The Souls of Sin Folk: Spiritual Double-Consciousness

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate to do, that I do…for to will is present in me, but how to preform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not do, I practice…So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Romans 7:14-16, 18b-19, 25b

“…double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, – an American, a Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, who dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

As a child of God born in and shaped by sin, I ever feel this spiritual tug of war within my mind and my members. On the one hand I desire to do the will of God and bring glory and honor to His name, yet on the other hand I feel my body and mind crying out to fulfill the lust of the flesh. My sin, ever before me, I wonder if it is truly possible to be of one mind, of one body in the Spirit when the law of God ever stands revealing my flaws and iniquities? It seems as though I am in a constant state of spiritual schizophrenia.

Like DuBois articulates concerning the African American’s journey on the color line, I too feel, or no, experience a “double-consciousness.” My mind’s eye ever conditioned to the sense of comparative sight, always looking at myself through the eyes of the divine, measuring my soul by the laws of a world that looks on in loving compassion, yearning for me to commit to their world and stop traveling in and out on spiritual dual-citizenship. I ever feel my two-ness, – a Righteous man, a sinner; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose faith in the power of God alone keeps me from being torn asunder.

What makes it worse is that my fair ideals show that I am light, allowing me to pass. But true spiritual things are spiritually discerned and the spirit knows my darkness. I can’t pass in heavenly spaces. Places where God sits and clearly sees sin running through the veins of my actions. Running through the neuro-synapses of my thoughts. Passing simply allows me the privilege of walking into earthly spaces and not be judged, because man can’t tell if I’m light or dark.

I think about this often. How these two souls live within me, the righteous man, the sinner. Sometimes I want to only be righteous, and sometimes I wish to only be a sinner.

But the Spirit has revealed to me that I am called to find self-hood in the amalgamation of both. It is in my recognition of the sinful man that I understand that I am weak and in need of the strength of God. It is through such self-revelation that I desire to unite with the Spirit of God to be the righteous man. For unless God abide in me and I in Him, I cannot produce spiritual things; I cannot create, articulate, nor postulate of the Spirit because the Spirit is not in me. I cannot live and walk in the will and way of God, unless God live in me and walks with me.

Just as the black man is not simply American or Negro, he is the American Negro, I am not simply righteous or a sinner. I am a righteous sinner. The Bible says, “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16a), meaning my righteousness is defined by my rise, not my fall.

These two souls: the righteous, the sinner, living within one human body will ever war against each other, as the ideals of one will ever seek to oppress and suppress the ideals of the other. I cannot seek identity or belonging in one or the other, but must see the salvation that is presented in the fusion of both. I must understand that I can only find my righteousness in the only One who lived a righteous life – Jesus Christ. Therefore, I cannot settle for an identity based in my fall, for I am determined to continue to rise. It is God living within me that comforts me “because He [God] who is in me is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). I do not look to myself to live a righteous life. For no man other than Jesus Christ has done this. Rather I look to “Jesus, the author and finisher of [my] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is because of His sacrifice and His spirit living in me that I can boast of my two-ness “[that] the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:10). For I am a sinner saved by grace strengthened to be the righteous man.

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Adventists and Activism: A Religion Initiated Out of a Thirst for Social Change

“I am burdened, heavily burdened, for the work among the colored people…For many years I have borne a heavy burden in behalf of the Negro race. My heart has ached as I have seen the feeling against this race growing stronger and still stronger, and as I have seen that many Seventh-day Adventists are apparently unable to understand the necessity for an earnest work being done quickly. Years are passing into eternity with apparently little done to help those who were recently a race of slaves.”

Ellen G. White, “Proclaiming the Truth Where There is Race Antagonism.”  Testimonies for the Church vol.9 p. 204

On September 22, 1862 the 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, signed the Emancipation Proclamation releasing African Americans from the chains of slavery and granting them nominal freedom. Almost eight months later on May 21, 1863 the Christian denomination known as The Seventh-day Adventist Church was officially organized with its chief spokeswoman and co-founder being Ellen G. White.

