Welcome.

This is a space I created for distilling my thoughts as I discipline myself in my craft.  At heart – I am a writer… a poet…  Clarity finds me when I can put a pen to paper or rest my finger tips on a keyboard.  Sanity comes as the swirling thoughts in my overloaded mind make it the page… Most times it feels like I’m just rambling, but every now and then the end result is actually something intelligible….

You are welcome to join me on this journey.  Who knows?  We may actually learn something from one another.  Maybe you’ll inspire me or be inspired by me – I certainly hope so!  Maybe, I’ll piss you off – or maybe you’ll frustrate me – that may be even better.  You see, I have this strange theory that conflicts needn’t be avoided.  Conflicts need to be managed.  They are the friction that causes motion! I actually believe that we learn more from those with whom we disagree than from most any other source.  The discord is actually an opportunity for harmony.  Thesis… Antithesis… Synthesis… Growth.  We will all end up a bit wiser, broader in our experience and perspective, more tolerant, and more compassionate.  That is my hope, at least.  I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!

Peace

Response-Ability?

Responsibility is the ability to respond to a situation or circumstance and not just react. At least that is my definition.  In my devotion this morning, it was about abandoning blame.  I’m always leery of those who eschew what they consider to be ‘blame.’  Especially when the one railing against it appears abusive or oppressive.  That type of stuff can quickly devolve into victim-shaming, excuse making, and an overall lack of accountability.

Part of taking power back after someone hurts, abuses, or objectifies us, is the difficult work of taking responsibility for our own circumstances – whether we created them or not.  As a victim of abuse I understand the psychological hurdles that must be overcome.  We may identify root-causes but at some point we have to determine how we will respond.  Injustice is not fair!  Sounds redundant, I know.  But the point I’m trying to make is that we live in a corrupt, unjust, fallen world.  Injustice is not surprising.  So if it is not surprising then we can in some ways prepare ourselves for and bolster ourselves against it.  We can be responsible – that is able to respond.

This got me to thinking, about my people… Black people… I got a question for us…

What things help us to be response-able?

Education.

The more we know about something the better equipped we are to respond to it.

Resignation.

There are some circumstances that befall us all that we did not ask for or create – such is life.  C’est la vie!

Determination.

The fact that we did not cause or create our circumstance, does not absolve us of the reality that we still (and always) have choices to make.  This is not to say that our ‘choices’ are easy or palatable but we must make them! We didn’t cause or create ‘it’ but we must control our responses. C’est la guerre!

Orientation

How we respond to our circumstance determines whether or not said circumstance defines us or drives us – we choose the direction.

Actualization

We can learn from our suffering.  We can instrumentalize it (I know that sounds like a made-up word but you get my drift).  Our suffering may well temper, refine, and strengthen us – that is give us the tools to overturn – that is to create the revolution that finally conquers and dismantles the very systems (people, circumstances) that wounded us.

Response Ability? The ability to respond.

My inclination to demand personal responsibility from the people I love and serve does not undermine or preclude the need to address the corrupt systems and structures that place and keep people in bad situations.  Don’t misread me.

These words are actually half of a conversation that I must constantly have as a black preacher.   I must speak truth to power, but I must also speak truth to my brothers and sisters:

The system is not fair.  The deck is stacked against us.  It was not created for us or by us.

We’ve got to live and function in this system. 

Faster, smarter, stronger, wiser, more ethical – that is the demand – we must accept this responsibility.  Fair or not, we must respond. The legacy of our ancestors bears witness.

We are greater than this system.

While we work to reform the existing system, we must also work to create alternatives for ourselves – this is a very long game – and it will not afford an ‘either-or’ approach.  While we seek to reform and exploit this existing system, we are actively engaged in erecting a new system.   Why?

We are better than this system.

We must be willing to do what’s necessary for the protection and prospering of our people – for the future of our families and children, and for the advance of our communities.  We must pursue every avenue that will promote this good.

This was never the goal of the existing system.

We must invest every ounce of our social, political, intellectual, artistic, and spiritual capital in advancing the cause, restoring the dignity, and liberating the bodies, minds, and spirits of our people.

We must be bold and courageous in speaking truth to power.  We must be tough and unsentimental in demanding responsibility from our brothers and sisters.

We must do both in the name of love.  Because we believe.

