Storms

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Storms exhilarate us,

Storms terrify us,

Storms can change a life in so many ways,

Storms can destroy years of work,

Storms can bring much needed rain,

Storms enthrall us as we revel in the sounds and sights of motion,

Storms set us aflame with deliverance,

Storms recalibrate our sensibilities,

There is a storm coming,

A storm of charity and peace,

A storm of justice and mercy,

A storm of truth and enlightenment,

A storm of awakening and recompense,

A storm of forgiveness and amends made,

A storm of technological innovation,

A storm of science and faith coming together as the partners they were intended to be,

A storm of awareness of all the dimensions that surround us,

A storm of explosive creativity and ingenuity,

A storm that evolves the face of humankind,

And reveals its Savior like never before.

Selah

The Plan

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Demon 1 – Oh my God!! He’s done it!!! He’s risen!! Oh crap!! We are so screwed!!!  That crazy man actually did it!! He rose from the dead after dying a violent death!! What do we do now?  We are definitely in it!! I mean bro!! We got a problem!!!

Demon 2 – I don’t know?! I guess we’re just screwed?! I mean I’m at a loss?!

Demon 1 – I know!! Let’s kill all of his followers!! Then there will be no one left who knows!

Demon 2 – No! That will just make them martyrs and the faith will spread like wild fire!!

Demon 1 – No bro!! I’ve got!! I’ve got it!! Let’s sow seeds of ignorance and fear among his followers.  Let’s convince them that he’s unforgiving and will condemn all unworthy servants to the torment that awaits us!!!

Demon 2 – Yes!! Yes!! That’s brilliant!! We’ll convince all of his followers that homosexuals are of the devil!! We’ll convince them all that Yoga is demonic! Yes! Yes!! And the more powerful and devoted they are, the more ignorant and judgmental we’ll deceive them into becoming!!

Demon 1 – Oh Man!! We’re geniuses!! This is so perfect! He dies on the cross to save humanity, but we will create a war of all against all.  There will be no tolerance.  There will be no togetherness!! There will be no harmony! Just confusion, fear, and manipulation!!

Demon 2 – Oh, bro!! We’ve really arrived at something, let’s get these ideas to master.

Demon 1 – Yes, let’s do!!!

The Still Small Voice!

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

I laid down in the bed terrified,

I felt like something was trying to take over my mind,

I could hear 2 and 3 sets of thoughts in my head,

My stomach was spasming uncontrollably,

I could not satiate my overwhelming desire to die and be free of the torment,

And I heard a still small voice in my consciousness say, “Woody, I’m here, and where I am you are safe”

And for the next 3 hours that still small voice talked me out of a madness that I wish on no one.

This experience has happened over 100 times in the past 3 years.

Over 100 times I have felt tormenting madness, and over 100 times a still small voice has talked me out of it.

Guiding me to the left and to the right.

Is the still small voice God?  Is it an  angel?  Is it a higher form of myself?  Is it a figment of my imagination?  Is it a nefarious force trying to deceive me? Is it a creation of a troubled mind?

I think at different points over the last three years, it has been all of the above.

But it has guided me to a point where I am on the brink of my goal to be 100% functional and symptom free on meds.

And when I am free, I will free others.

You can count on it.

My Daughter is a Poet

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

My daughter is a poet,

I saw it with my own eyes,

She has the gift like few I’ve ever seen,

As she spit fire from her cell phone,

In the effortless euphony of one with the gift of rhythm,

And I pray for her,

Because life is hard for poets,

We feel things deeper,

But I know she’ll make it to the rising sun,

And her story will be magic,

Cause her dad is a poet,

And he’s got her back!

