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The Marchingest, Playingest Band in the Land

Caught in the act

Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 and the invention of the black marching band style

famuformation Historical photo from the Marching 100 Alumni Band Association.

In 1989, when the French government needed an act to represent American music for their 200th anniversary Bastille Day celebration marking French independence, did they choose Madonna? No. Michael Jackson? No. New Kids on the Block? Quintuple nope.

They chose Florida A&M University’s Marching 100—a university marching band.  Why?

Because there wasn’t anything, anywhere like The 100. Period. “They illustrated the essence of American music,” said the parade’s artistic director, Jean-Paul Goude, in a 1989 interview with The New York Times. And, at the parade, FAMU’s Marching 100 did not disappoint. Instead of a bright, healthy dose of traditional marching band fare, the Marching 100 delivered a non-stop set of James Brown, complete with high-stepping, complicated choreography and the old-school hip-swiveling swagger of the Rattlers’ signature…

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An apology for a career

Thanks, my friend!

Sub Renovationis

In the last blog I shared some feelings about the theological and social issues with the construct of white Jesus. In it I included a screenshot of Vicki Yohe’s Instagram where she posted a meme of a very white Jesus with luggage making his move “back” to the White House.

“You know you are doing something right when there is so much opposition.”

I can’t even begin to say all that is wrong with that sentence. As a product of Word of Faith/Demi-Pentecostalism, there’s a theological, therefore social positioning that lays claim to counterculturalism as a marker of true faith and sanctification. The intent is good, but the message is ultimately bad: if you don’t believe these things, you don’t really have faith and believe in God. The crossover appeal of white Evangelicalism, in my opinion, is based on the ease with which cultural appropriation takes place in worship spaces.

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Why History Matters to the Black Christian

Today, Independence Day, Christian rapper Lecrae dropped some visual knowledge on Twitter that garnered new respect for him from me, but also set the Twitterverse aflame. The image: a depiction of …

Source: Why History Matters to the Black Christian

Mind your own womb

Well said…

Nadirah Angail

pregnant bellySomewhere there is a woman: 30, no children. People ask her, “Still no kids?” Her response varies from day to day, but it usually includes forced smiles and restraint.

“Nope, not yet,” she says with a chuckle, muffling her frustration.

“Well, don’t wait forever. That clock is ticking, ya know,” the sage says before departing, happy with herself for imparting such erudite wisdom. The sage leaves. The woman holds her smile. Alone, she cries…

Cries because she’s been pregnant 4 times and miscarried every one. Cries because she started trying for a baby on her wedding night, and that was 5 years ago. Cries because her husband has an ex-wife and she has given him children. Cries because she wants desperately to try in vitro but can’t even afford the deposit. Cries because she’s done in vitro (multiple rounds) and still has no children. Cries because her best friend wouldn’t…

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A Litany for All Women on Mother’s Day

A litany that addresses the complexity of Mother’s Day…

What the Heart Holds:

A Litany for Mother’s Day:

One: On this day, we honor women.
All: We honor all who give life,
all who sustain life,
all who nurture and care,
all who mend and strengthen.

We remember and we rejoice in their presence in our lives.

One: At the same time, we grieve.
All: We grieve with those who remember their loss.
For mothers who passed into your hands,
those no longer present among us in bodily form.
For women who wished to be biological mothers,
but whose lives or bodies took a different path.

We mourn also the pain of broken relationships,
the sorrow of those who could not be what they wanted to be,
those who could not be what we needed,
those who could not be what the world needed,

We remember and we grieve.
We grieve.
We grieve and where forgiveness is called for,
we work to forgive.

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From Competition to Collaboration: Reflections on Humility, Self-Promotion, and Gender

I sooo needed to read this post today! This is a great challenge for me. Thanks, Katey Zeh and FAR!

photo-1422190441165-ec2956dc9ecc

“Is self-promotion sinful?” Author Marlena Graves asked this question on Christianity Today’s Her.Meneutics blog back in 2010. Reflecting on her experience of having a manuscript rejected by publishers for being a “no name” and not having a big enough platform, she wrestles with questions like “how much of what we do as Christians and churches is about promoting ourselves?” and “are we using the church as a vehicle to make a name for ourselves?”

Graves never directly answers the question  but she imples that most of the time self-promotion is sinful. She concludes that when we are presented with platform-building opportunities, most of the time the most righteous path is to for us to take a step back in order to revaluate and humble ourselves. But, other than turning down opportunities to grow our professional presence, what does humbling ourselves mean?

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Caroline Schelling on Birth & Death by Stuart Dean

Caroline Schelling

Of the many letters Caroline wrote to her lifelong friend Luise, one of the most intense  (the 57th Letter) dates from seven years after the 4th Letter discussed in my last post.  By then both were married; only a few months earlier Caroline had given birth to her first child (Auguste); though Luise already had children, Caroline knew that one of them was terminally ill.  In the first paragraph Caroline describes how difficult Auguste’s birth was for her; in the second she consoles Luise over the impending death of her child.  She thus subtly parallels birth with death and hence the labor for one with mourning over the other.

Fifteen years later, only a few months after the death of Auguste–the last of her four children to die–Caroline’s generally positive disposition evidenced in the 4th Letter and her experience in grappling with birth and death evidenced in…

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