The Loudmouth Protestant

July 22, 2010

On Being Adopted: The Story of Two Births and the Afterlife

Filed under: faith,God,life — nickisym @ 8:00 am
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As I said I would in my last post, I am now sharing the personal essay I wrote for my application to seminary. I’ve always carefully guarded this information feeling that first it made me strange or weird, then I guarded it because I didn’t trust many with knowing about this very personal part of my life and now, finally, I recognize this as a story not for me to keep to myself but to share with as many who would read this so that some might be blessed.

The Birth

Like many traditional families, my family has a gigantic keepsake Bible. I remember seeing it throughout my childhood and watching it go from completely composed, to falling to pieces. I used to look at that Bible every so often, not necessarily to read it, but just to flip through its large-print pages. But one day I felt compelled to start from the beginning of the Bible where the family milestones were documented. I read the recording of the family marriages, which were many, and then I turned to the page listing the family births, which were much fewer. There on the page of family births, in a list of five names, mine showed up third and read as follows, “Nicole was born to adopted by _________ and ________ born on December 26, 1980.” I nearly dropped the massive Bible when I read those words. “Adopted?” I said to myself. I immediately ran into the kitchen and interrupted my mom, who at the moment was preparing breakfast. With tears in my eyes, I said, “Why didn’t you tell me I was adopted? How could you just let me read it in a book without telling me yourself?” With tears in her eyes, she said, “I was going to tell you, but I wanted to wait for the right time.”

Right then and there became the right time for her to tell me:

My biological mother, a teenager about the age of 16, who conceived me in a chance meeting with a military man at a party, gave me up for adoption on the day of my birth. I would go from this young woman’s arms to the foster care system for about six months while various couples in search of the perfect little girl would come in and out of my life. My adoptive parents were initially offered twin girls, but it fell through when it was discovered that the parents of those children lied on their application. My parents discovered me in my seventh month of foster care. My mother told me that when her and my father came to see me, I ran directly to them as if I already knew that they were to be my parents, and that was enough for them. What they saw was a child, who despite her circumstances, had love in her heart and desired to be loved. My parents adopted me when I was eight months old and went forward with giving me the life that I could only be given by the grace of God.

I didn’t think that finding out about my adoption would change my life—since I didn’t know about it in the first place—but it did. Finding out that I was adopted brought with it many questions. “Why didn’t my biological mother want me? How could she give a child up and never come back for it? Should I look for her?” It was like a little fox in my life, creeping up at the most inopportune times. It wreaked havoc on my self-confidence, my friendships, and on any relationships that were in formation because I was always afraid of people letting me go and never turning back. It was both the gift and the curse. The gift being that it allowed me the freedom to not feel pressured to find my biological mother because she gave me up so early in life, and the curse being that I existed between a tension of wondering about her and the life I might have had had she never decided to give me up. Opening that Bible on that ordinary day affected my identity, but soon enough everything would change.

After opening that Bible to find out about my identity in the world, I began to open it up to find out about my identity in God. It was a process that took about 10 years and within those years I would go from being active in a large Southern Baptist church in high school, move on to be a sporadic attendee of various Baptist churches in college and then I would take a hiatus from church altogether and decide that I wasn’t ready for a committed relationship with God. But, like Jonah, I couldn’t escape God’s call on my life for long before He called me a second time.

I received his second call when I moved to New York to pursue a career in journalism. While I thought I was on the fast track to becoming a fashion and entertainment journalist, God was bidding me to draw near to Him. He gave me a thirst and a hunger for His righteousness instead of for worldly success and critical acclaim.  He changed my appetite for the things of the world and began to awaken within me a real desire to know Him. I knew then that I had to search for a church home and it didn’t take long before I found that home in the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, an African Methodist Episcopal church. (It helps to mention that I had come full circle when I arrived at the Greater Allen Cathedral because when I was a child, I attended The Allen Christian School, the school owned by the church.) It was there that my spiritual formation really began and God revealed to me the information about my spiritual adoption.

