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Learned Student, Honest.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 4: Constitutional Law

*singing* "Our God is the Awesome God. There is none like You. With Him we win, He’s our Champion oooooh-oooooh! Our God is the awesome God, He is the greatest in all the earth, with Him we come in first, He’s our Champion!!!!"

My theme song during bar prep is ‘Champion’ by Tye Tribbett featuring Israel Houghton. I initially heard the song when my cousin posted it on google buzz a while back. Recently, a friend played it, and sent it to me through BBM = perfectly timed! It was on repeat during my commute this morning. Five miles in 10 minutes – the purple line is nice like that – Belmont to Howard.

Day 4: Constitutional Law - First Amendment, Equal Protection and host of other topics; it’s all coming back. Apparently we’ve learned thousands of rules during law school and we will review/learn many of them these next two months. The exam will be complete in exactly two months! Amen! Efficiency is the key. There is a lot to learn but the key is study efficiently and effectively. “The bar is all about testmanship and confidence. Confidence Cayenne in the house. Also “it’s not enough to just know the rule, you must know the exceptions.”

Technically, we have a break tomorrow for the holidays. The break just means we don’t have a live session in downtown, but there is still work to be done. Multiple choice questions every day. Tomorrow, I’ll scope out my study spots for the next 9 intense weeks. I also decided to incorporate exercising into my schedule after a reoccurring theme in the advice from recent bar takers. I've also been advised that blogging is not part of my schedule either so after this week, it's foreseeable that I will not post as frequently.

My foundation course professor is the eldest of seven children – none of them are twins, I asked (seven separate births, one couple - wow - Naija style). She was also a whiz kid – finished undergrad at 19 and law school at 22! Her parents were very active in invalidating the bill of attainder. The legislative punishment of a named group or individual without judicial trial is unconstitutional = bill of attainder.

I signed up for the live class for the rest of the course as opposed to my initial decision to take the remaining weeks of the class on demand. I think having other students around will add more to the structure. I don’t know any of them though, most of them are graduates from the city law schools, but I’ll meet them soon enough. Although, the group seated near me today, spoke so negative and pessimistic. I had to tune them out, because that’s not my portion.

Also, I do appreciate my friends checking up on me and helping! I tend to turn off my phone since it proves more effective than keeping my phone on silent. Although, sometimes it delivers texts late, or not at all – it is a crackblackberry *shrug* I might not be able to respond as timely, in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, I appreciate ya!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 3: Evidence

It feels like it’s been a week already. I’m still working on my schedule and where I'll study when class ends at 1. Since it only took about 40 minutes to commute downtown the last two days, I tried leaving a little later today. But those 10-15 minutes makes a huge difference because now I’m competing with all the people that begin work at 9am and apparently a majority of them work around Clark and Lake.

This one girl always dresses up to class (it’s only been 3 days, but still). I don’t know how she does it but fist pump to her. Maybe it adds to your psyche. There is only one state that still requires you to dress up to sit for the bar exam, I think it’s Maryland or Virginia. They also make you dress up to class everyday in Nigerian law schools. Law school over there is one year though.

As for me, I’m layered up in boots, tights, cami’s and sweaters and I’m still cold. I would seriously send someone to the store that doesn’t mind going to get me appropriate winter stuff. This Chicago winter is something else. I haven’t really been in it in years. When I come home it’s my house to my car and my car to my destination. My destination for the next 10 weeks is downtown, I’m not driving downtown. Although, each time someone on the train coughs I really wish I had an anthrax or surgeon’s mask. I cannot get sick. Spring semester I got sick about 3 times, this past semester I don’t recall being sick at all – thank God. I want to keep it that way – which is why I also need appropriate winter stuff because this is not cutting it.

I’m thinking of which social networks I’ll keep on and off during this prep. I’ve already taken facebook off my phone as an initial step. But I like the interactive-ness of it but then again that might be a problem in and of itself so that might have to go. I might keep tweeting. I probably won’t BBM as much but I don’t have too many contacts on there anyway, so that’s okay.

Today’s diagnostic test was better as far as time and percentage correct combined. Each day has gotten progressively better with time and I feel good knowing I’m where I should be at this point. I’m trying to see if there is a correlation between the grade I got in the class and how I do on the diagnostic years later. I guess it also depends on subsequent courses which built upon the initial core class.

