Part 1 of my interview on the MindShift podcast

It was my honor to talk with Dr. Clint Heacock of the MindShift podcast recently. We discuss biblical inerrancy, its origins and implications in today’s church, as well as a bit of my story. Here is part 1:

MindShift, 8 Dec. 2017


Not our faith

There are numerous reasons why I left Christianity. The journey was 32 years before I finally said, “Enough.” As a black American, it’s simply not our faith. Christianity in America, by and large, was introduced to, and forced upon enslaved Africans. We were not allowed to practice our religions from our villages in Africa. It’s the slave master’s religion, and I recognize it as such. Being told I’m evil, serving Satan, and going to Hell are no longer compelling reasons for me to stay in something that I no longer want. And all Evangelicals have as a bargaining chip/blunt instrument, is Hell. They become petulant elementary school playground bullies, threatening to sick their god on me instead of the time-honored threat to ‘bash my teeth in.’ I’m done. If there is a God and an afterlife, my part in that is between me and the deity. It’s no longer anyone else’s business, and it really never was. I reject the agency of the church over my relationship with the divine.

Pain’s absence

When constant or chronic pain goes away suddenly it feels weird.

Sometime in 2004 I started having a problem with the right edge of my right foot a few inches from my toe. I’d step on something and hit that spot and have to stop and let the pain subside. It was so bad I went to a podiatrist. He diagnosed something he called a bone prominence and suggested opening my foot and shaving down the bone. I was apprehensive about that because there’s no undo for things like that. Then my mother suggested seeing another podiatrist she had worked with for a second opinion. So I booked an appointment. She made X-Ray slides of the foot, something the other doctor hadn’t done. Then examining it she said she wasn’t convinced of the other diagnosis and that it looked like a clogged sweat duct.

Because of the way my feet hit the ground when I walk and the fact that I hadn’t been using any lotion or oils on them, bits of skin filled one of the sweat ducts on that foot and started pressing against the bone. Whenever I stepped in such a way that pressure got applied to that spot, I felt pain. After having her scrape it with a scalpel over a couple of appointments and applying lubricants to my feet, the problem cleared up…until earlier this year.

A few months ago I had another flare-up in the same spot. These start with friction in shoes. I have had a habit of wearing shoes far past their usefulness. I wasn’t in a position to start replacing shoes when this occurred. So I put up with it…for months. Then at some point a spot developed on my left foot in a different location. In June I began the process of selling my house. So that had me in a hurry…in and out of the car…stepping up on things…carrying things while walking.

It was hard.

And it ended August 3rd.

Well I replaced the shoes and I went back to the podiatrist. She took care of the problem on my right foot but the one on my left was problematic. It took a few more visits and my putting Shea butter on my feet to finally get that cleared up. Until about 3 weeks ago I was experiencing pain nearly every time I moved my foot. Even though my shoes were new, my foot hurt more in a couple of pairs than in others.

Now that the duct seems to be clear, I’m no longer feeling the pain. But it feels weird. The memory of it and the apprehensiveness to put weight on it, anticipating the pain is still with me. Hopefully that will fade. The plan is to replace my shoes every year to 18 months and keep applying the Shea butter to my feet.

Staying ahead of the drought

This is my skin most of the time, and especially in the winter. Many people have conditions that heighten during major weather changes. For some it’s joint problems, for me it’s my skin.

I never bothered much with lotions and oils growing up. I guess I had a not exactly rational idea that my skin should just repair itself. I’m sure it was one of those ‘I don’ wannas’ of childhood. The thing is, I’m in my mid fifties and have only recently started working on my skin and trying to stay ahead of the dry. It’s taken a few visits to the podiatrist to get me to see that my skin is always drying out and I have to keep applying lubricants to it to keep it healthy. I don’t know if it’s something that a proper diet and taking in enough fluids can moderate. But given the varieties of lotions, oils, cremes, and balms in stores, I doubt anyone is able to eat right and have healthy, properly moisturized skin.

The cheaper lotions don’t do the job well enough for my taste. I have a jar of shea butter that I use. It absorbs easily and doesn’t leave your skin with a greasy feel, like you need to keep wiping your hands to get rid of it. This is a form of thirst, just like needing to take in fluids to stay hydrated. And failing to do that can lead to problems requiring medical treatment. Think of it as a supplement. Instead of the easy to swallow pill you massage it in.

Find a good plant-based lotion. Lanolin works, but some people are allergic to it, and we’re not sheep.