The Rebirth

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Friday night young adult Bible study and I was sitting on the right side of the chapel being attentive to the minister’s teaching about spiritual adoption. In the midst of his lesson he told us to turn to Ephesians 1:4-6 and he read the scripture aloud, “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” As he read this, tears welled up in my eyes at the thought that not only had God planned my earthly adoption, He adopted me into the family of Christ and secured my place with Him for eternity before I was even knitted in my biological mother’s womb. It was preordained for me to be given up and adopted so that I could eventually understand the significance of my spiritual adoption and the fact that I was always kept. I had already considered myself a “born-again Christian” from my Southern Baptist days, but that night, I was given a true spiritual rebirth. I came to see my physical adoption as a small part of a bigger portrait that God was painting of me. I began to live, not just exist, in this new identity of spiritual adoption and God put me on a fast track to spiritual maturity through my involvement in various ministries in my church and most recently my work.

The Afterlife

My fast track to becoming a fashion and entertainment journalist was derailed shortly after that Bible study. It was confirmed for me that it would be as I awaited the start of the 2005 Watchnight service at my church. I was given a revelation that I would be in the number of people who were to be laid-off at Time Inc. early in 2006. Despite this news, a certain peace fell over me. Peace was with me when my boss gave me the fated news in late January 2006. Ironically, the news of my job consolidation was delivered to me exactly how the news of my physical adoption was delivered, on a fluke. I received a call from human resources about another job within the company and I immediately rushed to my boss—without tears in my eyes—to ask her why I was being offered another job. She told me my job was being consolidated but I was given four months to look for a job before my layoff would go into effect. During that time, I looked and interviewed for several jobs in fashion and entertainment journalism, but they all fell through.  In the fourth month, a job came looking for me. It was a multi-faith website started by a former Newsweek editor who wanted people to “find and walk a spiritual path that will bring comfort, hope, clarity, strength, and happiness to their lives.” I had never heard of the site before, nor was I looking to become a religion reporter, but somehow I was compelled to send a cover letter and resume. In a few weeks time, I was contacted for an interview. Three interviews later, I was offered the job and became an editor at the world’s largest multi-faith and spirituality website. To many, it was a questionable career move that would throw my career off track. To others it was a strange move for a Christian to make because the site wasn’t solely Christian. But, to me, I had to believe that God positioned me there for a reason.

In the midst of many faiths and spiritual traditions, Beliefnet became the test of my spiritual maturity. I learned how to engage in interfaith dialogue in personal and professional relationships; I cultivated a love for classic theologians such as John Calvin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther; it stimulated my desire to go deeper into Biblical texts not only for my sake but for the sake of those whom I worked with so that I may be an effective minister; and it nurtured and sharpened the only gift that I am certain God has granted me—for the moment—writing. It is my experience at Beliefnet that has helped me apply the knowledge of my identity in God and has even challenged my knowledge of Him. And, for the purposes of my current pursuit of a theological education, it is Beliefnet that has stirred within me the desire to become a student of the word of God and theology so that I may become a credible leader who will effectively bridge the gap between the world and the kingdom of God.

It is my belief that I have lead a full life thus far, but there is yet more in me that I believe I must now turn over to God so that He may be glorified. He spared my life when I could have been another casualty of the foster care system or even aborted. It was Him who ensured that the strikethrough of my arrival in the family Bible was not a deletion of my importance, but a catalyst to understanding my spiritual placement in the book of life.

If I was pre-destined, then the Creator already mapped out my family, my talent, and my life’s journey.  What could have been a soul-crushing experience resulted in a deeper appreciation of God’s love for me and in turn my love for Him.  I do not know what my “natural” life would have provided.  Would I have even known the Lord the way I do now?  Who’s to say?  But I can say that I live as a whole woman, living on the benefits of my adoption—both of them, and preparing to be a vessel for other souls looking for the love that can only come from the Father above.