Of Belief, Fear, Suspicion, and Transcendence

By: Woodrow Lucas

As part of my recovery from illness, I see an energy worker named Carol Bratcher.  She is a truly gifted healer, but she is not a Christian.  Some months back she gave me a book to read called Anna Grandmother of Jesus, which described Jesus as being in the tradition of the Essenes and having a bit different approach and philosophy than traditional Christian witnesses have relayed.  Something else that the book talked about is the process of how Anna an angelic being “walked into” a woman named Hannah during a near death experience and lived out an extremely long life in Hannah’s body.  As a person, who has felt like my body sometimes did not belong to me, and who has a belief in the existence of the demonic, I was horrified by this notion of Anna “walking in” to Hannah and felt tempted to end all of my work with Carol Bratcher.  But as time passed, and I got some emotional distance from the book, I began to understand this “Walking In” process as perhaps an act of mercy or benevolence in many cases.  And as I just let myself calm down, my fear of the book and this “Walking in” notion faded away.  I still would not likely soon espouse the belief matrix articulated in Anna, Grandmother of Jesus.  But now I do not see it as some “conspiracy of evil” intended to derail my progress, and rather view it is as a beautiful book, which possesses ideas with which I do not resonate.

But I wonder?  What would have happened, if I cut off all contact with Carol as a result of this book?  What would have happened, had I let fear define what I did and did not embrace in my healing journey?  I wonder, what might have happened had the European settlers viewed the indigenous population as beautiful co-owners of the earth, rather than savages to be exploited?  I wonder, how many of the atrocities of Christendom have been committed as a function of fear and suspicion?  But I also wonder?  Are Christians the only religious category on the earth that operates in fear?  And seems to sometimes live out of fear?

 

Ironically, I was at Carol Bratcher’s again today, speaking with a woman about how she overcame Breast Cancer through alternative healing techniques and the incredible care she received at a Hospital in Taiwan.  I began to tell her my ideas about the neuroplasticity of the brain and how I believed that the human body was designed by God to heal itself of ANYTHING!  And she seemed very interested in my thoughts.  But then I said, “It is like Luke 1:37 says, with God nothing shall be impossible.”  As soon as I quoted that scripture, her whole demeanor changed.  She was still very friendly, but it was as if she wanted to quickly remove herself from the conversation.  It was as if my use of Christian scripture had triggered her to this new belief that I was no longer a like-minded soul.  Can two souls be likeminded without sharing a believe in Jesus as penultimate?  Can two souls who believe in Jesus as penultimate be like minded even though they disagree on the notion of eternal hell?

 

Religion and belief, are and always have been a complicated terrain.  All the religions of the world really do not say the same thing, neither do they introduce us to the same worldview at all times.  But are fear and suspicion sufficient vehicles through which to navigate the terrain of religious diversity?  It seems to me that at the very least we need some basic assumptions which keep us from going down the road of fear, judgment, violence, and definition by contrast.  I believe that Namaste is one of those beliefs.  The idea that there is a divine spark of beauty and goodness in every single one of us, helps us to understand more and judge less.  Similarly, the idea that God loves all of us equally and so will find a way for all of us to reach a state of peace and rest is indispensable in my opinion.  If you can see your brother making it to heaven with you, whether he is an atheistic, a Muslim, a Jew, or an agnostic  it helps you to see the best in that brother and it helps you have a sense of kinship with that brother.

 

Now I am not suggesting that we all have to have the same view of the afterlife, or the same beliefs concerning the hereafter, but I am suggesting that while I feel a strong like mindedness to many people who believe in eternal hell, notions like eternal hell are ideas that I just do not think that humanity can afford any longer.  I am not saying that we need some “one world religion” to bring us all together, because I believe that our diversity is so sublime and beautiful that it is like a symphonic aroma for our creator.  But I am saying, that every religion needs to begin to dispense with some of their notions that breed fear and suspicion.  For it is not a time for fear and suspicion.  We live in a brave new world, with challenges which require understanding and compassion across every line of division that has existed in the past.  We need beliefs and understandings that help us to reach across barriers of race, religion, gender, sexuality, class, and culture.  My hope is that these beliefs do not become gross oversimplifications of truth that undermine the beauty of our diversity and complexity.  But without doubt, we are in need of paradigms and truths for this age, which as scripture states, “Bring in things new and things old,” and propel us into the harmony of God’s beautiful and perfect will for our species!!

