Sunday, January 11, 2009

Work it Out


Not like Bishop Magic Don Juan, but more like Bishop T.D. Jakes. That video I linked? That's church right there.

I remember my first real job. I had recently finished grad school and was living in a new city with no friends or relatives. Grad school had been a very difficult time in my life, but it had also drawn me closer to God. However, the final transition from life as a child to adulthood awaited me in my new city, and that carried it's on special set of difficulties.

As I struggled to stay afloat mentally, I asked my mother to send me some gospel music. Sadly, I didn't own much gospel myself, my music catalogue consisted of hardcore rap and some old school R&B. That music is great to groove to, but when you're crying your eyes out wondering if you can make it, it doesn't get the job done.

Anyway, my mom sent me a care package (Aren't mommies wonderful?) and along with the usual goodies, it had a few CDs. I listened to the CDs non-stop for weeks, and they helped me get through some tough times. I arrived at work one day and a certain song came on the CD. It was one that had spoken to me previously in some of my darkest hours. I was parked in a garage, but I sat there for the next five or six minutes and had my own personal praise service.

I bounced, I swayed, I clapped. I sang at the top of my voice, and right there in the front seat of my car, I worshipped God. People passed me by, some giving me strange looks, others hurrying on to their destination. I felt a twinge of embarassment once, but then the praise caught me up again.


A friend of mine who doesn't believe in God said that at the annual Jazz Fest hear in New Orleans she loves to stop at the gospel tent and stay for a while. She talked about how well the choirs sing and how amazing it is to see people dancing in the aisles. I understood her feeling completely.

Y'all know I'm a traditional Christian in most ways. But, I also understand that God can be understood and felt by all, even those who don't share my beliefs. Sometimes in life we may not truly grasp the importance of certain things, but just by watching people who do, we can catch a glimpse.

By bearing witness to other people's worship, we can comprehend faith a little better ourselves.

I don't know about y'all, but that's helped me at times. Even when I couldn't feel God, I could watch my mother feel him and feel comforted. I'm sure that feeling can be extended to those who have no wish to know God. Seeing other people step out on faith can be a source of comfort and confidence to anyone who needs it.

There is a beauty in most worship. A sense of wholly communion between man and something larger.




Esquire said...

That video brought back memories. I haven't been to a service like that in a long time (Pretty much since I left the south).

the uppity negro said...


Where are you now? Because if you're up north somewhere like Chicago, Detroit, or def anywhere from Baltimore north you can EASILY find church like that.


Yeah, I love driving to church and turning on the AM station at 5pm because Charles Hayes is on "for the radio broadcast hour" and last Sunday I just heard 'em mid shout, but I'ma church musician, we live for those moments to be sitting on the organ doin our thang.

Esquire said...

Seattle, but heading to the DC metro soon.

the uppity negro said...


Well, I got a COGIC friend who was in Tacoma, they used to have church like that.

Darth Whitey said...


Hrm, hard core rap and Jesus... what would He say?

The glorification of sociopathy, criminal behavior, the mistreatment of women, and underachievement.

That ain't exactly in the gospels is it? :-)

Or does a responsible, educated black gentleman purchase and listen to it in order to feel some sort of solidarity with those who ought not be encouraged to pursue that which is advocated in the rap?

Big Man said...


I just like rap. It's far more creative than people give it credit for being. And, while it contains all those elements that you described, so those the Godfather trilogy, but people love that shit.

Rap is music. Why do white people purchase the music they listen too? Particularly the music that advocates riotous living and promiscuity, because that describes a lot of rock music. Only black people are told that we don't have the brain power to listen to music with some negative elements and still make positive decisions.

Darth Whitey said...

Well, I think "respectable" Italian-Americans don't appreciate the Godfather none too much for helping to further stereotypes, and I know there were some groups who protested the Sopranos series for that reason as well.

Which is why it puzzles me that someone such as yourself wouldn't be appalled by the descriptions of the ideal "black experience" in rap music, as it does further the stereotypes (refer to Ice Cube's "Today Was a Good Day".) Or, at least it doesn't give you much of a leg to stand on when you complain that said stereotypes exist, because you're supporting it. You should be protesting in front of record company headquarters that distribute it.

The law-abiding educated Italian-Americans are willing to condemn highly popular TV shows and movies for the sake of letting America know they don't appreciate their ehnicity being characterized in negative ways, why aren't you doing the same?

Your like of rap is doubly puzzling because I doubt Christ would approve much. What would Jesus do? :-)

the uppity negro said...

@ Darth

Jesus ascended to heaven loooong time ago (or so we believe he did)

I think we shouldn't ask such a question, but rather ask "What did Jesus do?" I don't think it's appropriate to ask what would he do because we'd be imposing historical Jesus onto the 21st century and the two don't really work.

Raving Black Lunatic