Blogging from my HTC Touch Pro as I wait…

I am sitting at the auto shop, and we have watched the same CNN news play over and over again. If it replays through the same news one more time, my head might explode. Who would of thought that it would be a long wait just to get my oil changed and get a light changed.

However, i am enjoying the conversation with my philly neighbors…


Take a moment and check out this freestyle battle…

I got nothing against classical and professional dance… however there is just something real dope about freestyle. The improvisation and creativity expressed in the moment through hip hop is fresh and authentic. It’s not about perfectly recreating and duplicating someone else’s moves, no.. its about you and that moment forging something new, unique and relevant for right then. That’s freestyle…

Check out a sermon I gave…

It is a 2 part downloadable video of a sermon I gave not too long ago. It is entitled “Our Ultimate Worship”. I am coming from Isaiah 58, looking at God’s heart for justice as a part of our worship. It will only be available for download through this link for 14 days, so grab it now before it’s too late. Did I mention it is free?

Anyway, tell me what you think…

Joseph in Genesis Chapter 50

I am Joseph, son of Jacob as I recover from the death of my father and begin to reconcile with my brothers. (Genesis 50).

I feel sick in my stomach; I can’t believe dad is dead. After all this time has passed, I never got to spend the quality time I wanted to with him. I can still remember the good memories that I had with him when I was still a child. I loved my father so much, and I miss him more than word can describe. I can still remember a particular gift that he had given me when I was young. He gave me this beautiful coat. It had so many bright beautiful colors on it. It was bright gold, red, and green, with thin black stripes between each color. My name was stitched on the top right of it. That was the best gift dad had ever given me.

I can still remember when my brothers stripped me of my coat that dad had given me. They jumped me out of nowhere. At first I thought they were joking with me, but when I looked at Rueben, I could see something was wrong. He wouldn’t look me in my eyes. I could tell something was wrong. Now here we are as a family all back together again. I have so many mixed feelings, so many things to process; so many thoughts are just flying through me head.

I wonder if we will ever be able to be a normal family again. Despite all the terrible things that my brothers did to me, I really just want to have my family back. I have had a lot of time to deal with what they did to me. Honestly, it still hurts, I mean they are my own blood and they just did me wrong, as if I was a stranger to them. I know they did not like the dreams I shared with them, but they were from God, it wasn’t my dreams, I never wanted to disrespect them or insult them. Now here we are, and they are all bowing down to me, just as the dream said.

What was God thinking? Was this the only way to work out your plan? If you loved me so much God, then why did you take everything from me, why did you allow me to go through all that hardship, all that pain? I was always faithful to you God, why did you turn your back on me when I needed you most? When I was in the pit where, were you then? When I was sold into slavery where, were you then? And when I was in Jail, where were you then?

Yet even though I have had to go through so many troubles, I can’t deny God’s hand on my life as well as my families. It is though God had a mission that he was working out through my suffering and hardships. It’s as though my suffering was the birth to life and opportunity for me and my family. Here I am with my brothers eating well, feasting, and living in luxury during one of the worst famines the region has ever seen. It was God who brought me to this point. It was God that spared my family, and reunited me with my brothers. And so it is evident that God’s hand and blessing was upon me even during some of my most terrifying life experiences. I praise God that he has taken me from the lowest depths to the highest heights!!!

My brothers approached me today fearfully, and threw themselves down into the dirt before me. They begged and pleaded with me to take them into my house so that they could serve me as my slaves. While I am still hurting and figuring this whole thing out, I really do sincerely forgive them for what they have done. And I really just want to have them back into my life as family, as my brothers. God has worked this thing out, and so how can I hold a grudge against them when God’s mission was being fulfilled through it all. I have come to realize that even though they “intended to harm me” that was only half the story because in that same action there was God who “intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20, TNIV).

King and Obama

I wonder what King’s legacy and significance is in the midst of “the age of Obama”. In 2009, how do we interpret his words, his courage, his life. It is 40 years since King truly and fully became “Free At Last” leaving this broken world behind. And so as the next generations emerge, we must consider and understand the meaning of his life, as America empowers its first black president.

There has been a lot of disagreement about what the Obama election signifies. Some see it as evidence of America’s ability to move beyond its historic racist past, while others say that it means little given the continued struggles that people of color live with. A term that has emerged in the middle of this historic time is post racial. The idea is that we as a country have actually moved beyond race as we engage one another.

This concept of moving beyond or being above race is nothing new to this land. In slavery times, the majority said that everyone was treated fairly, and that there was no racial problem. After slavery, during the black codes and Jim Crow segregation, the majority said that race was not a problem. When 5,000 blacks were recorded as lynched, (crazy number since many lynchings were not seen as significant enough to record) the majority saw no problems. So now, when black neighborhoods are victims of police brutality, unfair loans, inadequate housing, inferior education, environmental hazards, and of course blatant racism and hate acts, it is no surprise to hear about this post racial america that has been realized.

Nonetheless, Obama’s presidency is significant for me. It does show that although the progress has been slow (400 years of oppression) there has been new ground covered that can’t be ignored. For the next four years (at the least) Obama will become the face of America. He will be a better reflection of America’s diversity, rather than the all white men we have had so far. He repesents the browning of America.

Now we must all wrestle to interpret what it means to have progressed in our racial struggle, while simultaneously keeping aware of the discrimination that continues to erode our society. And so we must continually go back to King as we move forward with Obama

Heater Problems

I thought when we moved to this house we would be done with heater problems. When I was renting a house in Harrisburg, my heat ran on oil. Yo, I really hate oil!!! If it wasn’t one thing goin wrong, then it was something else. Each year I delt with different dilemmas that had me layering up in extra clothes to stay warm.

Oh was I glad that our home in Philly ran on gas heat! I thought I had arrived to the promise land, yet here we go again. This morning we woke up to an increasingly cool house. Which is actually not so cool!

Guess there is no perfect or eternal thing in this lifetime. Things break down and things fall apart, as do our bodies. Even when things are good, things are decaying all around us.

Getting into the Rhythm

I have been trying to get back into the Rhythm of Philadelphia. As a city, Philly is culturally different than Harrisburg, so moving back means readjustment and relearning. Cities each have their own unique organic qualities about them. Where are the people, where do they gather, what is unique about the language, food, styles, and approach to life that is specific to that region.

It would be so easy to miss some of the less noticeable differences of one hood with another. However, urban is a broad category, which holds a plethora of subcultures, especially moving from region to region. (Even when the cities are only 2 hours apart like in my case).

My desire is to naturally flow with the rhythm of the city. As Christians, we all should want to have a pulse on our neighborhoods. How do we become organically woven into the fabric of our neighborhoods, in such a way that we can naturally engage folks as insiders and not as outsiders. We need to be finding the rhythm of our community. Sometimes we will miss a beat or two. But once you catch the rythym, then it’s time to flo with the beat.

Jesus found our rhythm when he gave up everything to be like us. He wanted to engage us where we were at, empathize with our struggles, he took on our rhythms of life, so he could connect with us on deeper levels.

With that I am continually listening for the beat… Getting into the Rhythm.