GOD is greater than this system.

tha prophet…

tha prophet

my verse is ill

when I spill it

like verbal cards

i deal it.

pickin’ prose

like figs

i peal it.

makin’ paralytics

feel it.

a fisher of men

i reel it.

dipped in holy

water, i heal it.

makin love

outta words

truth,

i reveal it.

with two lips

hands clasped

i pray and

i seal it.

amen

© amixon

tha preacha…

tha preacha

the feeder of sheep,

fleecin’ the sheep,

keepin’ us sleep,

tryin’ reap..

from the sweat of others,

pimpin’ sisters, and mothers

narcissist lover

spiritual bloodsuckers

hustlin’ the Good News,

like the crack of the Hebrews,

sippin’ communion

with cheap booze

unholy dope slingin’

abusers…

got people payin to pray

you playin’ with faith

sealin’your fate

leavin’em twitchin’

and itchin’

fancy tickled

and broke, chokin’

on the lies that you spoke,

pushin’ false hopes,

golden ropes –

strands

and glorious bands,

promised lands

just beyond the river.

by and by in

the mornin’

the kingdom

judgment’s comin’

but when you wake

to slither you snakes,

prophetic fakes,

you’ll be livin’

in a house on the lake,

of fire and flames

cuz Jesus says,

‘I never knew ya…’

©A.Mixon

Genetically Engineered

I was genetically
engineered inadvertently
in an effort to break me
My ancestor’s owners
Subjected we
to the worst atrocities
Unaware that what did not kill we
strengthened we
Terrified they see our resiliency
Jealously observing our creativity
How we dine on adversity
Scraps turned soul food nourish we

Strong growing we
Feast before our enemies…
Shackled and bound yet,  sing we
Soulfully deep

Spiritual, and rhythmically
Sing we
Blistered and whipped
Sun-beaten and stripped
Dance we
The strength of our stance
Smiling de-fi-ance
Taken for ignorance,
survive we
Through subtle resist-ance

They take the gold
But we get the glory
We break the molds
And tell our story

Stolen Man

Stolen lands…
In our songs, our dances,

Our laughter, and stanzas
Avert we

an African holocaust
hope unexhausted

faith undaunted

We be the new griots
Artistic soldiers
Waging cultural war.

They say the hate us

But always want more.

We live… We sing… We dance… We laugh… We win…

© AMixon 2018

Disruptions? (just thinking)

Sometimes the scariest thing in the world is change.

Most of us are creatures of habit and there is certainly some level of comfort that we develop in our routines.  Doing things differently or being forced to deal with interruptions or disruptions in our schedule can become frustrating and unsettling.

I wonder, though, if the disruptions and interruptions of life might be the very substance of faith and the foundation of creativity.

What monotony and boredom would ensue if all faded into gray, indistinguishable patterns of repetition?

I’m sure there is a certain beauty in redundancy but what if there were no wrinkles in the plan?

What if the stone dropped in the pond caused no ripples?

What if the blueness of the sky was never broken by a bright white cloud or midnight fractured by the light of the stars?

Perhaps change and transition, interruption and disruption are our opportunities to see differently – to see more – to grow – to imagine – to live beyond the specter of the ordinary in the shadows of the mundane…

I wonder if our patterns and routines – our comfort zones – are no more than comfortably padded manacles tethering us to an average existence somewhere short of truly being…

So… if you run across something odd today, or someone interrupts you while you are working, or when your child gets in the middle of some chore you want to finish, or a friend calls at an inopportune time, give pause… slow down…  see… feel… listen… and be grateful… all these make life beautiful…

Broken Mirrors

A mirror before

A mirror behind

Distorted visions

Twisted lines

Future and past

Interwined

Consummating

Present times

What was… what will be

What is – ‘tis mine…

~

A mirror before

A mirror behind

Reflection or projection?

Mentality binds

Ascent or descent;

A fall or a climb?

Progress or regress?

A doubled-mind

Frozen with fear

Sightless and blind…

~

A mirror before

A mirror behind

Shattered them both

Abandon design

[What was is not what is and what is is not what will be]

Forsaking causality

Destiny redefined

[I am not what I was and what I will be remains to be seen]

Grace is the key

The secret to life

No mirror before

Or mirror behind…

I’ve broken them both

As I look to the sky…

©A.Mixon, 2018

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,  forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

 

Lust… untitled…

Lust is the language of lack

Never let the illusion usurp reality

Hopeless, hungry, saints? That’s a fallacy…

A deceptive ruse

So even if you ‘win’ you lose…

Contentment is inner-work

Love is that of abundance

Durable and resilient

Not a commodity for purchase

But a state of being, one must nurture

By sharing.

