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“I can’t see another day.
I can’t face another hour.
Let the night rain down around me.
I don’t want no sun.”
I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t stop playing this song. It spoke to me, singing my life, shaking its tambourine, amening along with every weary sentiment. I haven’t been able to write anything for this faith blog for months. Truthfully, I feared I was becoming agnostic. And I might still be.
These lyrics come from “Sun,” a soulful ballad by Lalah Hathaway from the film For Colored Girls. I personally identify with them because they describe someone who’s been broken… one time too many. It’s not that I don’t want sunshine, rainbows, bacon, and everything else good in life. I just don’t want false hope. I’m so much against false hope that I’m willing to abandon all hope if it guarantees I won’t be disappointed. Continue reading
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Prayer, in its simplest form, is communication with God. Some prayers are spoken, some not. I can recognize a prayer anywhere. In church or out of church. But I have no idea what worship is anymore.
Peoples’ definitions often conflict. Some see others lifting hands, shouting, singing, and dancing in church and that’s worship. Some speak broadly and say everything they do is worship. The Bible even says giving tithes is worship. It’s hard to get a reliable authority to nail it down. The more people badly define worship, the less I understand what it is.
And then some big prophet flies into the church on a hot air balloon, with a new revelation about an old scripture few have read or understand. And he or she will announce:
“Stop! You’re worshipping God wrong!”
— Yikes! I am? Well… how do I worship him right?
“Worship is not mere words, it’s the intention of your heart.”
— But I thought my intentions were good.
“It’s service to God. It’s how you live your life.”
— Do I need to live… better?
“No, you just need to surrender more!”
— Surrender more what? How do I put that in practice?
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“Is this the cycle recorded in the pages of history?
World, are you about to end?” —The Clark Sisters, “World?”
On St. Patrick’s Day this year, there was an earthquake centered near the area of Los Angeles where I live. People jokingly called it the Shamrock Shake, but for those 10 seconds, nothing was funny. It was the closest and strongest quake I’d ever felt as a lifelong Californian. And it was enough to scare the piss out of Chris Schauble on live TV.
A 4.4 on the Richter scale is hardly enough to cause significant damage, but it can make you evaluate what you really believe. When the ground started shaking, I reverted to my training, which is to get under a desk… and then pray like my mother taught me. When I was young, she outlined what the Bible says about events that would occur before Jesus returned. It included scriptures like these: Continue reading