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Artist, Teacher, Blogger concerned with American culture, its effect on faith and how Christianity effects American culture, specifically, what the word "christian" means to Americans today.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Living On The Interest

I have a stock account, meager though it may be, I definitely have a stock account ( two actually). One of the reasons I started buying stock is because I have a dream... possibly a delusion of granduer... I don't know, of being able to do something that people call “Living on the Interest ”meaning that you have enough stock in your porfolio, enough savings put away, that the interest alone will take care of you. It's part of my retirement plan.

I'm working on it. Right now I have a total of maybe oh... seven stock, only one of which is actually profitable, but that 's the goal. And hopefully, that will change for the better. And I'll keep putting a little bit extra away to make sure that I'm able to continue to build that account.

But I began to realize as I was sitting here... actually lying awake in bed at 4 o'clock in the morning... after having had a couple of surgeries and preparing for another one, that I have a different account and that that account is important, because with that account, I am currently living on the interest... and it's not interest on a treasure I've accumulated, but the interest earned by those who deposited before me. People, men and women in my family who have gone before me who made covenant with God... who have served Him, who have loved Him... who have received promises from Him and although they may be long gone, I am living on the interest of their deeds.

One was Charles Kirkman-Bey. He was my maternal great-great grandfather... my maternal grandfather's maternal grandfather. He was a leader of the Moorish Science Temple of America, a group started by the same founder as the Nation of Islam and he ran it in Chicago for almost 30 years.

Kirkman-Bey was a man that believed that truth transcended culture and religion and that there was truth in all of the major faiths. He took parts of Taoism, Buddhism, early Christianity, Freemansonry Islam and Gnostism. He looked at all of these faiths and saw truth in them all and combined them and helped to create the Moorish Science Temple of America, and lead the Chicago temple from 1929 to 1959. From all accounts, when he died in 1959, he left a legacy... a legacy that still exists ... a legacy of honor and compassion that exists to this day, and not just in the city of Chicago.

Another person in my family was my Aunt Willie. She was known on the northside of Chicago for feeding people during the Depression. She had a gift for talking to people, especially young men, and leading people into right action... to be an asset to their communiity instead of deficit. She had no official training, was not an official priest of any denomination, but she had the heart of one, and hated to see decent people suffer. She was single-handedly responsible for bringing our family to Chicago and she was able to do this on a cleaning woman's meager pay. When she died in 1977, there were so many cars in the funeral procession, you couldn't see the end, and these were not family members, but people in the community, black and white, rich and poor, who came to pay their respects. She left such a strong legacy in Chicago so that when I moved back to Chicago in 2007, there were still people that remembered her and because of her deeds, looked after me... I lived on her interest.

Another is my fraternal grandmother, Luna Gaddis, who was known for praying for people. Again, not in a denomination that honored women ministers, but who ministered. No title necessary. I didn't know her well, but when I went to her funeral, there was standing room only in the church and people overflowed out into the street and it wasn't just family. It was the people she had loved and prayed for and counselled who were in tears and weeped heavily at the loss of someone who had poured so much into their lives. I had the opportunity to hear person after person talk about how she had counselled them, how she had prayed for them, how she had helped them see that there was a call on their life. I live on her interest.

My great grandmother, ... my maternal grandmother's mother, Sophie Virginia Howard (her maiden name)... was the “family elder”. On my mother's side of the family, we have a designated family elder who is the head of the family and it's normally one woman. She was known for being a “holy woman” and not just by members of the family, but by the people in the community. She died before my mother was born, so I never got a chance to meet her, but I did get a chance to speak with my last “family elder”, Alene Matthews, Sophie's granddaughter, before she passed, who imparted some knowledge about Sophie Virginia, who I'm named after (Virginia's my middle name) and I understand that I'm living on her interest as well. Sophie Virginia was not just a woman of prayer, she was a healer. She was of Cherokee, English and African ancestry and although she attended a Baptist church, her faith was closer to Cherokee/Christian practices. She was known for being a godly and decent woman... and today I live on the interest.

Now I personally, have done some things to deposit into this account. I haven't just completely relied on the interest acrued by others deeds. I've attempted in my actions in my life, to make deposits myself, but I know that the reason I exist isn't necessarily just because of the deposits I've made, but because of the deposits that were made long before me... long before I was born... long before I was even thought of. Those deposits are covenant with God, made by members of my family for the care and well being of their bloodline... That “their seed shall remain [Ecclesiaticus 44:13] and God keeps His word. I live, because of their interest. I live because of those covenants. I live and move and have my being this day, because God honor's His word... because “God magnifies His word above His name” [138:21].

Long after the bodies are gone, long after the deeds are done, long after all this is said and done, what remains is what we have with our heavenly Father, what remains is that interest, that deposit that we made in faith, that deposit that we made knowing that we served a God that would never leave nor forsake us [Deut. 31:6] that God is true and cannot lie... that heaven and earth shall pass away before his word returns unto him void. [Matt. 24:35] Even when it seems like things aren't going well, the fact that we remain is evidence of that covenant, and we live on the interest.