Moon Mountain

Because the bond between my divine Maker and me dies from time to time.  

6:16am – Sunday, 6 Dec 2015

I loved waking up at 4am the first few days of camp for morning devotion. As the people would sing and clap, I would look up at the bright, beautiful, big moon right above the strong, solid, stoic mountain.  

I would think about God’s majesty and brilliance; how He made us all; how He designed and created the universe; how perfect it was; how perfectly everything turned… How beautiful it all was. How could I not believe in Him? He made this.  

Then harmattan decided to be weird. A fog rolled in so thick that it covered a mountain I had come to believe was unconquerable. Never in my days there did I believe I would wake up and not be able to see something so big and immovable. I looked in the same direction I had looked every single morning… Nothing but fog; just a blanket of white, flat against a vertical landscape. To me, that mountain and the moon had become an unshakable testimony of God’s faithfulness, presence and preeminence. It was mine. It was for me. The mountain was from God to me, to all of us, to see and marvel and know, “The Divine Maker was here.”  

And it was gone and it left me feeling hollow. Praying wasn’t as good or fun or majestic or cosmically vibrant as I had grown accustomed to.  

But I looked up and the moon was still there. Slowly traveling somewhere east-like every morning; sliding little by little in the sky. And I held on to it as my one solace in a land that had grown cold with a fierce and unforgiving wind.  

And one morning as we prayed, someone led with a song that said, “they don’t understand.” They don’t understand Our love, Our bond, Our journey, the beauty that is God and me. It just looks like confusion and randomness to the outsider but I can’t convey to them the depths of the dreams I have had, the things I have seen… The things I have seen. And I fell to my knees and cried like Jeremiah. With each saline drop hitting sand and stone, I felt God more for the first time in a long time. I let Him move me again. I let Us be again and He reached my fogged up heart with that song. You see, my heart was always His, moving and turning perfectly with Him, my moon…but some seasons are cold and winds and fogs fuck everything up. What was once clarity becomes confusion. And that thing I never thought I would lose was the first thing to go… My strong, solid, stoic unshakable stance beneath my moon,  my Divine Maker. And He moved further and further away from me, losing His fullness each morning.  Because the bond between my divine Maker and me dies from time to time.

But don’t these orbits and seasons and winds just happen naturally?  

“Even when I’m at my darkest, You know me all the same…and even when I cannot see You, I feel You closer than my skin.”  

Will the pull of the moon not always be felt? Are we not one Universe? Our connection will never die. No matter how She moves, She is mine and I am hers. And she will be near me, bright and full in a new season.  

Lift up your head (You won’t let me go) Lift your head cuz help has come

Lift up your heart (You won’t let me go) Lift your heart His will be done

Lift up your hands (You won’t let me go) Lift your hands and praise the One

Lift up your song (You won’t let me go) Lift your song O ransomed son.

Song lyrics: “Even When I’m At My Darkest” by Ascend the Hill.

Genderless God

Lately, I’ve been practicing imagining God in different forms. The other day, He was a black woman with a huge afro like Mary J Blige’s character in the Black Nativity movie.

Because what are all these forms we imagine when we pray? If you’re like me, you use a visual when you pray and it’s usually a vague representation of stuff from movies. Sometimes, I imagine stereotypical Jesus sitting next to me. And since I’ve never seen Jesus, I’m essentially praying to an idol – an image crafted for me. It’s weird to me that some people will be offended by my new visualization practice but seriously what does God look like? I don’t know. He’s not a person. He’s a spirit. What does a spirit look like? I don’t know! What do I look like? I don’t know. I don’t interact with my spirit through my eyes. I’ve never seen my spirit.

A few months ago, I was reading an article about a Sikh woman and she said,

“this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually]”

I about jumped out of my seat with excitement at that statement. Even though Christians (technically) believe that, Sikhs have it way more together on this genderless God thing than we do.

A few years ago, translators of the NIV bible decided to release a gender-neutral bible and some people were just not having it. I’m not even talking about retranslating God’s gender references. I’m talking about expanding “brethen” to “brothers and sisters” in an attempt to

So I wonder how difficult this post might be for some people. A moment of silence.

Pressing swiftly along! While preparing this post, I read a piece titled, “Our Genderless God.” The author made a fabulous series of points:

“Most of us would say, if asked, that we don’t believe God has a gender. Instead, God transcends gender.

But we tend to use masculine pronouns for God because the Bible does. Yes.

We imagine God as male because Jesus called God ‘Father’. Yes.

Because Jesus, the image of the invisible God, was a man. Yes.

Because dominant images of God are associated with strength and power, with active and protective roles and we’ve been taught that strong means male… Ah.

Because we understand God in part by how we understand ourselves and the theologians who have had the most influence through Christian history have been male… Ah.

Because God is the highest and the greatest and the very best of the best, and our experience tells us that a person at the top is probably male… Ah.

Do you see where we start to have a problem?”

We know God is a spirit and not a person. We know we are images of Him and He is not an image of us… but we’re so small and we don’t know how to reach up out of ourselves so we still picture a white man speaking English (except on rare occasions when Morgan Freeman plays God on “Bruce Almighty” or William P. Young depicts God as a black woman in “The Shack.”)

We box God up. We assign human qualities to God so that we will be able to think about Her in a relatable way but She is not human. The box, the form, the object… It’s not for God; it’s for us. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove! It just seems like God was breaking all the rules.

God has to step in to expand our minds. He has to help us. And I believe She can help us unbox Her. Because I want GOD, not just my idea of God. So I knew, I had to shake up my preconceived notions of Him Her just to get started on the journey. I couldn’t just say He was more; I had to imagine God as more and ask Her to help me see truth, beyond my comfort and beyond my traditions.

God is the sourceless source of all, the eternity in which time subsists… God is not a dude. He doesn’t have a penis. She is not a woman. She doesn’t have a vagina. God is the intelligent, sentient, all pervasive force throughout the Universe. While many believed in a different god for the sun, the wind and the waves, we said, “Elohim is one,” that Elohim is the force behind all the forces physicists talk about. Elohim is the infinity that math teaches. Where all things have a beginning and an end, Elohim is the constant. Let us change our language to respect that. Let us not limit that truth we profess. I’ll admit that I don’t know the best way to unbox God but I am trying a few things. Honestly, I think God should have His own gender pronouns! She is in a class all by Herself, after all.

I look forward to the day when I close my eyes to pray and I see nothing. And beyond that, I look forward to the day when I open my eyes and I am shown everything.

(Hymn) The Love of God

So, I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while. Now’s as good a time as any. I’ve decided to start posting videos of me singing my favorite hymns. So here we go! This first one is called, “The Love of God” and it was written in 1917 by a man named, Frederick M. Lehman. It has an incredible back story that you can read here.

The lyrics I sang are as follows:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win.
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from [her] sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.