Beer over Wine.


“Throughout the later 20th century, wine makers have done a fantastic job of convincing people that wine is the complex, sophisticated drink for erudite people with discerning taste – and during that same time period beer marketeers have done just the opposite for their product. It turns out that these marketeers did all of us a great disservice.”

“Beer can be many things; from thirst quenching, sprightly and light to complex, full and contemplative – and everything between. Beer in all its complexity is blossoming to its full expression.”

“Those of you familiar with wine terms will recognize some of these terms, but you will also quickly realize that many of these can not be applied to wines. This is because as good as wine may be, wine just does not have the same breadth of flavors and aromas that beer does.”

Big
Balanced
slightly Buttery
Clean
Coarse
and Complex
Crisp and Edgy
Expansive and Expressive
Firm with Finesse
Fresh, Luscious
Mellow
with Rich Overtones
and Smooth Textures

This is me.
A beer in a society convinced that wine is the pinnacle.
Judged because I prefer jeans to slacks. Because my jazz
and hip-hop and rock mesh.
Because the Christianity I see biblically condemns capitalism and condones cursing. Because I believe courage is the highest virtue, while niceness is a vice,
and well-placed anger is righteous.
I exist in the tension between murder and taking life.
My feeling is poetry should work on pages, stages, and beats,
and some graffiti deserves galleries.

I know Christian culture ain’t always right
and European tradition shouldn’t be seen as king. I know most nobles wear name tags, yet remain nameless; always asking how they can help, never asked if they are well.

The Kingdom of God belongs to these.

I know that racism is wired into the fiber of our society.
I know I am often racist
elitist towards my own people
I look down on those who don’t understand as much as me.

I love beauty too much and value tact too little
and know
Passion and patience make ticking time bombs of men,
of which I am the least…
I am too many things, and oftentimes too much, but that’s okay, they say good brews take time.

Strive.


Even though this pains me, I’m going to be really vulnerable and honest here, feel free to skip over this if it bores you, it’s perfectly okay. This doesn’t really have a lot of practical application like most of my posts do. I just need to be honest right now.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my evening watching a web series following a truly phenomenal group of spoken word poets called Striver’s Row as they tour, perform, and share their hearts behind the scenes. Seeing them, their hard work, hardship, and commitment to do whatever it takes to follow their calling is jarring. It’s an earnest slap to the face to watch a bunch of 20-something year old kids like myself pursuing doctoral degrees, writing their asses off, performing their poems around the world, in the White House, for television, at their alma maters as commencement speakers with awards named after them, all because they know that this impact is exactly what they were made for and they are committed to making it, life or death.

Meanwhile, I’ve known since I was a child that I want to change lives, but I grew up lazy, arrogant, foolish, entitled and most of all, terrified.

Terrified of my own gift.
Terrified of all of the work I knew lay before me.
Terrified of standing out.
Terrified of failing.
Terrified that I might not be everything I’ve sorely wanted to believe I am.

I’ve known all my life that I owe a huge debt to the world and I’ve run and run from it over and over and over, and now by some miracle, it dawns on me as I watch these videos:

I can do this.
I am absolutely capable.
All I have to do is work for it. Work hard for it. Really hard.

It’s in me, and I’m finally ready to do what is required of me. I’m not afraid anymore. I see myself better than I ever have, and I’m ready to suffer, to pour myself out because I know that I have a message that people desperately need.

Thank you Josh Bennett. Thank you Striver’s Row. Thank you for showing me what I am worthy and capable of. What God expects of me. What the world needs from me.

Extraordinarily Selfish


“”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 19:45) […] They [the disciples] soon learned that servant leadership ultimately means giving up yourself so that others can have the life God desires for them.”
— C.Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership

I’ve done this terribly.

Like many of us, I’ve spent the latter half of this week intentionally diving deep into the story and life of Nelson Mandela, desiring to know who he was, what he was motivated by, how he accomplished what he did, and generally desiring to know what life looked like through his eyes.

What moved me most was simple; a handful of letters he had written to his wife during his 27 year long political imprisonment. What was immediately apparent was that he loved her deeply. What also quickly became apparent was that he detested the fact that in many ways, the movement had to come before his family. He hated that.

But he did it willingly.

That is leadership.

That is why I fail at being a leader. I serve as long as it is convenient or beneficial for me. I serve people all the time, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t lay my life down. I do a little bit, give some encouragement, share some knowledge, but I don’t get all the way in and suffer, cry, and love people with all of me. I don’t give until it hurts consistently. I boast in my freedom and I love it so much it keeps me from pursuing my mission. Yeah, I serve, but I don’t live to do it, my life doesn’t revolve around it, and it isn’t what I’m all about. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t tell you what my life revolves around… Well, I guess that means it revolves around me, doesn’t it? I guess I’m just being selfish.

I’m not discouraged though. I’m excited because all of the difficult discussions I’ve been finding myself in recently are adding up to this moment. Every person that has told me that I’m not where I need to be, that I’m capable of more, that I have so much more to give than I currently am. I’m ready.