Ellen White felt strongly about the condition of African Americans post-Civil War. So much so that two years after the church’s official initiation Ellen White communicated a strong passion to “evangelize Blacks in the South, and called for Seventh-day Adventists to join in the great work being done for Blacks” (Norman 2). It was with the sparks of this passion that her son Edson White felt compelled to respond. He and his wife Emma, joined by William O. Palmer and his wife and Captain A. T. Orton, built a steamboat they called “The Morning Star.” Completed in July of 1894 The White’s and Palmer’s sailed the Centennial Lake at Vicksburg where they brought over 1,000 books and by winter had over 150 students accounted for in enrollment. By 1908, because of the work of Edson White, the Southern Missionary Society was formulated and,

“controlled 28 mission schools with an enrollment of nearly a thousand pupils. The SMS became a branch of the Southern Union in 1901 and after the organization of the North American Negro Department in 1909 it served a function that made it the forerunner of the South Central Conference [of Seventh-day Adventists]” (Norman 3).

It was in seeing the ignorance and violence enacted on the African American body and mind that many within the Seventh-day Adventist Church felt compelled to action and thus helped to educate and later legitimately employ thousands of African Americans into the Seventh-day Adventist Ministry. But, there was a tag to it. Because of the prevailing prejudice and racism of the South there remained a need for the separation of whites and blacks. Thus, they did not worship together and many whites would not hear the truth or gospel message as presented by Adventists if blacks were in any way affiliated. For this reason Ellen White writes in her book Testimonies for the Church vol. 9 in her chapter entitled, “Proclaiming the Truth Where There is Race Antagonism” that whites should establish adequate houses of worship for Black laborers that they may continue to win souls within the Black community for the Kingdom. She states,

“Let them be shown that this is done not to exclude them from worshiping with white people, because they are black, but in order that the progress of the truth may be advanced. Let them understand that this plan is to be followed until the Lord shows us a better way” (White 206).

Realistically, White also understood that race and racism was a sin of the heart and that it would take diligence and intentionality on the parts of ministers to work to eradicate their destructive tendencies.

With this historical framework in mind it is my opinion that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has become lackadaisical in its work to remove racism and prejudice from its congregations. Although White gave admonishing for segregation it was under the conviction that the people of God would be ever diligent in their attempts to rectify this issue. Unfortunately, rather than seeking to, with much prayer and wisdom, teaching white congregants to see the humanity of the African American both congregations have become conditioned to worshiping separately, even presently. It is due to this psychological conditioning of “separate but equal” that I believe we as a denomination have lost our sense of urgency as relates to matters of injustice within various minority groups.

Most recently, the world is in an uproar about the consistent mistreatment of African Americans and those of Hispanic or Latino origin by various Police forces through physical violence. Many young men and women are consistently losing their lives by strangling, taser, and gun shot all at the hands of men and women who claim to “serve and protect.” It is with such loss of bloodshed that I share in the sentiments of the founding woman of my faith and “I [too] am burdened, heavily burdened, for the work among the colored people.”

We as people of all races, nationalities, colors, languages, religions, and classes, have a responsibility to work to address the injustices of our world. This is especially true for those of the Christian faith.

How can we call ourselves followers of Christ yet we find ourselves unwilling to walk in His footsteps and bring change and relief to the people we have been called to serve?

German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer speaks of the Roman mistreatment of the Jews of Israel in his book The Cost of Discipleship stating,

There were no longer any shepherds in Israel…The Good Shepherd (speaking of God in whom we are to reflect) protects his sheep against the wolf, and instead of fleeing he gives his life for the sheep. He knows them all by name and loves them. He knows their distress and their weakness. He heals the wounded, gives drink to the thirsty, sets upright the falling, and leads them gently, not sternly, to pasture. He leads them on the right way…Jesus is looking for good shepherds, and there are none to be found (Bonhoeffer 202).

It is with this in mind that I charge all people, especially minsters of the Christian gospel, to take up the mantel the Lord Jesus Christ has given you in His Holy Bible and through the admonitions of many of His disciples like Ellen White and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Do not seclude yourself in your respective religious affiliations, races, nationalities, and class standings. The work for the Kingdom must be done, and part of that work is meeting the physical, legislative, emotional, social, AND spiritual needs of people. We cannot continue to only seek to, in essence, forgive people of their sins but refuse to heal them of their blindness; we cannot continue to “forgive sins” but refuse to cloth their nakedness; we cannot continue to “forgive sins” but refuse to feed their hunger; we cannot continue to “forgive sins” but refuse to restore their bodies of illness; and we cannot continue to “forgive sins” but refuse to help mediate their social, physical, and legal mistreatment.