Our professor is a public defender. She used to tell her clients to dress like they were going to church until one guy came in a bright suit, alligator shoes and a fedora. Now she tells them to dress like a nerdy white guy. End quote.

Favorite quote: “Child custody is a case where your character is at issue ex. A case called Spears v. Federline (ba-dum-bum) that was cute. "Also in negligent hiring and firing – chester the molester cannot be the new school monitor and crossing guard.”

Also, I have the greatest friends ever, very supportive and their neighbors too!!! THANK YOU!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 2: Torts

I’m getting used to waking up at 5:30am, or I'm trying to, I will try to start my day that early. I was pretty consistent with waking up that early for a good part of the semester but then finals came and that kind of changes everything. Sometimes you get excited and sometimes you start to think too much. It’s like an emotional kiddie roller coaster or a swing set -- not as drastic as a regular roller coaster. I'm just going to focus on the positive and remembering everything that everyone expects you to know since "you're a lawyer now."

I think I've decided to take the class live. I was debating whether to take the class on demand after the first week but I see the value in having a live professor at your disposal to ask questions immediately.

Today was much better than yesterday. It's like studying for the LSAT mixed with being a 1L but with a little more wisdom.

By the way, I am sure once this week is over I probably won't be able to update this everyday. This week is the foundation week so we're supposed to take it "lightly" comparatively. But I seem to be getting a 12:30 feeling. I might need to pick up a caffeine fix until the end of February.

Favorite sound bite: re: contributorily negligent: "has more legal fiction than John Grisham can write in a lifetime" - I like John Grisham's legal fiction books.

By another way, did you know that mink eat their young? You learn interesting random facts from the multiple choice questions. Our professor said it's true. She's pretty funny which helps, but she is another lawyer who married a lawyer and is now divorced. I've heard that story too many times - what's really good? On a slightly brighter note, she is a female attorney, with children -- that's important.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 1: Criminal Law

We’re taking diagnostic tests this week in the core subjects. Today we took criminal law.

I'm trying to figure out my schedule, it will be an intense 10 weeks. I’m getting a wealth of advice from my classmates who took the Bar in July and last year. I’ve been told to eat healthy and make sure I exercise. Apparently, the last couple of weeks are 18 hour days and it’s all studying. So I’m just getting mentally prepared for that. Part of me wants to start the 18 hour days now but I was advised not to so I don’t burn out by the time I really need to; save my energy for the final stretch. So we are in boot camp for the next couple of months.

Some of my favorite quotes of the day.

“Somebody is going to run out of the room to puke and hopefully, it won’t be you but somebody will.”
"It's Chicago, it's winter, it's cold, so someone next to you will have whooping cough" - part of a spiel to get us to invest in some ear plugs.

I'm trying to get my northside friends to make meals for me -- they think I'm joking but I'm so serious. I need to maximize my time.

I will be studying the notecards I make on the train rides. I haven't had to ride the train consistently like that since highschool apart from a short stint one summer junior year. Many characters and hustlers on the CTA, I try not to stare.

Friday, December 17, 2010

And so it begins . . .

The beginning of the end, of my law school journey: the Bar!

All glory to God I have completed my academic requirements for my Juris Doctorate. Now all that's left is the Bar exam to get my license to practice law. I take the exam on February 22 and February 23. Two full days of examinations. During the preparation period I'll be on sabbatical but in hibernation mode!

I start my bar prep class this week and I plan to document this journey as much as is feasibly possible with the studying. I hope this will capture some of the tips I have gained as well as my first time back in Chicago besides the summers since high school.

This weekend is my only "break" in between my last final on Friday and class on Monday. Thankfully, I get to enjoy it with some of my favorite people! Saturday I'll celebrate Emiola's graduation and Hanna's birthday and Sunday, ACF YA Chicago has our end of the year potluck. All that while officially giving Champaign the two fingers! It's been real!

Prayers are welcome! I apologize in advance for not being as available, but I'll be back. :-)

The race you have to win

All glory and honor to Jesus! The end of a matter is better than its beginning and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8. C'est fini! Today, I completed my last exam, as a student at the University of Illinois. After 7.5 years, it is time to say goodbye to Champaign! Thank You Jesus!