June 14, 2010

Getting Out of My Dreams

Filed under: dreams,faith,God — nickisym @ 6:27 pm
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I have a pretty active dream life. The kind where things happen in the dream and I wake up the next morning thinking they happened in real life. The kind that make me wake up and wonder what God is trying to tell me. Last night I had one of those dreams…

I was on a field trip with some school kids. I don’t know whether I was their teacher or a parent, all I know is that I was there. I have no idea where we were save for the fact that when we arrived at our destination we were facing a very large building with multiple flights of stairs leading to the top. We weren’t told what was at the top of that building, all we knew is that we had to climb the stairs to find out.

The first few flights were the easiest to navigate. The students and I were talking casually and breathing easily. But suddenly, all of the students I was making the journey with began to dissappear. One by one it was as if they evaporated into the air. They didn’t fall of the stairs, they just disappeared. Suddenly I was climbing the stairs all by myself. The higher I went, the more challenging it became to go to the next level. But, somehow, I was determined to always go to the next flight of stairs. I had to continuously stop myself from looking down because at the point that I was making this journey by myself, looking down would remind me how impossibly high up I was and how I had to continue climbing because making the journey back down wasn’t an option. I had gone too far to turn around.

Finally, I reached the final flight of stairs, but what separated that final flight and the flight I was standing on was a big gaping hole, a mass of air and space that I had to figure how to navigate it to ascend the last flight. There was only one thing I could do. Jump, no LEAP, to the final flight of stairs that would lead me to the “God knows what” at the top of the building. Sure, I had to contend with the possibility of leaping and missing the final flight of stairs only to plummet to my death. But, I believed that there was going to be something to propel me toward those stairs so that I could make it to the top of the building. I felt it was my destiny.

So, putting aside every random thought, I set my mind on moving forward and leaping. When I took the leap, it seemed like I spent an eternity in that time and space, but I did finally end up making it to that last flight of stairs. I was all by myself ascending the last flight to see what was in store for me at the top of that building…

I wish that I could tell you what was at the top of the building, but I can’t. I woke up before I could find that out. Suffice to say,  I’m sure that whatever was waiting for me at the top of the building was going to be a sight to behold, but what was more powerful was the journey it took to get there in the first place. The faith and perserverance that was necessary to keep going up. Even that leap and the time it took for me to float between one flight to the final is telling of our own personal journeys. We may be suspended in time for a while, God’s time, while He prepares things for us on the other side. Nevertheless, we have to continue to move forward without looking back or down. We have to take a leap of faith. We have to trust that in taking that leap, God is not going to let us fall but that He will, literally, be the wind beneath our wings to keep us in flight. All He wants to know is that we trust Him enough to keep moving forward and up in Him, even when it seems like a crazy thing to do. Sort of like climbing stairs on the outside of a building to get to the top to see something, only God knows what.

January 18, 2010

Quote of the Day: Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.

Filed under: faith,God,spirituality — nickisym @ 12:48 pm
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On this day, many of us are off from work because of a man who made it his life’s work to fight for our rights and equality as a people. Sometimes I feel so far removed from his legacy because of the things that I see in the world around me today. But then I look back at his body of work and the passion that drove him to continually fight for our freedom. In thinking about that it leads me to one of his great speeches, which, comprehensively was amazing, but there is one portion that was so telling and such the summary of why God put him on this earth.

“Like anybody I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place, but I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will and he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

On this day, if you do nothing else to acknowledge the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, take the time to consider his words and his faith to do God’s will against all odds. Like the great men and women of faith in the Bible, he passed being commended for his faith, but not receiving what was promised, but God provided something better for us in that Dr. King became a modern day example of faith. On this day we celebrate your great faith Dr. King.

Happy MLK day to all!

March 25, 2009

Nightline Face-Off: Does Satan Exist?