We have a work to do! What are you willing to do? What will you now do differently to help save the lives of black and brown people on this earth both physically and spiritually?

First things first! Sign this petition! Let’s get Congress to see that what is happening within our communities is not only ungodly, but also unconstitutional.

Sign Here!

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-implement-federal-policy-to-safeguard-the-civil-rights-of-citizens-from-law-enforcement-officials

“We are moved and our sympathies are stirred by the Macedonian cries for help in foreign fields, and our hearts are especially touched by the plaintive pleas for light we hear from those in heathen darkness. But what have we to say, and what are we doing to answer the imperative demands made upon us from the destitute mission fields within our own borders-the loud calls at our doors? Can we excuse ourselves if we permit these appeals, which are echoed and re-echoed, in our ears year after year from the millions in our own land, to go unheeded without more active and aggressive work on our part? The Lord has spoken to us in regard to this field, and especially concerning our duty to the colored people. God makes no distinction between the North and the South…Are we not under even greater obligation to labor for the colored people than for those who have been highly favored? Is there not much more due them from the white people? After so great a wrong has been done them, should not an earnest effort be made to lift them up?”

Ellen G. White, General Conference Daily Bulletin, Vol. 5 – Battle Creek, MI. – No. 13

 

References:

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. “The Harvest.” The Cost of Discipleship. New York: Touchstone, 1959. Print. Trans. of Chr. Kaiser Verlag Munchen. German Nachfolge, 1937.

Norman II, R. Steven. “Edson White’s Southern Work Remembered.” Southern Tidings 89.10 (1995): 2-3. Adventist Archives. Web. 17 Aug. 2014.

White, Ellen G., R. M. Kilmore, General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 21, 1893: General Conference Proceedings: Third Meeting. 311. Battle Creek. White Estate. Web. 17 Aug. 2014.

—        “Proclaiming the Truth Where There is Race Antagonism.” Testimonies for the Church. 1909. White Estate. Web. 17 Aug. 2014.

Malcolm X and Dr. King

mlk1“It seems to me,” said Dr. King,

“That one can fight with words of strife and call it civil rights,

Especially when a people must live in fear of the violent white knight.

But Justice cannot be enforced with unified national pride,

Justice is enforced with peaceful national stride.”

 

“That’s to no affect,” said Malcolm X.,

“The White Man has conditioned us to fear his knight,

We must condition his knight to fear our approach to civil rights. 

If it is in word or deed, we will attack with variety. 

So while you stride, though I do not oblige,

I will stand with pride, and address our soulful cries.

Unity begins in the mind. 

So until the whites are willing to unify, 

We stand together.

In a country that needs Black Pride…”

 

“It seems to me,” said Dr. King,

“That where there is division, there will always be intolerance;

Where there is intolerance, there will always be violence;

Where there is violence, there will be war,

And where there is war, peace cannot be a present force.

So let us not desert our country for our own racial good,

But rather rally together, black and white,

To create a country that speaks to human rights.

For injustice against one people is a battle for all to fight.

 

“That’s to no affect,” said Malcolm X,

“I speak not for intolerance, violence or war, 

And I agree that human rights are a fight worth fighting for.

But here and now there is a voice that should be heard,

The voice of a race that was dumbed liked a caged bird,

Blinded by ignorance,

Maimed by hate.

Paralyzed by the legislation of our racist Southern States.

This voice can no longer remain silent, 

This voice can no longer sit, 

This voice can no longer walk,

And this voice needs more than a simple boycott.

We must remember that the White Man has made himself our adversary,

So as for me and my house, we will act ‘by any means necessary.’”

 

“It seems to me,” said Dr. King —

“That’s to no affect,” said Malcolm X

Malcolm X Shown with a Clenched Fist Speaking at a Rally

#NMOS14 @ Malcolm X Park Washington, D.C.