Saturday, December 11, 2010, I graduated from the School of Labor and Employment at the University of Illinois. The graduation took place at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in the Colwell Playhouse. I gave the remarks on behalf of the Class of 2010 and the transcript is below.

Good afternoon, graduates, faculty, families and friends. Thank you all for coming to our ceremony. We are happy to have you here to share in this joyous time with us.

The title of my speech is called “The Race You Have To Win.”

In life, we are all in a race, yet each of us are in a different race with several supporters cheering us along the way. Many of those supporters are here today in this auditorium. Thankfully, along each of our races, we were able to cross paths for the past year and a half at the School of Labor and Employment.

Seven years ago, after my first semester in undergrad, here at the University of Illinois, I remember running down the stairs at the Weston Residence Hall exclaiming “one semester down, just seven more to go!” with a sigh of relief that I completed my first semester as a college student. Little did I know, in my capped off far-sighted vision into the future, that I would actually be at the University of Illinois for an additional seven more semesters after undergrad. This would make an additional seven years from my first semester.

Seven is also my favorite number. It’s signifies completion. Now seven years later, I stand before you today along with my colleagues, having completed our last semester, as a student, at the School of Labor and Employment at the University of Illinois.

So after seven years, you might imagine I would receive the “oh you must really like school” comment and the “What is MHRIR?” question. And you’re right. Just the other day after a student visit, I was talking to Brandon and Jen and after explaining that I’ve been here since 2003, Brandon asks “do you like Champaign?” And as a city girl, I never thought I would say this but I actually do and it will be sad to leave this place I’ve come to call home. I will miss the good cornfields. I will miss getting to places in 10 minutes and watching this city change and the temperature being slightly warmer than Chicago and gas being slightly cheaper than Chicago. I won’t particularly miss the parking enforcement though. More importantly, it will be sad to leave all of you.

I began undergrad in Champaign, as an 18 year old Psychology major; a familiar beginning for many of my colleagues. And like many of you, I also came to that turning point in undergrad where I decided to change majors. Yet at the same time, it is a very different story for many of my colleagues hailing from 94 undergraduate institutions and 13 countries! It would eventually turn out to be a different story for me as well.

After undergrad, I decided to stay pretty close for law school, as in down the street, which added another 3 years to my tenure in Champaign. And at the law school I met Professor LeRoy! Anyone who has come into contact with him, or taken any of his classes here, knows exactly what this means. He and other important people in my life, such as my mom, are the reason that I stand before you today being able to pursue exactly what I wanted to do.

We all began this lap of our race in 2009. I was so surprised that on the first day of orientation, Becky knew my name and everything about me. Then I quickly understood that this school cares about each person in the program and makes it a point to know you. On that first day, I also discovered the wealth that existed in the three-story brick building on 5th and Armory. I felt so fortunate to be in the newly-named-changed School of Labor and Employment. Here I found diversity of cultures, and schools of business and technology as well as an immense and supportive career service center, faculty and alumni base. On a Monday, I told Nell exactly what I was interested in and literally by Tuesday she connected me with alumni from across the country. These alumni significantly helped me change my perspective on my career for the better.

Here we are today December, 11, 2010, a year and a half into the race from where we started and the race is nowhere near complete. Some would even say our race is just beginning depending on your perspective and the School of Labor Employment gave us the best warm up laps. Now we are sitting here about to receive our degrees with many of our supporters and a cloud of witnesses happy to join us here in the audience. I think we need to give our supporters a round of applause because they were the ones that helped us to keep running this race.

As of Summer 2010, there were over 2300 School of Labor Employment alumni employed in 47 different states in the U.S. including, D.C. and Puerto Rico, and in more than 30 foreign countries. Among them are senior corporate executives, government officials, HR consultants, union officials, faculty members, and university administrators.

Now graduates, look around, we are the new generation of HR and IR professionals, consultants, government and union officials, administrators and directors. I think you should also clap for yourselves for making it this far on your race. And as we finish our last final examination in the program next week, we will race out into the world to join these successful University of Illinois MHRIR alumni. Fellow graduates, we are very privileged to be in these seats. I am so honored to be in great company, having the opportunity to join the graduating class of December 2010.

