Wednesday, July 5, 2017

African American Psalm

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Diversity in the church is a product of modern advances in society in general, reflecting on Christianity specifically. In America where there has always been two churches, a black church and a white church, desegregation for Christ seems to be the right next movement of the American body, s than a diverse church was inevitable.   

When I moved from North Philly to the Greater Northeast one of the changes I would have to make was where I would worship my God. So I left a 100% black church to join a multiracial church in my new neighbor.

 One of the advantages of being a member of a racially, and ethnically  diversified church, is that we (the congregation) have found a way to accentuate those things in Christ that we have common, while at the same time diverting our attentions away from those things that that make us different. This allows people of very different backgrounds work together with the precision of an expensive Rolex.  The problem with this well working diversity is that within a single generation the knowledge of your forefathers, from a spiritual perspective, who they were, what struggles they had, what defeat as well as victory they experienced and even who we are is lost to a diverse unification of worshipers. But God has required worshipers of all tribes and all nations to come to him (Revelation 5:9) and where there are diversity of nation there must be diversity of people.

The worship that comes from diversity should never be an assimilation of something, just vanilla
enough so that no one is offended. Instead worship should be colorful, corporate, yet personal, in some ways a reflection of the worshiper, so that every member can benefit from it. 

One trend that I am noticing from many Christian music radio stations is what I call “me centered worship”. It’s as if most modern day “praise and worship” music is grounded not in a deep seated gratitude for the salvific work of Jesus Christ, but in a worship centered in me, myself, and I, and how the cosmic Santa clause meets all my needs.  The proponents of this “Me centered” gospel seems determined to eradicate many of the old time hymns and African gospel that grew out of passion and the insatiable desire to know God, to need God and the hope that God would recompense their circumstance.

Songs like Swing Low Sweet Chariot (coded gospel) and Rough Side of the Mountain are uniquely part of the African American Christian message. They chronicle the slavery experience, and trouble there after that has become the pillar of the black gospel history. When slave were taken from Africa and given their master’s name so much more was taken. Yes the body was taken from their homeland, the identity was taken from the individual, and the history was take from the people. And because of this we have to create a new history to remember our struggles and defeats and victories. But slaves were not taught to read and write, so the only way history could pass from to another was song, just like the only way a message of importance could be sent was through song.

Biblical allusion
Code Meaning

Swing Low 
Sweet Chariot, 
Coming for to carry me home.
This was God’s Chariot of Fire coming to take Elijah Heaven.

2 Kings 2:11  As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven
It alluded to; the conductor of the underground railroad coming (Chariots) Swinging low (coming from the north to the south) To Carry or direct them to their new home ( in the North or Canada)

I looked over Jordan 
and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home.
The River Jordan signifies the promised land of safety and rest.

Deuteronomy 12:10 “When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security,
It alluded to; the Mississippi or Ohio Rivers which getting to and crossing was the most difficult part of the railroad. But once they could get to the other side the troubles got easier.
Slaves were told if you cross the Ohio river and look on the hill you would see the house of John Rankin would a preacher and abolitionist living in Ripley Ohio.

A band of Angels
coming after me
Coming for to carry me home.
This is the hope that God will watch over those taking this journey and will task his angels to watch over them.
Exodus 23:20 “Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.”
Psalm 91:11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.”
It alluded to; The workers of the Underground Railroad (God’s Angels, [messengers]) helping protecting them on the journey north.
 This also alluded to Ripley’s depot one of the earliest and busiest stations of the Underground Railroad. Ripley was the home of John Rankin and John P Parker (1827 - 1900), an abolitionist, former slave, and successful industrialist. John Parker was also a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad. To reach the town of Ripley, which sits atop a hill by the Ohio River, fugitive slaves had to wait for help coming from the hill. This scene corresponds to the lyrics that refer to a "band of angels coming across the Jordan River to carry me home."
If you get there

before I do;

Coming for to carry me home.

Tell all my friends
I’m coming too

Coming for to carry me home.

With history snatched out of our hands we were forced to create our history anew. But unlike every other race in the world, the earliest know history of the American Black man began in slavery, so we sang, and God in his perfect divinity heard the cries of His children and swung low His sweet Chariot. 