Today I had the privilege of organizing, protesting, mourning, and chanting on behalf of the lives our community has lost to police brutality. It was powerful to see so many millennials passionate about igniting a freedom movement within our generation. To see our youth team up with our Elders; to see our whites team up with our blacks, all for the cause that is justice was incredibly moving. May this not simply be a one day meeting but a lasting movement leading unto organization that on this day was initiated! #FistsUp #saveblacklives #NMOS #BetheChange #HandsupDONTSHOOTIMG_2448

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#FistsUp

I’m going to continue to try and change the formatting so that I can get more videos on here. We had some truly inspiring speeches and chants recited this evening. 

Be blessed Family.

ORGANIZE!!!!

 

“Black Gold”: Black Male Mis-Representation

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“You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever. You were born into a society, which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity.”

 James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“Hold your head as high as you can high enough to see who you are little man. Life sometimes is cold and cruel, baby no one else will tell you so remember that you are Black Gold.”

 Esperanza Spalding, “Black Gold”

My spirit has labored over this news, so many opinions and so many concerns. I must be honest I don’t really know where to start or what to say. I simply know that something must be said.

I know that what is about to be shared is of a strong opinion mixed with controversial information and that many will find my thoughts difficult to swallow let alone digest. But I simply know that they must be said.

Since 1619 African bodies have walked on American soil as property classing “the black man and the ox together” (DuBois 18). This classification served to remove the black man’s humanity and inject the notion of his innate animalism, which subsequently condoned his oppressor’s use and misuse of his body for economic, psychological, physical, and sexual exploitation. According to U.S. Supreme Court Judge Roger B. Taney, “No Negro whether slave or free, could ever be considered a citizen of the United States…” This law was instated as a means to maintain the abusive behavior being practiced on the African American body. The combination of this ideology and legislation produced what we have now come to understand as American slavery. The practice of this oppressive institution, due to its psychological nature, has had a lasting impact on both the oppressed and the oppressor; something Willie Lynch anticipated and planned for, “I have a fool proof method for controlling your Black slaves, I guarantee every one of you that if installed correctly, it will control the slaves for at least 300 hundred years.”

For years African American literature has documented the various injustices that resulted from the role of white supremacy and its laws. In the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written by himself, Douglass documents his experience as a slave, and particularly as a slave child whose father was unknown but most likely his mother’s Master. He documents that while on the plantation of a Mr. Gore,

“No matter how innocent a slave might be – it availed him nothing…To be accused was to be convicted, and to be convicted was to be punished; the one always following the other with immutable certainty. To escape punishment was to escape accusation; and few slaves had the fortune to do either” (Douglass 32).

Here, Douglass documents and displays the heightened suspicion placed on African American people, particularly men. It is with this framework that the reader comes to understand that the Black man has never had an opportunity to be tried, but rather that suspicion and accusation have always been enough to convict.

It is also with this quotation that Douglass displays the correlation between color and conviction. Due to the heightened melanin within the black male body white people believe that there is a heightened level of sexuality, violence, and ignorance. For this reason if anything out of the ordinary happens the first suspicion is directed toward not only the black man, but also the darkest black man. And when that suspicion arises within the heart and mind of white supremacists, due to their ideological beliefs concerning the black man, there is no need to query his actions and whereabouts because he will most likely lie; one must simply punish him with severe beatings or dIMG_2422eath.

Nearly 170 years later the black man is still viewed with heightened suspicion based on heightened melanin and is seen as having little to no value. According to Kara Brown on Jezebel.com in her article “This is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown” the police kill a black man every 28 hours. With the recent cases of police brutality concerning Eric Garner and Mike Brown communities of all races are forced to wonder why is black male life so easily taken? And why does it seem as though the justice system is in support of such abduction? 

With such trending hashtags as “IfTheyGunnedMeDown” on twitter people all over are forced to wonder why photos that reinforce suspicion for criminal activity are used to portray the deceased victim in the media rather than pictures that preIMG_2426sent black male life outside of drugs, violence, crime, and vulgarity. It’s in the tears, moans, groans, and wails of the mothers, fathers, wives, sisters, brothers, and all of humanity that we hear in the distance the screams and cries of Mamie Till yelling, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” And as the blood of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and so many others stains the concrete and dirt of the American ground it cries out for justice. It cries out for answers. But even greater than that it cries out of the injustice of mis-representation and pleas for reorientation on the part of white supremacist and realization on the part of black men.