On Thursday night, ABC will host a Nightline Face-Off series at Mars Hill for a debate on the existence of Satan. Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill, and Annie Lobert, the founder of Hookers for Jesus will face-off against alternative medical doctor, author, and New Thought guru Deepak Chopra and former Church of God on Christ bishop and current so-called heretic–for his doubt in the traditional teaching of heaven and hell–Carlton Pearson. An interesting match me thinks. But I’m just not sure this should be a “debate” set-up for public entertainment-because we all know that ABC created this for the ratings.

People love to see fanatical Christians argue against fanatical folks of other religions-I had to put it that way because I’m not clear on Chopra’s religious bent and as for Pearson, I believe he still claims Christianity, but a different, more all-inclusive branch(if that is even possible).  I watched such fanaticism in the Nightline series that aired a few years ago entitled the “Blasphemy Challenge.” It was between Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron and atheist Brian Sapient and Kelly. It was a fight to the death, it was snarky, and it was a nuisance on the parts of the interlocutors and the audience involved. I fear this will be more of the same. I envision plenty of attitude, shouting from audience members, every side claiming theirs is the right way without any true peace being in the discussion. Not sure whether it will bear any fruit, but will watch to find out.

What do you think about Thursday’s debate? Is it relevant? Did they pick the right talking heads? Does it even matter?

“Nightline Face-Off: Does Satan Exist?” Airing on ABC Thursday, 3/24/2009 at 11:35 PM on ABC.

January 27, 2009

LMP is 100% LDS!

Filed under: faith,religion,spirituality — nickisym @ 9:08 pm
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I just completed the Belief-o-Matic, Beliefnet’s personality quiz about faith and spirituality. I took it a few years ago and it turned out I was more of a Sikh than anything, but I suppose a few years makes a difference. Keep in mind that I’ve always been a Christian so the Sikh thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m not sure the LDS thing does either, but it was fun to answer the questions and get my results. Here’s the percentage breakdown of how much of each religion I am filled with:

 

1.  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (100%)
2.  Jehovah’s Witness (88%)
3.  Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (84%)
4.  Orthodox Quaker (81%)
5.  Orthodox Judaism (79%)
6.  Sikhism (77%)
7.  Islam (73%)
8.  Baha’i Faith (73%)
9.  Seventh Day Adventist (68%)
10.  Eastern Orthodox (68%)
11.  Roman Catholic (68%)
12.  Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (66%)
13.  Liberal Quakers (56%)
14.  Jainism (54%)
15.  Reform Judaism (53%)
16.  Hinduism (50%)
17.  Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (46%)
18.  Mahayana Buddhism (44%)
19.  Unitarian Universalism (44%)
20.  Theravada Buddhism (43%)
21.  Neo-Pagan (32%)
22.  Taoism (27%)
23.  Scientology (26%)
24.  New Age (26%)
25.  New Thought (25%)
26.  Secular Humanism (25%)
27.  Nontheist (17%)

Take the Belief-o-Matic and see what your faith is made of…Then if you’re so inclined, report your results here.

January 16, 2009

Walking on Water

Filed under: faith,God,prayer — nickisym @ 4:26 pm
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This morning as I was getting for work, I saw an image of the passengers of US Airways Flight 1549. The picture depicted the passengers awaiting their rescue on the wing of the plane. Sure, that doesn’t sound interesting, but what’s incredible is that they were standing on the wing of the plane which was floating in the water–not sinking–and it appeared as if they were walking on water.

If you stopped by the site yesterday, you saw that I lent the victory of those people being rescued to God. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that these people, who entrusted their lives to a pilot to fly them from point A to point B, had to step out of the plane–on faith–onto the wing, trusting that though they couldn’t see it, it was there. They wouldn’t fall into the water and drown, they only had to believe that there was something that would hold them above water. I don’t know how many people on the plane were believers, but it’s just more proof for me that God had his hand all over that plane.

