I Didn’t Grow Up Dreaming One Day I’d Be A Prophet

When I was a little kid, I wanted to be Evel Knievel, or a police officer, or a fire fighter, or maybe an astronaut.  I was sure I would work in a career playing for the Dallas Cowboys too.  But by the time I was in high school, I was basically disillusioned with church.  I certainly didn’t think then that I would find a career in prophecy when visiting my guidance counselor.

And the pay?  Well, the job earns so little, they can’t afford to print up brochures featuring it.

I was in my mid twenties when I came back to church.  And while there were some exciting features of that time in my life – in my faith – I still did not expect to take the path I found.  But no doubt I came back with a critical eye.  And the ironic thing, at least as I see it, is that when I went to Bible school, I did not expect to make a career of it, but I did hope that I might have valued input in my church… input I expected would prove supportive for those who preach.

Even then, the faith heritage I grew up in has practically no depth of understanding of, and no value for, prophecy.  Most of what I have learned about it, I found without the help of my church, the academy, or any of my mentors.  A little, sure, but not most.  And so I did not grow up valuing or understanding either.

My involvement with prison ministry and street ministry – especially my involvement in ecumenical circles working in those areas – pushed me to imagine more fully how God works through prophets.  I began applying the things I learned in one single college course, a handful of books, and one single seminar (a rare look at prophecy in church offered by a visiting preacher) to my work on the streets especially.  I found power in symbols and rituals that had seemed so flat and two dimensional before.

But none of that seemed like a prophetic calling to me.  I sensed that I was flirting with some deep ideas, alright, but I also sensed that I was like a toddler finding a loaded gun.  I did not feel qualified, adequate, or even wise enough to embrace a prophetic calling.  So I resisted it even though I gave it a lot of thought.

However, about that time I joined the homeless camping on the streets for over a year, and then joined Lubbock’s Premier Homeless Pseudo Church (not its real name) where I began volunteering, among other things as a chaperone during cold winter nights to host those without shelter under the roof of Jesus’s people.  It was around this same time that Mrs. Agent X and I got married, and we embraced prophetic symbols in that ceremony seeking God’s blessing on our life together – a story you should look at if you haven’t before.  See it here:

https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/proph-o-drama-wedding/

It was shortly after that wedding, and our second winter volunteering to chaperone the homeless, when suddenly leadership in our church arbitrarily refused to host the homeless on a cold winter night.  Upon seeking verification about why such changes in policy were made, we were told there was a lack of available volunteers at first, but this was just not true.  We had arranged for them already.  And when leadership was confronted about this, I was told, “It’s a leadership decision, [Agent X], and you will just have to accept it”.

A leadership decision to break with long standing practice is one thing, but a leadership decision to break with a long standing practice/policy based on dishonest reasoning is another.  A leadership decision to muscle a decision to break with God’s Word is another too.  What response does a believer have with this?

Well, at first I began a series of meetings with the board of directors, but it quickly became clear they were supportive of the bad decision and not interested in being reasonable about it.  I sought compromise with them (and looking back on it, I think that was ridiculous actually), but they weren’t having it.  Weeks and weeks of negotiations did not yield even an inch of compromise.  Both me and my position had NO VALUE.

It was in the midst of this pressure cooker, that I found myself looking much more seriously at the options.  I decided to answer the prophetic all, if indeed God was calling, and invited a group of homeless men to come eat with me at my home, to pray on it, to study on it, and see if we might reach a consensus between us.  One of the more divinely mysterious features of that moment happened to be that on the Sunday when this occurred, as I was preparing to invite a handful of individuals, the head guy from the board of directors, without knowing what I was doing at all, suggested to me that I go involve Agent J (the original Agent J) in the little group I was putting together.  He still has no idea that God used him to select (elect) one of the founding members of the Fat Beggars School of Prophets, but he did.  It was the best contribution the board of directors ever made to our mission!

In a matter of weeks, only a few meetings for prayer, our little group was perceived to be a threat, and an ultimatum was laid out by leadership that we disband or else I would be kicked out of the “church”.  I never dreamed of being a prophet when I was a kid, and so when I found myself looking for the way to honor God when my “church” refused me all the usual avenues for it, I found myself answering the call.  Sadly, this was a Leadership Decision “church” leaders just were not willing to accept.

And it seems they still aren’t.

Hmmm…

12 comments

  1. Spy Vs Spy · July 31, 2018

    James West!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · July 31, 2018

      Yes. It’s true. When I was very little, I thought I was Jim West from the Wild Wild West TV program.

      I don’t think, to be fair, that I planned on being Jim West when I grew up. I think I just thought I already was Jim West even when I was like 3 or 4 years old.

      Thanx for reminding me.

      Like

  2. T. F. Thompson · July 31, 2018

    Reblogged this on Hard Times Ministries and commented:

    No PROFIT in this job. Take it and shove….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · July 31, 2018

      Yeah. Talk about “NONPROFIT”! Try nonprofit propheting!!! That’s nonprofit. Don’t need a 501c3 or tax breaks for this nonprofit because it ACTUALLY is nonprofit – as in for real!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the wonderful insight. Love it. Great way to see how God calls us. I’m guessing none of us saw what God has in mind for us.

    Religious elites and false teachers never like it when someone actually practices the truth; they are incensed when people believe the truth.

    Thanks for being true to your prophetic voice. Keep speaking God’s truth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · July 31, 2018

      Thanx Michael, your words here are always encouraging. Very. I mean it.

