Above all, get your self.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

It seems like everything that is around us is about identity. The past 12 years.

Obama was about the identity of black folk.

Trump was about the identity of white folk.

Obama was about the response of white folk to the identities of people of color.

Trump is about the identity of white folk in relationship to the identities of people of color.

The people of power reassessing their power. Or the Lord bringing them to the crisis point of having to do so.

And all of this “identity stuff” is tied up into one major identity: the identity of this nation.

White folks forgetting their own identity as immigrants. Internalized shame? Mystified shame? …don’t see it because you will have to admit that you were once “low” on the social hierarchy?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

What is wrong with where you came from?

What is wrong with sharing an experience with people from other socio-economic statuses, rich or poor?

Identify with the poor only when it is convenient.

Identify with the rich when there is something you want or aspire to—wealth.

How about identifying yourself as who you are, good and bad?  How about seeing others the same—and being able to look at them with grace and mercy because you have also seen the bad in yourself?

What would you lose by doing that? Power.

Power that poses. Power that postures. Power that lies. Power that shows strength, exerts strength, but, essentially, has very little strength because it lacks truth.

He who loves his life must lose it.

And then, you will really find it.

John 12:25

On a Day in 2020

The world ruled

            by bitter, bitter men

Who never got over

            the one who rejected them

The Mexican maid

“Surely, I am something

 to her”

            You are

                        Representative

                                    of many things,

all           which converge on one word.

Innovation and the Church

Church

Innovation and the Church

We were meant to be “the head, and not the tail”.  Yet in the past, over the last 70-80 years, we have been the “tail”, the last one in on the New and so far behind in warming up to that new thing that the element in question is no longer new, but old. Because the Church waits for something to be “tried and true” to use it, it loses an integral moment of setting the standard and seeing that innovation reach its full potential from the onset.

There are a few things wrong with the way The Church has deals with innovation. The main problem is that the Church fails to think of innovation at all. The second problem is that the Church demonizes anything new. The third problem is that, should the Church adopt an innovation, it adopts it long after it truly is innovative and the adoption carries a “copycat” nature within it.

Light bulb

But we were meant to be “the head and not the tail”.

Initially, I was concerned about this topic forty years ago, specifically in the area of music. I heard a few voices, very few, mention that when rock-n-roll came out, the Church could “have had it”, but they dropped the ball. Thinking of what it means for the Church to “have had” rock-n-roll, to take ownership of it and use it from its inception brings a lot of questions to my mind (as to what, exactly, that means). But I think that the Church’s criticism of rock-n-roll is –at least in part– evidence of what circumstances and situations would have been prevented if the Church didn’t ignore its innovative potential: drug abuse, sexual impropriety, alcohol abuse, theft of property rights and money. And isn’t it “odd” that many of the early artists and performers of rock-n-roll gained much of their performance and musical chops through the Church? I don’t think that is coincidence.

It was also forty years ago that I heard a song on the radio that caught my attention in a way that struck my spirit even more than my ears. It was a song by the band U2, their first US single, “I Will Follow”. I was compelled by that song and that sound. I had to know who that band was, who they were, where were they, and where could I see them and hear more of them. It was new, what they were doing. It was unlike anything else being played on the radio at that time. I wasn’t even hearing anything quite like that in the local club (Scorgies, in Rochester, New York) that I occasionally went to, that hosted punk and New Wave bands. In an early interview that I saw of them with the inception of MTV, the band said of themselves that they weren’t punk or New Wave; they made “U2 music”. It was around 1984 that I found out about their spiritual connection, that at least three members were “born again” Christians. I went to see their concert in 1984 at the RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) skating rink and I felt like I had been to a really good, really personal, really freeing worship service– Bono’s climbing onto tall speakers included.

“U2 Throughout the Years: Photos From 1980-2017” Billboard Magazine Online https://www.billboard.com/photos/8070284/u2-photos-career

It was only a few months ago, after listening to some of the contemporary worship music by Jesus Culture and Hillsong that I suddenly realized, “Hey, that sound is the sound that I heard from U2, forty years ago!” The drone, the bass, the resonance of the guitars…some of the mood, even. And I thought to myself, “It only took forty years….”

Why did it take the Church so long to catch on?

Even with part of the Church catching on to “the sound” so long after its inception, there is still criticism against that type of worship. I think that some of the criticism against worship endeavors like Jesus Culture, Hillsong, Ramp, etc. might be similar to the criticism against rock-n-roll back in the day. And I think some of what is criticized might have been thwarted if we had been ready to receive it forty years previously and had aligned ourselves with that innovation. But, once again, the Church didn’t.

I’m concerned about the Church receiving what Chuck Pierce calls, “The New”. I’m concerned about the Church not being ready for what Chuck Pierce refers to as “the Next”. I am concerned that the “spirit of innovation” that certain prophetic circles within the Church mentions might be missed by many people for as many different reasons as there are dissenters of the particular ways and manners of worship that Christians in the US– and beyond– walk in.

We cannot miss this!

Let me say it again: We cannot miss this!

My concern over the Church and innovation was important enough to me to really begin to blog in earnest. Subsequently, my goal for at least a portion of this blog will be, hopefully, dedicated to exploring issues with the Church and innovation, the Church and “the New”– as an educator and academic, as a musician, as a writer and artist, and as someone with what is now decades of “walk[ing] by faith and not by sight” and participating in congregations ranging from “long-traditioned” denominations to non-denominational startups.

Hopefully, some of you will walk with me, and learn with me. When I get my blogging chops together, I will be welcoming your feedback and conversations with you. I don’t know everything; I merely will express what I am moved to express from my observations and meditations.

Thanks for riding with me into the New!

Challenged in Changes

I did say my writing here would be sporadic.

I realize that is not necessarily good for the must-post-because-people-are-waiting age that we live in. But I don’t write here for that.

My hopes is that when someone falls upon this site, it will contain something worth the reading, if only for one very small thing. A respite in the day. Relieving the clicking trigger-finger on the keyboard, a moment away from the washing, the news, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the studying….Whatever bogs us down in our every day lives.

Every day is a challenge. Every day is posed with changes. A new gray hair signals some challenge (endured or overcome), a change (negotiated with as much grace as I could muster).  When my head is full of nothing but gray hairs? Then I can say that I am, indeed, a survivor of life.

I’ll wear my fluffy white crown, then, and it will be a signal:  You can ask me…if I didn’t go through it, I knew someone who did. I sat with them, I held them. I listened. I tried to speak only when the drops would saturate and soothe, not burn off in the heat of trouble.

 

From January 2

I want to be

Alone in

My feelings

In this place

I am all right

The feelings I feel

Are not up for judgement

The calm and closeness

The sigh and the whisper

Where it is is where it lands

Hope and the dying hand

I seek your face

And your face I do seek

Light is shining

In thick butter gleams

Hold to me

And do not forget

Where it is where it lands

The beauty of a cast of light

Don’t forget

This might be night

But it doesn’t stay this way

Forever, and even in night

There are those stars

And the moon every twenty eight days

More or less.

Fear of Writing

When I think of writing, I think of fear. From the moment when I was able to write as more than just an exercise in penmanship, writing became fear.

No. That isn’t quite accurate.

It was the moment when someone else saw what I wrote outside of an exercise in penmanship: That was when writing became fear.

So I am, so many years after that moment, starting a blog of writing. It is an attempt to overcome the fear by “going public”. It is giving into the fear by doing it anonymously.

One can’t conquer everything all at once.