9-12-13


We finally talked freely and it seems some things never change:

As we sat in my car, I stretched over the center console to embrace her. We held each other more conscious than ever of the passing seconds. After a while, we freed ourselves, her face glowing in the low light. Sensing that everything was just as it had always been, I asked if a kiss would take us too far. We agreed it be our last one and indulged ourselves.

We kissed four more times that night. We slow danced in the street while she hummed some silly-sounding jazz song I probably should have recognized. I took her hands and we locked our gates together once more, traded raspberries and forehead kisses, licked each others’ faces, (don’t ask lol) told stupid jokes, and laughed, laughed, laughed at all that has happened.

She reminded me of how this all started with a conversation about my next birthday party (now tonight) almost a year ago, and then commented that it’s been a crazy summer. That’s no lie.

The entire evening wrapped itself around us wrapped in each other. And as I found it coming to a close, I told her, still resting in my arms, that no matter what happened, they would always be a home for her. She smiled broadly and as soon as had I said it, I saw the seasons changing and thought sadly that I have only been an extended summer home.

I’m just not the man she wants to build her life around. Nothing against me, nothing against her. At some point, wisdom must trump feeling if we are to live the lives we were meant to. I’m not angry with her in the slightest.

She’s free. I’m choosing to let go of her and be okay with that.

Not a second of these months was wasted, not a moment was anything less than vital for the both of us. No conversation pointless, no intimate moment, vain. This is not another weight, just fuel for the wait; God has done a good thing here and there is only better to come. Still, I’ll miss it.

Twenty-five is definitely going to be a good year.

Continue reading

Rage.


I was so angry last night. I was so angry that I just wanted to snap. I kept catching myself wanting to yell and I kept seeing myself throwing chairs through the sliding glass doors.

The rage was attacking me in flashes and before I could fight each one off more began blitzing. I felt like my insides would burst if I kept trying to hold it in, but I was so scared to let go. It wasn’t safe.

My organs seemed to be overheating and I swore something inside me was about to burst, but I wouldn’t let go, I couldn’t let go.

It’s never been safe to let go.

I started remembering all the times I’d let myself become angry, all the times people have told me that I scared them, all the times my mom told me it was inappropriate, I remember breaking Chris’ nose in elementary school for some reason I don’t even remember. I remember punching walls, bruising my knuckles, having to reseal and caulk the holes I made in my old bedroom.
You’re not safe.
You’re not safe.
You’re not safe.
You’re not safe.

My own voice in my head overwhelmed me.

You’re just not safe.

The last few times I heard it in the voices of my exes and it made me realize that they’re terrified of me. I’ve never raised at hand at any of them or made any threats, but I think they’ve each seen it in me and it’s driven them away.

At this point, I wanted to die. I couldn’t take it anymore, I felt like my internal organs were under so much stress they may explode, I hoped they would. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started yelling inside my head. I don’t know if I was yelling at God or myself, but someone had to know how angry I was. I screamed every negative thought that came to mind. Every thought, every feeling, I ran through everything I hate about my current situation and everything I hate about myself. I was honest about how angry I am with certain people and transparent about the fact that they’ve been treating me pretty badly. I said whatever came to mind without editing myself or forcing myself think rationally. (It seems that trying to tell the truth and being striving to be honest are two different things.)

Somehow peace came, quietly and reassuringly. I realized something, I’ve never really let myself be okay with how I feel when the feelings are ugly. I guess that’s why I’ve always been so intentional about letting people be exactly who they are when they’re with me. That’s why I try so hard to make myself a safe space for other people. I’ve not given myself any safe spaces, which has made me very unsafe.

I have to learn how to accept these parts of me or I’ll never get better. I deserve someone who accepts those parts of me, too. But, first things first, right?

Boundless. [Be Humble.]


20130625-124736.jpg

Our impudence is limitless; standing at the shores of the infinite attempting to catch it in split-second images, like God can be fully understood by reading a book.

Sometimes we think that by reading a Bible, studying philosophy or theology, and memorizing a scripture or quote will give us full knowledge of God or the universe, but common sense should tell us to be more humble because even if the infinite could be contained, there’d not be such an easy way to explain it.

Gain knowledge, become wise, but know that living what you have learned is far more important. Once you try that, you realize that it’s all more complex than you than you first thought, and that you don’t really understand it after all.

#69 Revenge.


This study I’m doing, Breaking Free, is continuing to show me a lot about myself. In fact, it made me very angry this last week. I spent a couple hours writing a blog about what I’d learned and this silly app deleted it. *sigh* I would’ve left it alone, but sitting through the actual class brought it all back up and had me cooking again, so I started writing again, this time, I got a poem out of it. It’ll take a few months for it to work itself completely out, but I thought I’d at least share the first half of what I’ve written so far. Right now, it’s name is Revenge. It’s pretty damn personal, so read at your own risk. Continue reading