From the Gothamist

From the Gothamist

January 4, 2009

God’s Grace

Filed under: death,faith,God,life,love — nickisym @ 1:12 am
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Last night on our way to dinner, a friend and I were talking about all of the unfortunate series of events that had happened over the past week, mainly the deaths that surrounded us in the past year. One of stories stood out to me. A few weeks ago, a story broke about a man who dressed in a Santa suit and went to the home of his ex-wife with intentions of killing them all. Upon ringing the doorbell and his presence being revealed, a little girl ran toward him with much excitement to see Santa only to be shot in the face. Sources say that she turned her head just in the nick of time so that she wouldn’t be shot point blank, this resulted in the bullet hitting her along the jawline. When I heard this story, I was quite convinced that the little girl died, but my friend corrected me and let me know that the little girl survived her family and now has a face that will need to be reconstructed.

I was blown away by the fact that this little girl survived. Now she will be in the position to get facial reconstructive surgery or a facial transplant, which by the grace of God was a procedure successfully performed for the first time in early December. That is God’s grace.

Many of us lost loved ones in 2008, if we didn’t lose anyone in our immediate circle, we saw the constant news of icons, legends and leaders dying at an alarming pace. With so much death around us, it’s amazing to think that God saw fit to keep some of us here. What a curious thing to be kept when you watch your loved one die. What a curious thing to know that millions of people die everyday, they never open their eyes after they shut them for the night and yet, you are still here. What a curious thing to be alive and know that if it wasn’t for God you wouldn’t be so. If you ever needed proof of God, there it is.

My father said that he thanks God every day for life because he knows without Him he wouldn’t even have made it as far as he did. This is a man of 70+ years. He knows that everyday he wakes up, it’s a new opportunity to be thankful and glorify his father. In New Year’s Eve service, a pastor remarked that there must be something very special about those of us in the room, that we were fortunate to see the coming of another year. He said that it is evident God needs us here on earth to continue His work. By those words I slumped down in my seat, feeling so unworthy of the gift of life. There were so many that died who I didn’t think deserved it. The countless numbers of little lost children who were taken at the hands of cruel parents. The celebrities who brought joy into our lives through the gift that God gave them. The spiritual leaders who lead many to salvation, revelation and enlightenment. So many have passed before us, so many that seem to have gifts that supersede our current gifts. And yet and still God saw fit to keep me alive for something. Something larger than I can comprehend. Bigger than my understanding, more grandiose than my best laid plans. God wants me here for some reason unbeknownst to me. He keeps on giving me extra days to live out His purpose.

Faced with that revelation I shudder and look forward to this year with great excitement and anticipation knowing that it is not by my goodness that I’ve been kept, but only by the grace of God. He knows exactly what He wants me to do and I only have to follow Him. I may not do it well, but everyday I will make a pledge to live my life by His standards and no one else’s, being thankful that he gave me the breath of life.

So if you are ever tempted to be discouraged about life, remember that God has you here for a purpose. He loves you and He wants you here to be the physical manifestation of His glory on this earth. He has great purpose for your life if you would only stop long enough to listen and meet with Him. You were put here to do more than chase a paycheck, make yourself famous among men or even to find love. You were created to show forth His glory. So show it and be thankful for each new day, for those days bring new mercies every time.

November 5, 2008

Moving Forward

Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19

 

President-elect Barack Obama

President-elect Barack Obama

For the past week and a half a song has been playing continuously in my heart. Every morning that I’ve woken up since last Wednesday, October 29th, “Moving Forward” by Hezekiah Walker and Love Fellowship has been in my heart, in my mouth, on my mind and in me from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. I knew this song was speaking to something amazing that was about to happen in the next week and so I latched onto it and sung it as I walked down the streets and danced to it in my room on occasion. 

 

One week later, this morning, when I opened my eyes to this new day, the song started playing again. But this time, I was frozen in my bed and overcome with emotion for the historic news that was announced last night. Last night among hundreds of Obama supporters from all walks of life I celebrated our win. But this morning, I am celebrating His win and the fact that I know that the true reason why we are looking upon the face of an African-American man as the newly elected leader of the free world is because it was God’s will.

