it now so by the time I'm older I can just relax and count my blessings.

msladydeborah said...

How difficult it is to carry the weight of imbalance on the inside. I believe that everyone has that time in life where sitting down and looking at who you really are and what is really on scripted on your heart is necessary.

I take time periodically to do that spiritual self examination. I've learned that I'm part smooth and part nappy. With a lot of lumps, bruises and jagged edges within my personal story.

What makes that inward look tolerable is the fact that I know that it can be altered for the better. That is the beauty of the time spent on the mourning bench. Something good comes out of that time.

Citizen Ojo said...

I'm trying to get off the mourner's bench...

Toya said...

I actually had never heard of this expression until reading this post but this is something that I recently did. In the sense that I took a long hard look at myself. I looked at myself literally in the mirror, faced up to my shortcomings. The things about myself that I had never openly acknowledged and it was a life changing event. I broke down. As I writer I often expose myself in my writing but I had never exposed myself to myself. It was life changing especially at this point in my life when I hear my life's clock ticking. It has been a major step in the growing process for me.

This was a very honest post and thank you for sharing it.

Keith said...

Great post. It was definitely full of some insights. I'm 38. I'll be 40 in December of 2010. I've been thinking a lot about my life. I often feel like I'm a crossroads. I'm seeking out where I belong. I look back at the years to see what I've done or didn't do. I'm happy with some things, but ashamed of others. Your blog always makes me think. Have a great weekend.

*MaRiNa* said...

I really enjoyed this post..I think that all people should feel a bit "lost" at some point of their life - it means that they are thinking human beings and not robots that are programmed to follow a particular route. I spent two years of my life feeling completely lost. I was unable to set any goals, I was unable to live the present...I felt as if I was "chained" and both my personal and professional life were a mess. It was a tough period but it helped me realize things about myself and about Life in general. I still can't say that I know exactly which direction I want to follow and well why should I? When you *live* life you discover things about you every day, you evolve and change..I admire people who set big goals and stick with them because I never managed to do it, but at the same time, I feel that they miss the excitement of the unpredictable and that they often ignore possible new desires and needs, simply because they could ruin their "plan"...So, I don't know, who lives happier?

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