The Monastery

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

The Monastery

Do you hear voices?  Are you experiencing terrifying experiences that you are afraid will get you in trouble?  Have you almost given up hope?  Are you so berated by fear that you are paralyzed by inaction, tormented in inertia and tormented every time you try and get free?  Is your ability to take care of yourself and handle your affairs being adversely affected by the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual turmoil within?

I want you to do me a favor.  Imagine for a moment that you are in an invisible Monastery where they are teaching you a form of nonviolent Kung Fu.    Imagine for a moment that the Monastery operates on top of your everyday life, sometimes with little regard to the disruptions it may cause in your everyday life.   Imagine for a moment that there are little monks who are guiding you, teaching you, molding you, shaping you, and definitely protecting you at all times.  Imagine for a moment that they are allowing you to undergo experiences which are terrifying in their mystery, but that they never allow you to suffer for too long.  Imagine that there have been times when you have imagined grabbing every single monk that you have worked with and beating them senseless.  Imagine that there have been times when you have wished you could fight the Monastery head himself, Jesus.

Now I want you to imagine that severe and persistent mental illness is not a death sentence.  I want you to imagine that there is a solution to that problem.  And I want you to embrace the Monastery.  I want you to choose the Monastery.  I want you place yourself in the Monastery; by saying, “Jesus please heal me.”  And now begin your journey.  Knowing that although it may not seem so all the time, you are safe, and you are part of a time delimited process to get you healthy and well.

Now Let It Begin…………………..

The Brain – A Mystery to be Discovered

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Very soon I will be the Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Tennessee.  While researching brain injury, I was struck by the sense of immutability that surrounds brain injury.  When individuals suffer serious injuries to the brain, the word acceptance is used often, but the word hope, if it is used, is almost never used in reference to their brains healing from the trauma.

 

I remember when I was first diagnosed with mental illness.  After a period of about a year of accepting the dismal narrative that was I was given by my doctors.  I received a “baptism of the holy spirit” and have been convinced ever since that I will “beat” mental illness and the demonic oppression that often accompanies it.  For 14 years now, I have never flinched from my commitment to be 100% functional and symptom free.  And truth be told, I have made miraculous progress toward that end.

 

So as I begin to wrestle with the phenomenon of “brain injury” I am embracing the word “acceptance” like I never have before.  And I am trying to find ways to improve the lives of individuals with Brain Injury without necessarily addressing actual healing coming to their brains.  But I must be honest.  The God I serve is a God with whom all things are possible.  And the healing potential of the Body is nothing short of infinite.  So although it is not a top priority right now, I truly believe that someway, somehow, faith and science together will discover the uncharted mysteries of the brain, and the key to unlock its infinite potential for healing and only God knows what else.

Note to All Eagles

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

All Eagles!!

There is a time in everyone’s life when Mother Eagle throws you out of the nest and either you fly or die,

All Eagles!!

There are times in your life when those closest to you make you feel like the worst person ever born.

All Eagles!

When you feel yourself plummeting to the ground at ever increasing speed and the only future you feel is your body splattered on the ground.

All Eagles!

When you lose all of your faculties and feel like there are little creatures crawling around in your body,

All Eagles!

When you are diagnosed with terminal and inoperable Cancer.

All Eagles!

When your spouse divorces you for your closest friend, and you have to see the two of them once a week as custody alternates,

All Eagles!

When the investors of your startup all decide to pull out, and the electric company threatens to turn your lights off if you don’t pay the utility bill,

All Eagles!

When you are plummeting to the ground, assured that your demise is upon you.

Feel it!

Experience it!

Be discouraged!

Be afraid!

This is natural!

But as you descend, and after you have mourned and grieved appropriately,

Reach within yourself and find this message:

“Little Eagle, I know that I seem like a cruel God to let you experience this.

But I have a plan.

This is not the end for you.

You were destined to fly.

But you are an Eagle, and before you fly you must fall,

You must fall with terrifying speed,

And you must feel like all is lost,

And when you let go of everything you thought you wanted out of life,

And you say to me, “God what’s next?”

That’s when you will feel the strength to spread your wings and soar!!