Therefore, Black man recognize that any human and society that works tirelessly, from its initiation, to destroy you recognizes something that you obviously have not, and that is that you are valuable. You are worth it. If you were not they would not continuously seek to remove your very presence in every way fashionable from the earth.IMG_2421

You must realize that they have lied to you and told you that because of your skin you are nothing, but actually it is your skin that makes you something.

You must realize that they have lied to you and told you that because of your skin you are dangerous, but actually it is your skin that makes you safe.

You must realize that they have lied to you and told you that because of your skin you are stupid, but actually it is your skin that acknowledges your intelligence.

You must realize that they have lied to you and told you that because of your skin you are bound for prison, but actually it is your skin that wreaks of your potential.

How you ask?

How does your skin command so much authority, so much power?

I’ll tell you!

Your skin is the decoration God chose when He made you in His image. When He knelt into the dust of the ground and formed you and shaped you and breathed His living breath into you and you lived and He said you were good. 

Your skin in its chosen hue is a reflection of the image of God and because of this you posses the authority to name your destiny. You possess the equity to unite with your equal and have dominion over the world. You possess the sensibility to converse with the Spirit of God and be led into all truth. You possess the stability to be a shelter and lead those closest to you to The Shelter. You posses so much within you if you would simply unlock the spirit that sinful men have tried to keep bound in chains for centuries; you would rise to the high places where you belong.

But in all of that. If you still query of you worth. If you still query of your value. You must realize that the very Being that stooped into the ground to initiate your very existence foresaw that you would be suppressed, depressed, and oppressed and so He went to Calvary to take on all of your stress and will return to liberate you for eternity.

Black Man! If Man never sees your value, If Man never paints the beautiful picture that you are. Remember that to God you are Black Gold.

References

Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time. 1963. Reprint. New York: Vintage International, 1993. Print.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. 1845. Reprint.  New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003. Print.

DuBois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. 1868. Reprint. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Print.

Lynch, Willie. The Willie Lynch Letter & Making of A Slave. 1712. Reprint. New York: African Tree Press, 2011. Print.

He Passed

“’Passing,’ this breaking away from all that [is] familiar to take one’s chances in another environment, not entirely strange, perhaps, but certainly not entirely friendly.”

Nella Larsen, Passing

Had he not been my father, He might not have recognized me. I was arrayed in tattered, homely attire and covered in blood. This caused my clothes to look like filthy rags. My wooly hair had matted and become filled with debris. The soles of my feet were cracked like a dried-up brook. My skin was callused and rough; in appearance, I reflected that of a sinful creation.

In my right hand I held a strange apparatus large and perpendicular in shape. As my cracked feet dragged against the rocky ground, a man mashed a crown of sorts deep into my brow. Blood and sweat proceeded to dribble down my face. Without hesitation, another man kicked me in my side and my shoulder fell hard on the perpendicular object in hand. As I struggled to get up, still another man came and spat in my eyes. Eventually, as I was hoisted up and nailed to the perpendicular apparatus, I looked and saw my father. To him I could never pass as a sinful creation, for although my current appearance was nothing like his, his blood running through my veins made the difference…

After The beginning…

darkness came over the earth and a strange wind blew through the trees. I had felt this wind before. I turned to my Father and I turned to my brother and we knew that I was the only word that could rewrite this story. I looked into the glassy sea to see the me who would soon no longer be. I would hold this image near and dear to my heart, for I would never be this being again…this image would forever be different, it would forever remain changed. I walked back to the throne of grace and took off my crown. Kneeling before my father, I presented it to him asking him to hold it for me. He said, “Only for a while. For you shall wear this again, my son.” No one knew or understood what was happening. They all watched in amazement as I chose to lay down my sovereign ranking in the hierarchy of heaven to take up the lowly likeness of Man and forever alter the hierarchy of hell.

As I stepped toward the edge of the universe, the stars refused to shine. The sun and moon dimmed their lights for the Son was now in orbit. As I descended into the Milky Way galaxy, I noticed that my light grew dim as I approached the world I spoke into existence – earth. Her beauty had become tainted and her people were filled with a substance no creature before had ever seen – sin. It was when I became a fetus in the womb of this imperfect creature that I became completely out of place.