      Thanx!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · July 31, 2018

      I have been busy with other things this morning, but this post and your encouragement on this blog are still with me through the day.

      I was thinking more about the story behind this post. I began remembering that after Mrs. Agent X and I got married in the Premier Homeless Pseudo Church of Lubbock (not its real name), the prophetic character of it all SEEMED to impress the “executive” pastor, “Pastor Bates”. He actually asked me to discuss it further with him, briefly.

      Perhaps he was just blowing smoke up my skirt. I sat down shortly after that and began writing about it. I started envisioning a book – it ultimately became Proph-O-Drama, a booklet I published here on the blog (one chapter per post for a lengthy series a while back) – see the link to the into here:

      https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/proph-o-drama-1-the-intro/

      When I started that project, I had expected him to take part in it – to co-author it – but despite my reaching out to him repeatedly, I was ignored.

      It was also around that time that I thought I was joining a prophetic movement. And that is possible, actually, but if that is what it was, the prophetic nature of it died about the time I showed up.

      Previous to Pastor Bates and his wife taking the wheel of this organization (which happened right around the time I joined) they had a partnership with a third minister who was very active in that church bringing numerous ministries out of it including a community garden. I cannot be sure of the details, since I was not part of the leadership there before that time, but from my viewpoint it appears that this other minister was largely responsible for the program of brining the homeless inside for shelter on cold winter nights. The changes in this policy came down the pike shortly after he left, which was not pretty. He was pushed out, actually. Well, he was pushed, alright, but he did not resist the push. He went gracefully, but tearfully – both his own tears and those of MANY of the street people of his flock. In fact, Tent City started, largely, due to this minister’s work. But there is a long twisted story behind that, and I have overly simplified it by stating it this way. Nevertheless, Lubbock has this man to thank, I believe, for the fact that we got an official Tent City.

      but the truly prophetic part about his work that really excited me, work I know mostly through the grapevine and not from direct participation, but which happened in the year or two leading up to my participation, was that when the city complained against the church saying they were not zoned for shelter services, and thus putting the homeless in the lurch by saying this, Lubbocks Premier Homeless Church (under this other minister’s supervision, to the best of my knowledge) chose to host “all night prayer vigils” in the building! The city cannot zone a prayer vigil in or out of a church building, and this made a very prophetic/subversive end run around the city’s manipulations of the poor AND told Lubbock’s authorities that Jesus Is Lord here! That excited me, and I wanted to be a part of that kind of thing!

      So when I joined, I hoped I was joining a prophetic movement. I expected there might well be a good chance that I would be learning from this group, that we would advocate for the poor in imaginative ways that say Jesus is Lord to the powers and principalities rather than caving to them. And when you consider how that portion of central Lubbock was coming down the back half of a major, MAJOR revitalization project, I expected Lubbock’s Premier Homeless Church to be right in the midst of the CLASH of CASH n TRASH so to speak. I expected the Body of Christ to hold the city in one hand and the poor in the other and fill the gap with a cruciform positon. I figured I would have some input to help as well as new things to learn.

      Sadly, as I was chaperoning thepoor in the cold winter, I found out we were going to kick them all out to the street in the cold while the news cameras were NOT rolling, instead. And right about the time I got kicked out for insisting we keep letting the poor come in, City Bank held it’s annual contest where the whole community votes for its favored nonprofit to receive $10,000. And what do you know? Our “church” won it! Won it right while kicking me and the poor out to the street in the dead cold of winter!

      These are verifiable facts here. But of course no one WANTED to look into it. So it all happened just like that.

      Thus… I am still here being a mere burr under the saddle. I was serving Jesus WITH my church when suddenly my church began serving Mammon instead – or so it seems. And no one has showed me where I am mistaken about that yet or turned back to Jesus for a course correction in all this time.

      Hmmm…

      Yeah. There is a lot more to the story. Layers. Hard to hold it all together at once, really.

      So, yeah, thanx for the encouraging words.

      X

      Like

  4. Brother, thanks. I enjoy hearing more of the story. Thanks for the faithfulness to live out what Jesus wants for the poor and homeless.

    Usually, the prophets God sends are despised and their message unheeded. Isaiah described his nation as a “rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.” I imagine how tough it is for you that the direction of God is ignored. Not an easy thing.

    They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions’” (Isaiah 30:9–10). Really, the Premier Homeless Pseudo Church of Lubbock only wants to hear pleasant things? Sad!

    As a prophet of God you must be committed to speaking God’s truth. I am reminded of the prophet Micaiah just before his fateful confrontation with Ahab, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says” (2 Chronicles 18:13). I know this is your heart.

    Blessings, peace and love.

    Like

  5. laceduplutheran · August 1, 2018

    A beautiful example of the power of the Gospel. It calls on us, beckons us actually, to be uncomfortable and inconvenienced by others. It afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted. Keep that in mind, and you’ll be just fine. I hear the retirement plan for prophets is like paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · August 1, 2018

      Yeah, I went to school for this stuff. Got all the debt that goes with it. Learned about Jesus from the institutions the church I serve supports. But they aren’t about to give me a job. Not a chance!

      I didn’t exactly see that coming when I got into this.

      I have kids desiring careers in “theology” now. I tell them to minor in theology or double major with math/science because I cant see a way to make a living with theology unless its dishonest and betrays the mission. Any careers that are honest are fast disappearing in this country. Gotta make tents.

      Liked by 1 person

      • laceduplutheran · August 1, 2018

        There is a difference between a career and a calling. Sometimes they overlap. Sometimes they don’t.

        Like

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