I admit it hasn’t hit me yet, that we’re actually leaving. Maybe it will hit me when I’m stuck in traffic again in the big city on my way to work, or sometime next year when I no longer view the year in semester lenses. Or maybe, it will hit me when I’m not driving down Interstate 57 on a Sunday night for my 8am class with Professor Avgar. Although, it will be sad to leave, it is a bitter sweet leave. This program is the hardest thing many of us have done, it is the hardest thing I have done to date and we have successfully completed this lap in our race. The School of Labor and Employment has adequately prepared us for the next step, judging by the experiences from many of my peers this past summer as well as our antecessors who have shared their experiences with us. So in a sense it was our warm- up lap for our race. And although there are no official rankings, I am certain that this was the best warm up lap hands down.

Before I came to this program I somehow avoided the business classes, like the plague apart from the general requirements. Leaving this program, my business acumen has skyrocketed. One thing I learned in Professor Lubotsky’s Health Savings and Family Issues in the Workplace class is that generally speaking there are two assets that are very hard to diversify. One is your house and the second is your skill set; your human capital. However, at this program we are at such an advantage with the second asset. Our skill sets are already diverse. Our education at the School of Labor and Employment has opened so many roads of opportunities and given us several choices that many of us otherwise would not have had prior to entering this program.

Graduates, no matter where we are in this world, whether we are in small town, Ohio, to New York City to Beijing, China we will always have the bond of being Fighting Illini at this point in our race. And as I conclude, I would like to leave my fellow Illini with following words of advice. There is a race set before that you have to win. This race isn't given to the swift but to the one that can endure through the end. I started this year with many goals, and graduating from the School of Labor and Employment was one of them, we all made it!   More importantly, we are guaranteed a prize at the end of this race, so continue working hard and I know that we will hear of many of each of our races throughout the school walls and across the world.  As we leave this campus as alumni, continue to run your race.   Pace yourself through your race to run your best race, helping others along the way and know that you’ve already won.  Thank You.

Convocation Ceremony School of Labor and Employment at the University of Illinois

Reference: I Corinthians 9; Ecclesiastes 9.
Speech inspired by: Pastor Fola Oluwehinmi -- King's Assembly, RCCG.
Photo by: Lola Adegoke
Supported by: So many people: family, ACF, JHC, KA, friends, mentors, faculty!
Could only have done it by and through: JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

you *are in* my prayers

freely He gives and freely He takes away.

When someone closer along the degree of separation goes on to be with the LORD, I think about the people directly affected. I really consider the younger ones. There's a line between the appropriate time to call or visit to offer condolences, and the sign of respect you show by allowing the family to have their private time. I know this because these situations make me flashback to my uncle and my cousins last year. Out of respect I'd want to call right away to console my friends, but at the same time, I know it will not be the best time for them to talk, only to repeat a similar interview. I still try to ascertain the best time to cross that line. I'd imagine it's much worse to never cross the line and failing to call.

At the appropriate time, people tend to say "you're in my prayers." Earlier this year, a friend's mother mother also went to be with the LORD, and I still wonder how much weight those words carried to her when she reunited with many people who had lost touch with her over the years. More importantly, do people really mean that when they say it. I hope so. Needless to say, she is in my prayers and today I'll add another friend to that prayer.

I remember when Pastor Bimbo Odukoya was killed in a plane accident in Nigeria in 2005. I just met her youngest daughter that summer, on a trip to Great America. She was probably about 15. We were told that as soon as the family learned of the fatal crash, they immediately began praying. To my understanding, they were praising and worshiping God for her life. When I would assume they would be mourning, and wondering how her teenage daughters would process not having their mother around for the rest of their life, their faith was so strong that they were praising God. That in and of itself was powerful to me and I will never forget that.

More times than not, death seems so unexpected, so unplanned, to us. We would like to think that God-fearing parents would get to live to their old age and see their childrens' children. Then once they get to their elderly age they would go on to be with the LORD. But whose plan is that? It just reinforces that He is in control. God knew everything that would happen up until our last day on this earth.

Although it is very shocking, we can't press pause to figure everything out or anticipate what's next. We will never know His ways completely. We can't press pause but we can press pray. It's more than an appropriate statement to say -- it's an action. The best thing to do is pray and continue praying.  I would venture to say the words do not mean as much, but the actions will, regardless if they have actual knowledge of it or not. So it goes without saying, but I guess it's the only thing you can say at a time like this. We just have to do it.