As I grew, I kept my true identity a secret. No one suspected anything out of the ordinary, for to the natural eye, there was no difference. My mother knew, but only because she knew whom my real father was. People of all countries and regions despised, criticized, and ostracized me; at times it was difficult to deal with. I had spoken, formed, and ordained their existence, yet no one seemed to care to take the time to look into my eyes or listen to my voice and hear the familiarity of their beginning. No matter what I did it seemed as though no one loved me.

My father gave me the go ahead and I began to tell them who I really was. I stopped trying to pass for a sinful creature because ultimately I wasn’t. I pled with them, asserting that my real father was in heaven! I healed the sick. I multiplied fish and bread. I walked on water. I raised the dead! But none of this mattered to them. I could tell them of my biological relationship to God, I could show them that I too could do the things of God, but ultimately, to them I did not look like God…

That’s what happens when divinity mixes with humanity…The sinful, dominant genes of humanity become overpowering, resulting in my human appearance keeping many from recognizing the divine blood running through my veins. The majority of them felt that their God could not resemble them, so they refused to accept me in my humble state. They lynched me on a cross for being human and trying to pass as God.

What they didn’t understand was that I was God trying to pass as human…

As I hung there with the crowd yelling obscenities at me I saw him, my father. I looked deep into his eyes and said, “I am lonely, so lonely…I cannot help but long to be with you again, as I have never longed for anything before; and I have wanted many things in my life…You cannot know how I reflect on the bright images of that I that I once was…Of the we that we once were…It’s like an ache, a pain that never ceases…To remember who I was…what we were…what I must now be…What we’ve had to become…I had to do something and this was the only way…I do not fault thee…I simply long for us three to reunited be…”

To me such an enormous exchange of power and prestige was nothing.

I loved them…I couldn’t let them die…I had to save them…

And so, with arms wide open I said to my father, “I have glorified you on earth. I have finished the work, which You have given me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. For I have forsaken the recognition of men that I may partake in glorification with thee. For it is written, ‘blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

“Through all the lowly experiences of life He consented to pass, walking among the children of men, not as a King, to demand homage, but as one whose mission it was to serve others.”

 Ellen G White, The Mount of Blessing

READ & STUDY Matthew 5:5; John 17:1-5; Philippians 2:5-8

Trees of The River

“[She] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever [she] does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

Psalm 1:3-5 NKJV

like_a_tree_planted_by_water_by_signesandelin-d5puctiFar, far away in the land called Matunda lived two trees. One tree was called Mengi and the other Ukosefu. Each was diligent in their attempts to please the Great Gardener. Every morning and every evening Mengi would stretch her roots deep into the river they called, “Maji Milele.” Every morning and every evening she would drink of Maji Milele’s waters and feel the nutrients flow through her roots as the liquid moistened the soil surrounding her trunk. Ascending into her branches she could feel the muscles of her stems strengthening and the crisp but soft nature of her leaves greening.

This made Ukosefu very bitter. The Great Gardener told her and Mengi to dip their roots in the Maji Milele every morning and every evening, but there was no joy in that for her. All the trees of Matunda sipped of that river. Ukosefu wanted to be different. She wanted to stand out. She decided that she would stretch her roots down further into the soil, rather than over into the river. Every one knows that there’s water in the soil as well, and so she would get her’s from a source other than the river. Surely the Great Gardener would be pleased with her initiative and creativity. As Ukosefu continued to reach she became frustrated and bitter for her leaves did not grow strong like Mengi’s. Rather than possessing a crisp and soft nature her leaves had a crunch and hard nature to them. She quickly became jealous of Mengi complaining, “The Great Gardener is showering Mengi with special treatment. There’s no way she could grow that quickly from simply drinking of the Maji Milele.” In her frustration she remained stubborn and refused to drink of the same water source as Mengi, regardless of the fact that the Great Gardener directed so.