God’s grace has kept us to see this day that we thought we’d never see–but is anything too hard for our God? God’s grace kept us though we were slain–sold into slavery, murdered, hosed down, hung and drowned to death. God’s grace kept our parents to see the day that the hard work they did in fighting for the right to vote and the years they spent fighting for equality actually manifested itself into the greatest move man has ever seen. Where would we be without God’s grace? I don’t dare to think about it and I don’t dare to give anyone more praise for this victory than God.

There is yet work to be done but this moment we must celebrate the win, the victory in Jesus that was fully shown last night in the person of our president-elect Barack Obama. And I will–and you should–continue to carry “Moving Forward” the song and the concept in my life. Thank you my strong and mighty God!

“Not going back. I’m moving ahead. I’m here to declare to you my past is over. And you, things you may do, surrender my life to Christ, I’m moving forward…You make all things new. Yes, you make all things new. And I will follow you forward.” –“Moving Forward” Hezekiah Walker & LFC

March 12, 2008

Understanding the Call

Filed under: christianity,christians,faith,God,life — nickisym @ 8:25 pm

This evening I had a really interesting conversation with a colleague about our call as Christians. She shared with me that she thought the people in our office believed that she was a bad Christian because of bit of steam she had let off earlier in the day–and is known to let off at times. I then proceeded to tell her about a dear friend, who in expressing his own frustration, used extremely colorful language to which she said “Well, at least he was being authentic.” My response to her statement was “That is not the authenticity that God calls us to.” And it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a weighted statement that came out of my mouth and right then I knew I was being called out.

It is an eye-opening experience when God reminds you of what he called you to do and the person he called you to be when he adopted you into his body. I know that sometimes I forget and I let the way of the world dictate how I act in certain situations but this evening God reminded me that his way is the only way that matters. This is hard to say because I know there are times when I want to light into someone like a drunk sailor on Fleet Week but that isn’t the way God desires for me to communicate with my brothers and sisters. When someone annoys me in ministry with talk that I believe is not of God, I shouldn’t just roll my eyes and ignore them but I should take that moment to be prayerful and possibly even approach the person to speak about it instead of going into a clique and complaining. I always go back to this scripture but I have to because it is my constant reminder, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.”

The other part of my conversation with her that keeps on replaying in mind is when she said “People probably think I am a bad Christian.” At that moment I realized that there is nothing any of us can do to prove to someone outside of the body that we are a “good Christians.” We can’t base our walk on hoping to prove our goodness to people. We can only hope that God is pleased and frankly if God is pleased it means you’ve had to surrender and walk away from many things that other people would consider foolish.

The call is so deep, there’s so much to consider and tonight made me remember that this is no walk in the park. This is a challenge to decide if you believe living God’s way is the only way or if you are to scared to go all the way. It’s so much to consider that I encourage you to reflect on what the call to Christ really means to you. What does it really mean to your relationship with God and what it means to the world you live in. Remember these things when you feel the world crowding around you. It will give you perspective

December 13, 2007

The Enlightening Shuffle

Filed under: faith,God,life — nickisym @ 2:54 pm
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I have these moments when I need to just shuffle through the songs on my iPod instead of picking and choosing what I will listen to at any given moment and it never ceases to amaze me the enlightenment that takes place when I do that. It started when the first song to play in my shuffle was Angie Stone’s “Lover’s Ghetto” which is a great song that samples Camp-Lo “Lucini”—it’s actually the top reason I even own the song.