Blessed be the name of The LORD. 
My heart will chose to say, LORD, blessed be Your name.

Praying that God would comfort and strengthen a family of friends, as they mourn the loss of their mother, aunt, wife, and sister.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

It’s a simple Sunday school answer.

So when I was younger, like pre-teen, I had some questions for my Sunday school teachers. One of my questions was 'how many hours were in one day, during the age when God created the world?' My limited comprehension was that “yeah, I believe He created this and that in one day, but how long was one day back then? Was it 24 hours?

My “aunty’s” would proffer a typical Sunday school answer and I was never really satisfied with these answers. Frankly, the Sunday School answer was too simple for me, at the time. But it was in my best interest to let the question go, for the time being, in that setting; the setting being a predominantly Nigerian church.

In a predominantly Nigerian church, the culture is in full effect! Here’s the quick formula for addressing elderly people in my culture:
  • Aunty = any woman who is about 7 or more years > greater than you.
  • Mummy = any woman who is ~ near your mom’s age. Yup they are also referred to as mummy. You can have so many mummy's, it's fantastic. They can beat discipline you too.
  • Big Mummy = any woman that’s somewhere in between your mom’s and grandma’s age
  • Mama = any woman who has grandma status.

Anyways, I recently revisited that question and I found the answer to be so simple. Christina, for the simple fact that you know He has the power to create the whole world, trust that it does not matter whether there were 24 hours in a day or 24 seconds. God was still going to do what He did.

When I begin to think about how every aspect of God is infinite, I have something like a brain overload. They say the more you know, the more you don’t know. I guess that’s why many of the characteristics of many atheists I’ve met are philosophical, book worms, or science nerds (nerd in a good way, but ultimately to their detriment).

He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. Job 5:13

As I learn more about these detailed events that took place in the Old Testament, I attempt to process the various wars, and differences in the kings that reigned. And then I think of how complex each of us are and His omnipresence in all of our lives.

Naturally, now I have more questions, and I would like to think that a satisfying answer would require much more thought and analysis than a simple Sunday School answer. This would help when I speak to atheists. I assume it would be easier to explain and contend for the faith with an understanding of every detail and anticipate their qualms.

Currently, as in at this very moment, and the past couple of hours, I've been wondering how and why. I feel like a Mary and Martha mix right now. I just want to find the answers to my questions, be it on my own research, someone else’s research via a online sermon or blog, or inquiring of my friends, but I have other things that need to get done too. I want to sit as His feet like Mary, but get to work in the kitchen, symbolically meaning my exams, like Martha, and the 11th hour is upon us ~ final examinations!

The instinctive route would be to inquire of various key people in my life; bible scholars, pastors and friends, that are likely to give me a satisfying and microwaved answer.

And although I think many of these questions will be great for fellowship discussion, I have to make sure that I don’t lose the forest for the trees. My civil procedure professor told me this, during office hours, when I was getting to analytical on the little details. The big picture of the forest is that God was and is in control of all of this!
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
Still in all our understanding, who can really grasp this: His Infinite wisdom? I can’t. I can’t even focus.

It’s a simple Sunday school answer; we can’t. [full stop]

Friday, November 26, 2010

Are we reading the same book, what page are you on? . . . oh.

Men and women view relationships differently (to a certain extent). . . {Well duh} <--- stating the obvious – but is it so obvious?

I remember this saying I once heard: "a woman enters a relationship wanting to get married, while a man wants to get married and then decides to find a wife." If that statement holds true, then there is a greater likelihood that any two given people, in their early to mid-twenties, starting a relationship, will be on a different page, when it comes to the purpose and ultimate goal (or lack thereof) of the relationship.

I met up with a friend from undergrad, earlier this month, and it was interesting to see (or hear) this in action . . .

So he says he is ready for a girlfriend now. He focused on med-school, the first three years, hardcore, and now he felt ready to take on the added responsibility of a girlfriend. I admit, I was a little impressed and somewhat surprised at his timing, since he is my age (mid-twenties) and Nigerian. Usually, it seems as though the men are not on that marriage page until their later twenties -- not a blanket statement, as rules always come with exceptions -- but just what I've noticed. So the conversation thickens, and I inquire about his intentions regarding this to-be-determined girlfriend.

His views: One step at a time...