 

 

Our Children Need Heroes

…remarks from last Sunday as we concluded our Summer Enrichment Camp…

Today is bittersweet. We concluded our Summer enrichment camp today. And while it remains to be seen what harvest will appear, I am stubbornly hopeful that the All-wise, Eternal, Benevolent, and Merciful Creator will reward the faithfulness of those who lovingly served this Summer.

This is hard work, and you are heroes – champions for our children.

As the camp concludes, I’m more aware now than ever of the tremendous need for programs like the Springboard. The dearth of positive, safe, healthy, and affirming spaces for our beautiful brown babies, leaves me feeling how the Israelites must have felt when they were being harassed by the Philistines and their champion, Goliath.

Our children need heroes.

Our children need champions. Not the sort that run fast, or dunk basketballs – these are fine. But our children need some everyday heroes. Moms and Dads that look into their eyes and remind them that there is goodness and greatness in them – that they are beautiful, smart, and strong! Grandmothers and Grandfathers that will cradle their handsome faces and remind them of their royalty – remind them of where they come from and who they are. Teachers that recognize their potential even when is not yet refined.

Our children need heroes.

Our children need to hear words of chastening but even more than that – they need words that affirm, encourage, and inspire them – our children need the words that will make them fly – words that will make their spirits soar! Our children need an investment of our time, soul, and strength – not just our money! Our children need to be urged to crave knowledge and not just entertainment – to strive to be substantial and not just stylish. Our children need heroes. Our children need to be shown that love is not weak or lame but that it is strong and resilient. Our children need to be taught to love and value themselves so that they can love one another.

Our children need heroes.

Our children need to be taught the mantra of our Ancestors- I am because we are, and because we are, therefore, I am!

Our children need to be taught to cherish their brown bodies, the coils in their hair, the broadness of their noses, and the thickness of their lips! Our children need to be taught that their almond, chocolate, mocha, coffee, midnight, brown, beige, caramel, sun-kissed skins are a blessing and not a curse. The melange of hues, the mystery of our melanin is too a mirror of majesty – a reflection of divinity!

Our children need heroes!

And though it appears that we, like David, are overmatched, ill-equipped, and underprepared- we will persist. With only a sling and a few small stones, we confront the giants of racism and supremacy – and the poverty, violence, self-hatred, and hopelessness that ensues.  We confront the dark towers of misogyny, sexism, and xenophobia that casts shade on the souls for our little ones. We confess our fears, but we will not be paralyzed by them. Our size will not determine our significance. We admit our anxieties, but we will never abandon this great work. We may acknowledge the strength of the adversary, but we will always affirm the power of our Creator!

Our resources, sparse as the may be, are more than enough for the God who specializes in making something- that is all things- out of nothingness

Use Your Turn-Signal!

I’ve been in Alabama for twenty years now and perhaps one of the most annoying things I witness is people who refuse to use a turn-signal when they are driving.  I have spent hours in traffic wondering, racking my brain, trying to discern the aversion that so many of us have to using a turn-signal.  Are we saving those blinks for a rainy day?  Are we afraid it will impact our gas mileage?  Or, are we just rude and inconsiderate – careless and negligent?

I’ve been almost killed in a car accident cause by a careless and intoxicated driver.  Maybe that’s why it’s such a sore spot.  Or maybe I’m just perturbed at how thoughtless we can be.  Such a simple thing, huh?  I’m probably just blowing this all out of proportion, right?  Using your blinker when you’re turning, changing lanes, or attempting to merge – such a small thing – what’s the big deal, Mr. Molehill? It is such a small thing, isn’t it?  Reaching over with your left hand and flipping that lever – such a trivial thing, why even bother?  Those milliseconds are so much better spent drumming on my steering wheel, picking my nose, or fiddling with my smartphone!  Why waste the time?