Little Eagle, I know it seems like there isn’t much more that you can try,

But don’t give up,

Because death is not your destiny,

You are created to fly!

Now do so!!”

Compassion for Judas

By: Woodrow Lucas

At 2am this past Sunday, 29 year old, Omar Mateen, gunned down 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.  Some fundamentalist Christians believe that gay people live in sin by expressing their sexuality openly.  Some people call Omar Mateen a monster, and what he did monstrous.  Some people believe that Muslim immigrants are dangerous.  Some people believe that all mentally ill people are problematic and have very little to offer.  Some people believe that all human beings that do not confess Jesus as Lord before they die, will go to a hellish torment which they will deserve and which will last forever.  Some liberals think that Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to American politics since Ronald Reagan.  Some Conservatives think that Obamacare is a form of Socialism.

When I was a young preacher and read the story of Jesus and his passion, I was petrified of ever becoming like Judas.  For this man betrayed the ever living Son of God, and surely that was worst thing a person could do.  When I say Namaste to people, roughly paraphrased, “The divinity in me salutes the divinity in you,” I mean it every time. I truly believe that every one of us has the spark of God within us.  But what about people like Hitler?  What about slave owners in the South who molested young defenseless slaves for sport?  What do we do with monsters and their monstrous acts?

Some people believe that homesexuals are monsters and that they are destroying the fabric of modern society.  Can a person who was born with a sexual preference be compared to someone who systematically exterminated millions of people just because they believed in the Torah?  Should we as human beings be comparing ourselves in the first place?  Should we as human beings be categorizing ourselves into monsters, less monstrous, lewd, lascivious, righteous, holy, judgmental, evil, good?  Are these categories useful in the long run?

At 2am this past Sunday 29 year old, Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.  Does his act signify the end of a fallen society?  Does his act signify the beginning of a sequence of apocalyptic events which finally separate the righteous from the evil, and set the good free from the fallen?

Around 2020 years ago, my hero, Jesus Christ was born.  And he was powerful beyond imagination but his love far outstretched his power.  And when he became a man and started his ministry he had a disciple named Judas.  And Judas could not understand a man who claimed to be the answer for humanity.  Judas could not comprehend that a mere man, could be so important.  And so Judas betrayed Jesus.  And some say that Judas committed suicide and others say that Judas’ bowels fell out onto a field of blood.  But all say that his end was not good.

When I was a young preacher, I got very sick and felt torment most of the time.  And I saw no hope.  But then my hero, Jesus, told me a secret.  He told me that when he died on the cross, he knew that if he could rise, he would secure the destinies of all human souls.  And then he rose.

I am sad about Omar Mateen.  I am sad for his victims.  I am sad for him. And I want to one day meet Judas.  And thank him for his strength to be the evil to my good, to be the lost so that I might be saved.  And then I want to embrace him and ask “So how long have you been here and where is Jesus?”  Some people are afraid of Donald Trump.  But I believe that a time will come when they and Trump drink the same wine of redemption from the same eternal river of Joy.  Because the truth is, that despite all of the tragedy and darkness and pain, Judas is a good man who deserves my compassion, and a happy ending awaits us all.

The Music City Marathon

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

The Woman crossed the finished line, barely able to breathe or stand.  Her body felt as though it may never function correctly again.  And yet in the midst of the exhaustion and pain, she was totally elated.  Her husband rushed to her.  “26 miles baby!! You did it 26 miles!!”  She thought back 2 years to when she weighed 378 Ibs.  She thought back to a year ago, when she was first beginning to train.  She was discouraged, in the grocery store about to binge on potato chips.  And just as she was entering into the snack aisle a strange man in shorts walked up to her and said, “Hello Mam, do you believe in God?”  She replied, “Yes,”  Then the man said to her, “Then don’t give up!!! You have come too far to give up!!! With God nothing shall be impossible.”  The woman began to cry.  But when she looked up to thank the man, he had walked away.  From that moment forward, the woman had many ups and downs in her quest to run the music city marathon.  But never again, did she doubt her ability to do it….