From Amos: Confessions of a Major Minor Prophet

Chapter: A Place to Be From

Everyone asks, “Where the hell is Tekoa?” I have to say, “I have no idea.” I mean, maybe I could find it on a map. By tripping through familiar place names, places I’ve gone through on the way from here to there. Maybe. I don’t think I care enough to bother. Really, I doubt it. I doubt I could be brought close enough to caring to bother. Where you’re from. The distance you’ve come. Who the hell cares? Maybe, especially, you know . . . yourself.

Tekoa. It’s a bloody little place. Killing and revenge killing. And then some more killing. A place of murder and justification of murder. A place of zealotry. A place with no imagination at all. Even the ghosts are bored with the place. Their screams and hauntings seem so pointless to them. I know. I am one of them.

A dull, haunted, bloody place, Tekoa. Ever was; ever has been. Ever will . . . .

Fate unknown. Unwritten. Yet, somehow, it’s clichéd end is almost inevitable. Tekoa.
A lot like the human mind in that, isn’t it?

No water. Nothing green to speak of. Big washed out gullies. That’s the story of my life. Anywhere you find those things—which is pretty well everywhere—that’s me; that’s where I come from. That’s where I am, most of the time. Find some shepherds surviving somehow; you’ve found me.

Nothing to speak of. Yet, as with most humans and those who have been in that shape, I will speak. I will word on.

Not that you’re looking. Really. I’m not stupid. You’re not looking. Who’s looking for anyone besides themselves? And I’m not you. Really. I’m not. Or at least I wish I weren’t.

Oh. And I’m a pruner of sycamore trees. A slicer of figs. Not a path to fame and fortune, huh? But did I say I wanted fame and fortune? I mean, yes, there IS some immortality—after a fashion—that comes with getting into scripture. The By-bil, no less! Yes. Even as a “minor prophet,” there’s some immortality in that. Until the world ends. Which, if I haven’t mentioned it yet, ain’t long off. The end of the world.

Anyhow, I’m slightly immortal. But not famous. Just infamous. Which is different. And not rich. Not rich at all.

But even poor folks have insights. Think things. Get the combination on the safe of reality right, at times. Sometimes. Even poor folks. Even the uneducated. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s my main, bottom-line, big-deal message—even poor folks see straight sometimes.

That’s why I’m a major minor prophet!

On long nights out in the desert; nights when there’s nothing, nothing, and more nothing everywhere you look. On those kinds of nights. I’d hear a lion way off somewhere. Roar. A big, blood-curdling roar. Makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It does. Sends a cold shiver through you. Makes you see blue and taste copper and go blind just a second of two. That roar. That’s the school I went to—that roar.

You don’t know where it is. You don’t know if it’s coming at you or going away. You don’t know what that lion’s about to kill—one of your sheep. Some lowlife out to steal one of your sheep. A snake. Who knows?

But what I’ve got to say is that when you hear that roar, you’re awake. Wide awake. Aware. Listening. And that, my friends, is what a prophet is—somebody who just heard that roar.

Someone awake.

Only it ain’t a lion that’s roared. It’s God Almighty. And when God roars, you’re gonna lose more than a sheep and a little sleep.

I’m just sayin’.

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