We are not on the road by ourselves!  There are people all around us on this road!  There are old drivers and young ones, careful ones, and some distracted ones.  There are those in new cars with good brakes, and those in hoopties with breaks that require an extra few pumps.   That blinker gives them a heads up, lets others know what our intentions are, and gives them time to react!

I know we know how to use the blinker. We had to use it when we got our license, right?  Remember that driver’s education course?  I know we already know these things, so I’m sure this is just an annoying, smart-assed reminder, but I will say it again, “use your stinking blinker!”  For God sake, use that bulb before it burns out!  I promise it won’t drain your battery!

The consequences of carelessness and selfishness on the road can be fatal. You see we entered a contract when we received our licenses – this contract governs us every time we get behind the wheel of a care.  This contract is not only with the law, but extends to every other driver on the road. When we don’t uphold the stipulations of this contract, we place ourselves and everyone on the road around us in danger.  So, use your blinker, please!!

There are so many small things that we should do, that we often neglect because we are lazy and careless.  And yes, there are some things we do or neglect to do, just because are inconsiderate assholes.  I am hopeful so I will emphasize the lesser of these evils, as I assume that our issue is the former and not the latter.

So, in case you didn’t pick up on it, I am not just talking about driving.  We do not live on this planet alone.  We are inextricably bound to one another – our actions, good or bad, have an impact on everyone around us.  Our carelessness, our laziness, our inconsideration, our selfishness – all these come at cost.

But what if we could in a single stroke change all of this?  With the flip of the switch – what if we could make the world a better place?

I suggest that we can.

Next time you’re driving and you are anticipating a turn, merging, or changing lanes – reach down to your left and flip that lever.  Use your turn-signal, and make the world a better place!!

Who is My Neighbor?

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Luke 10:29

When we think about naming and labeling, recall how God gave Adam the job of naming what He created. That naming was not just a vocabulary challenge but it was an exercise in dominion. In the same way whether we are talking about a doctor diagnosing an ailment or a chemist identifying the elements that make up some compound, that process of naming or classifying determines how a thing is treated or handled. It’s a very powerful exercise and subsequently very dangerous when we begin to direct it at people and people groups.

Who is my neighbor?

The religious man, desiring to justify himself asks, “Who is my neighbor?” That is, ‘Who am I to treat with the regard as I would a neighbor?’  That is, ‘Who is it that I am commanded to love as myself?’ (Lev. 19:18)

“Who is my neighbor?”

The religious man asks in attempt to justify himself. Though seemingly innocuous, this question is a dangerous question of classification that seeks to determine the categories to which we assign people, and subsequently the standards whereby we determine what treatment and behavior is appropriate for and of them. This dangerous question of classification – this labeling – the titles we render, if we are honest about, are not just titles but they are meant in some way or another to define value, honor, or dishonor someone or something.

“Who is my neighbor?”

The history of our nation is marred by the moral failures of both individuals and institutions (Church and State alike) that have not embodied the heart of what it means to neighborly. In much the same way as the lawyer in the text, we (that is the religious establishment) would much rather label people than love them. We would much rather engage in intellectual calisthenics that lead us toward rational disobedience, than to embody the simple message of Christ.

The church in America has largely failed to embrace this message of neighborliness. As a result the world now stumbles at our faulty witness.

Our identity (as Christians – as the Church) is bound to our relationship with God the Father through Christ’s, but it is also inextricably linked to our relationship with our neighbors.  Without dereliction or discrimination, our foremost and most consequential efforts must be in the expression of our love for God through our love for our neighbors.

The identity and witness of the church hinges on how we level and answer this important question “Who is my neighbor?”

Who is my neighbor?

We cannot profess any love for GOD while debasing, degrading, or disregarding the other. We cannot be good neighbors by being passive witnesses to terrible acts of violence (in words and deeds) against those created in His image and likeness.

We are immediately found to be liars and hypocrites who possess a form of godliness but deny its power.

We are as waterless clouds, threatening rain but never yielding a drop.

Our very confessions become curses to us – bearing witness against us before God and man.

Our assemblies, now raucous with shallow and shrill worship, send up sacrifices that are a stench in His nostrils and a sting to the Divine ear.

The fruit of Spirit has withered and died on a branch long pruned and purged from the True Vine while we quibble on…

Who is my neighbor?

Who is worthy of such love?

Who deserves it?

Jesus answers, in the parable… ‘Everyone who needs…’