The full moon passed and it was time for the Great Gardener to collect his harvest. The trunk of Mengi was so large and the span of her branches so wide that she could be seen from anywhere in Matunda. When he stepped close to Mengi her leaves were a bright green and next to every leaf was a large, ripe fruit yellow in color with blushes of pink on its cheeks. Smooth and without indentation to the touch the Great Gardener knew of her ripeness by the smell of her fruit, which spread throughout Matunda like wild fire.

The same was not so for Ukosefu. Her leaves were brown, burnt in color, and there was no fruit anywhere on her branches. Her trunk was narrow and it seemed as though her branches had not grown since the planting season. The wind would blow and the fruit of Mengi would decorate Matunda as ornaments. But when the wind blew on Ukosefu her leaves crumbled. The wind would blow and the trunk of Mengi would stand firm, unmovable. But when the wind blew on the trunk of Ukosefu it would bend and sway in whatever direction the wind drove.

Ukosefu desired to stand out, and she did just that. For in Matunda she was the only tree that did not bear fruit in season. But she was also the only tree to not drink of the river Maji Milele and she would be the only tree of Matunda to whither and die. This saddened the Great Gardener for he could not understand how a tree that was positioned so close to her source of life could die. He could not understand how this tree of the river could die of thirst.

Anaconda Love

Based on Hosea chp. 1 – 4 and Steps to Christ chp. 5

 “We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely.”

~ Ellen G. White, “Consecration” (p.44) 

It was consummated at conception. Of no act or recognition of my own this union began and initiated what would grow into a loving relationship of remarkable longevity. At first I was resistant. I couldn’t get over the fact that I was bound to this relationship without my consent. As time went by I realized that our love was real. Whenever I was stressed we’d escape the fiery furnace of life and cuddle under the stars. Whenever I was depressed we’d laugh until the rising of the sun and setting down of the same. Whenever I felt forgotten our love reminded me that I was remembered. Whenever I felt rejected our love told me that I was chosen. Whenever I felt angry our love would bring me peace. And whenever I felt unloved our union erased all doubt. I never thought I’d give up this love, until I met another.

It started off slow. Jesse and I. The first couple of weeks he would call just to say hello. Then he started sending me flowers. And then began what he called ‘quality time.’ Only it would be just that. Time in his presence. Time passing. Time standing still. Time. Together. Time. The more we met up, the longer we talked, the more he complimented me, catered to me, loved me, the more confused I got. I hadn’t even given him anything in my opinion worth loving, yet he would look into my eyes as if he adored my very being.

One day we were taking a walk just holding hands and I got a text from Lyer. He told me how much he missed me and inquired of my whereabouts. Blood rushed to my face as I remembered how Lyer made me feel. I couldn’t even hear Jesse’s voice anymore. A huge grin slowly crawled across my face, as his image became the only thing on my mind. I thought about how he’d push my hair behind my ear and whisper how beautiful he thought I was, or how he’d been in withdrawal without me. I longed for that feeling of being desired by him, even if most of it was just pretend. Regardless of our charade I had to see him. At least one last time. I mean, Jesse will understand. I told him I don’t believe in exclusivity.

As my phone kept vibrating Jesse never scolded or inquired as to who was disrupting his time. He merely ignored it, hoping that by looking into my eyes I wouldn’t notice it. But it was the only thing I noticed. I had to figure out some way to gently end our time together. As if he could read my mind Jesse said, “it’s about that time. Let’s get you home.” I watched out the front door window as he drove off. When his brake lights were out of view I rushed out the door and sent Lyer a text message telling him I’d be at his place in 15 minutes. You will not believe what happened next. As I was driving to go see Lyer, Alcon called. Now every time Alcon and I are together we have a great time! I feel like a completely different person when I’m with him. Like I’m under his influence, never able to leave his presence. Always wanting a refill even when I’m not without. I couldn’t see Alcon and Lyer in the same night… Could I? Hmmm… Alcon is a night owl. I know he’ll be up for a while and if I tell him I’m coming I know he’ll wait up. I’ve got it! I’ll go see Lyer for a couple hours then on my way home stop by Alcon’s. I’ll probably just stay the night there. He’s so intoxicating.