So that we as a people would never forget God gave us song, (like David) to praise his glory, to cry out to him in our suffering, He gave us these Psalms of the African American Experience. Never to be outdated, never to be replaced, to remain in time for as long as there are people of color, so that we never forget how to give him praise!

Just a thought 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Duct Tape Stupid

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I was surfing the internet the other day and I was completely discussed with what the world thinks of Christians in general. What I was upset about was those thing which are just blatantly wrong that the world, (and most Christians) held as true.

Internet apologetics is hard, you need a very thick skin to not get depressed, you can become angry and sometimes it actually causes you to sit back and cry. Not for the hurt but for the loss. Yet, sadly many Christian are as much to blame for our condition, as those that have yet to come to believe. In an effort to mitigate our gushing ignorance in the present of a non-believer, we twist the scripture to save the impression of piety rather than search the scriptures to tell the truth reveled in them. 

So as to mitigate this foolishness and to cut short the mental assault on logic. Let me bring to light this day two of the stupidest things we say concerning our faith.
I’m a believer but not a Christian!
Nothing irks me more than this statement for a number of reasons.
a.       First it finds its validation in ignorance.
                                                               i.      Under normal circumstances being a believer means believing in Christ! Those disciples that believe in Christ since the early church have always been called Christians  (Acts 11:26)
                                                             ii.      Many Christian try to separate themselves from other believers because we want to fit in with what the world has said of us. But the Bible teaches that the world will hate you because you are a believer in Christ. ( Matthew 10:22)  To denominate Christians from believers in Christ shows we have accepted the worldview of who we are rather than who the Bible says we are.  And may even be saying that you no longer desire to be identified as a Christian.  However you must determine the other option.
b.      Second. It is logically stupid, the statement is self-contradicting.
                                                               i.      Since a Christian and a believer (as defined by scripture) are the same to say I am a believer but not a Christian is like saying “I’m a man ( woman) but not a human” Because  the attribute of being a man require you  to be a human, the attribute of being a believer requires you to be a Christian.  Unless of course you believe in something other than Jesus Christ.
c.       It put you into allegiance with Satan. 
                                                               i.      There are two types of believers, those that believe and are Christians and those that are believer and are not Christians.  James 2:19 says “Even the demons believe and they tremble” What is this text saying about a believer that is not a Christian?
2.       I’m spiritual but not Religious
a.       To claim to be spiritual but not religious is like saying “I’m a scholar, but I don’t read” Just as there is not illiterate scholars, there are no non-religious spiritual people, because religion is how you become spiritual.
                                                               i.      Spiritual means either relating to that which is incorporeal
                                                             ii.      While Religion is a set of rules by which one is to worship
b.      The Bible teach something called “means of Grace” These are religious practices that the Bible teaches allows us to become more connected with the incorporeal God.  (Acts 2:40-43)[i]
c.       There is a spirit which is not religious; it is incorporeal in nature (like God) that does not want to be in subjection of the rules of religion. This spirit said in his heart he would ascend above the height of the clouds and make himself like the most high God. (Isaiah 14:13-14)
                                                               i.      The attribute of Satan is he is perfectly Spiritual but reject the rules of how to worship set forth by God (religion)  So when we say we are spiritual but not religious we are joining the team of the one who was casted down from heaven
                                                             ii.      I’m going to repeat what I said previously. Many Christians try to separate themselves from religion which keeps us spiritually grounded in Christ. They think if they change or remove the offensive word the world will accept us.   But the Bible teaches that the world will hate you because you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. ( Matthew 10:22)  To denominate being religious from being spiritual shows we have forgotten that if they crucified Jesus how much more will they do to us?  (John 15:18-16:4
You can be whomever you choose to be, but I am not a “Spiritual believer” which align me with Satan, I am a “Religious Christian” which means I follow Jesus Christ, and use the Scriptures and it’s precepts to guide me in how to follow Him.

Your Brother in Christ

Doctrine. Luke 16:29, Romans 10:17, 2 Timothy 3:15  - Baptism. Acts 2:38 ,John 3:5 1 Peter 1:23 - Fellowship Acts 2:44-47, 1John 1:7, Colossian 2:2 - Holy Communion Acts 2:46 - Prayer John 15:7, Romans 8:26, 2 Chronicles 7:14