After the ghetto came the Via Dolorosa. That isn’t the title of the song but a phrase I became familiar with after listening to Kurt Carr’s “They Didn’t Know.” As the song played while I was toiling, it actually began to mesh itself into my work. I happened to be reading an Advent entry from “God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas.” “They Didn’t Know” is about Jesus’ travails on the way to the cross to be crucified and inevitably die for our sins. As I listened to the choir preach in song about the ignorance of the people that led Jesus to the cross I started to read a section in the fourth Wednesday of Advent about the solemnity of Elizabeth’s baby—John—jumping in her stomach at the excitement of being in the midst of the savior—who was at the time in Mary’s belly. The writer, Kathleen Norris, goes on to explain how it is not only a moment of gentle comedy and joy, but is solemn because like all pregnant women, these women both have children that they are destined to give life to and certainly watch die. All of this on the second track of the shuffle party?
After that experience I skipped a few songs because they just didn’t fit the moment and then I hit the jackpot again with Lauryn Hill’s “Oh Jerusalem” from the MTV Unplugged album many don’t understand—myself not included. The moment she began to strum her guitar and wail I knew where this was going. A few minutes before the song started playing I had reached over to check my Blackberry because I saw a message come in. It was from a friend who was lamenting over an assignment that we both have to do within the next few days. I too am lamenting the assignment and I discovered many of the reasons why as I listened to the song. It’s as much about me and my internal issues as it is about the people around me who refuse to approach the assignment with the gentleness required. Without going into too much detail, here are the lyrics to the song.

“Oh Jerusalem”

Oh Jerusalem yeah, oh Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem…

Realizing that there’s no place else to go
And there’s nobody I know who can help me
Textbook solutions are so improbable
Cause everybody else is just as empty
Naked as the day that I was born, I tried to hide
…behind education and philosophy
Hopeless explanation to describe a situation
I can’t see because the world’s on top of me
Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me
From the body of this death
Freeing me from dust, and the superficial trust
Of an enemy that seeks to take my breath
Failing to connect, cause I’m morally defect
By reason of the God inside my head
Causing me to see, only what pertains to me
Believing I’m alive when I’m still dead
Limited to earth, unable to find out my worth
Cause I…can’t see past my own vanity
If I’m not included, then I just have to remove it
From my mind because it has to be insanity
Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me
From the body of this death
Can I even factor, that I’ve only been an actor
In this staged interpretation of this day
Focused on the shadow, with my back turned to the light
Too intelligent to see it’s me in the way
What a paradox, having God trapped in a box
All this time professing to be spiritual
Naturally pretending, that I’m actually defending
God through my facade don’t need material

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem, keeping thee from perfection

Submit to truth, leave the deception of thy youth
So we could walk in the council of authority
Forget the proof, our generation so aloof
Only follow in the steps of the majority
Trust in the Lord, with all thy heart
And lay not to thine, own understanding in all thy ways
Acknowledge Him, and He shall direct our paths
Be not wise in thine own eyes and you can follow him
We judge and condemn, just as ignorant as them
Who religion tells us that we should ignore
Perpetrating we’re in covenant with Him
Exposed by the very things that we adore
We grin and shake hands, then lay ambush for the man
Who has a different point of view then us
Infuriated cause he doesn’t understand
Bringing up those things we don’t want to discuss
Why still do evil, we don’t know how to do good
Walking on in darkness running from the light, ey
Led to believe, because we live in neighborhoods
Telling us what’s going on will be alright
Oh so repressed, so convinced that I was blessed
When I played with my game of Monopoly
Oh to suggest, that my life is still a mess
Who reveal the pride I’m hiding is what’s stopping me

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem keeping them from perfection

Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bare
…fruit of itself except in the vine
I am the vine, ye are the branches, He’s that live in me
And I in him, the same bring forth much fruit
For without me, you can do nothing
Oh Jerusalem, you’re traditions have deceived you
I’ve chosen you, you haven’t chosen me
Do whatsoever, you asking my name he may give to you
But in vain they call my name
teaching doctrines just the same
Justified among themselves
But God know with the heart, what man esteemed as smart
Is an abomination to Emmanuel
Just repent, turn from selfish motivation
So iniquity will not cause your demise
Make you a new heart and a new spirit
…for why would he die
Oh Jerusalem, please tell me why
I have no pleasure in the death of him to die
Says the Lord God where forth turn yourselves and live
It’s not the talkers, but the walkers and his word
Are the only ones the Father will forgive

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem, providing you no protection

Oh Jerusalem…

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