As I remembered the times with Lyer and Alcon I couldn’t help but long for my favorite love. Seks. I loved him the most because he was so spontaneous, and passionate, and gentle, and fulfilling. I felt like he just got me. I was my most vulnerable, open, honest self when I was with him, and he was the same with me. It’s like we were one person. Ok! Tonight I’ll stay with Alcon and tomorrow I’ll go see Seks. Jesse is going to be so disappointed… I told him who I was. He knew the type of girl he was getting into a relationship with from the start.

The next morning I woke up with a bad ankle, vomit on my dash, and Seks fast asleep in the back seat. I don’t remember anything. All I know is that I have 7 missed calls, 3 voicemails, and 12 text messages all from Jesse.

“Hey.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“Are you ok?”

“Was it something I said?”

“Can we talk?”

“I miss you.”

“Is everything ok? I still haven’t heard back from you.”

“I was going to make a run to our favorite spot, did you want me to pick you up something?”

“I guess you’re busy…”

“Call me when you’re free.”

“I hope everything’s ok. I’m starting to really worry.”

“I guess we’ll talk later. I love you.”

I genuinely feel bad. To cheat on such a kind, faithful, selfless man kills me inside. I hate running out on him. I can’t help it. I told him. I’ve loved Seks for years! Not to mention Lyer and Alcon. Why would he place himself in this situation? Why would he knowingly love someone who is so adamant about being with someone else? It’s like he’s trying to love them out of me! It’s like his love is squeezing the life out of my past. His love is so constricting, so suffocating. It’s anaconda love. A love that squeezes everything that is in opposition to itself to death so that it can have you whole…

I don’t know about you, but as I have reflected on the words of Ellen White in regards to consecration it really made me think about the things in my life I struggle to let go of. I keep asking myself, what do I keep running back to out of fear of being exclusive with God? Consecration is about going to the next level. God is done sharing us. Now it’s time for us to make a decision. Are we going to, “[lay] aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desir[ing] the pure milk of the word, that [we] may grow thereby, if indeed [we] have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3), or are we going to keep playing the harlot?

Believe me I know your struggle. I know what it’s like to love sin, to be in a relationship with sin for years. To feel as though your sin has supported and comforted and loved you better than God ever could. But what you must realize is that you are missing out on a true, pure, love that does not destroy, exploit, or hurt. There is no morning after. There are no side effects. There is only self-less, unconditional, forgive-and-forget love. But in order to experience this love you have to commit to Him. Submit to Him. Live your life intentionally, consciously trying to please and serve Him.

Ultimately, you have a choice; consecrate yourself unto God by breaking up with all of your sin-relationships and be exclusive with Him – allowing Him to make you holy and set apart, or play the harlot. Choose ye this day whom you will love…

 

They’re Playin’ Basketball

I see the floor in all its glory,

I am the author of my teams story.

I Bring it up and call the plays,

I’ll shake n bake em for days.

They asked, “How’d you get it done?”

I simply replied, “I’m the One”.

 

Basketball

I fly on the wings of the court.

The plays the One has me purport.

Every play I rush to my spot,

I’m told I have an accurate shot.

They asked, “Why does the One always pass to you?”

I simply replied, “I’m the Two”.

 

Look up “Fusion” on Wikipedia and you’ll see my face.

When it comes to the game I bring the grace.

I might pass, drive, or shoot, I might combine all of these.

But it’s my moves that make the home bench hold out their keys.

They asked, “Does coach see you as the glue to be?”

I simply replied, “I’m the Three.”

 

In the post, the goal might be to set a pick,

but you betta get off, cuz me you can’t stick.

Though rough, I am not all brute. In fact I am a collector of fine jewels.

You might like diamonds and you might like rubies, but me, I prefer pearls.

They asked, “How do you consistently crash the board?”

I simply replied, “I’m the Four.”

 

With wisdom and strength, I am the  keeper of the gate.

Unfortunately, my shorter opponents often hate.

My long arms and long legs help me scale the line with ease,

After all, I have to block you, my coach I must please.

They asked, “Why is your wing-span so wide?”

I simply replied, “I’m the Five.”

 

Remember, though you are strong apart,

It is when you work together that you make art.

The game is never won when you work to have the brightest beam,

But rather when you all come together and work as a team.

Apart you’re just a bunch of numbers, but together bring them all,

And I can say, “They’re playin Basketball.”