Girlfriend . . . that was it, he just wanted a girlfriend now, but he was not ready to get married. I soon found out he was not necessarily on the marriage page, just the relationship page. They ought to be two separate pages to be read one at a time. He did not really desire for the girlfriend to be his wife at this point in time. It seemed like if it (marriage) happened (seemingly, way down the line) it would happen, but he was not thinking along those lines right now. He just planned to take one day at a time and not jump the gun.

Then he asked me what was my story. “So Alabi, are you married now or what?” This was obviously a halfway comedic statement but an introduction to see my current views on relationships.

My views: Don't step unless it's right...

I don’t want to date. I would like to just court. Although, it seems logical and reasonable to have something in between friendship and courting. Likewise, it seems illogical, somewhat drastic and maybe even unreasonable, to enter a relationship and just know that they are the “one.” I know it may not make absolute sense, but it doesn’t really have to; it's not a science or formula, but art and analysis. But with that said, I will say, I have been considered something like a cupid, and my success rate is continuously improving ;-) but I wouldn’t say I’m a relationship guru, just yet.

This topic came up in a conversation with another friend, I nicknamed “Roger,” who was also confused at my "math" lol. Here is the gist of the conversation.  I just assumed he was ready to “wife-up” his long-term girlfriend. But he also let me know, that’s not the way men think.
Roger: so you don’t date, you just look forward to courting? I think I'm getting it all wrong.
me: LMBO, whoa whoa whoa Roger, nah dude not that I don’t. I have guy friends, but I mean idk, not gonna just date anyone.
Roger: lol, I don’t even know what that would mean.
me: so yeah they try to holla you know
Roger: umm…I think I do
me: but if I’m not feeling them, why bother!
Roger: okay so...they try to holla, but you don’t give them the time of the day because you're not feeling them? or ‘cause you're not supposed to date but just court?
me: the first mixed with the second. I’m not gonna date them if I don’t like them, so it goes with the second too. Like, I definitely wouldn’t court them. I prefer to get to know the person really well, as good friends, before I even think about dating them, otherwise 'friends' is good enough for me.
Roger: if you like him, then get to know him, you would date him? ‘cause it sounds a little crazy to jump from like and know him to courting him, that’s a long jump...most dudes wouldn't ride like that.
me: oh sure sure, mos def
Roger: most def what?
me: yeah like I would get to know him first! then learn that I like him. then! start dating but it’d be like ok I could be with this person long term, otherwise it’s like what’s the point if I couldn’t?
Roger: lol right but that’s something that nobody really knows. Everybody would like to get it right the first time...well maybe not everybody.
me: mmmmm
Roger: but nobody truly knows, right?
me: yeah but if I know it’s not! then no way, like I need to get out of it fast, but learning from my last, I shouldn’t even get in it!
Roger: Okay wait a minute...there's no way you could have known not to get into a relationship like your last in the first place right? You obviously like whoever it was when you first met them. My point is only God knows stuff like that, so you can't say "I shouldn’t get into it in the first place"

By the way, this conversation with Roger was over a year ago, and partly comedic. But, hopefully this excerpt helps to break down my logic and highlight a man’s thought process. I still stand by my views, but even then it's important to understand that “only God knows stuff like that.” So until then (and after!) – we just pray. Thanks for the insight Roger and undergrad friend.

So ladies, (well men too...=)...) there's only one statement that comes to mind, which sums it all up:
Stay on guard, and be prayerful.” – Bade D.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

City Girl Swag

"Welcome to New York City, the new Windy City," says the flight attendant. The plane ride was exceptionally bumpy because of the wind. We had to fly over Connecticut because of the winds. On the way to the hotel, I see a group of black, white and Puerto-Rican school girls walking carefree in a group, fighting the wind. I like the view.

Bell Man: Where are you from?
Me: Chicago.
BM: Oh Chicago, I lived in Naperville. I've lived everywhere!
Me: So where do you like the best?
BM: oh New York, definitely! What do you like to do for fun?
Me: Dance.
BM: Are you kidding me? Everything is here. Dance, shows, the arts, everything. You'll love it!
Me: *Smile*

That's nice. As soon as I get upstairs to my room, I look outside the window and see a dance studio! I didn't even unpack or anything. I just stared out the window for a few good minutes sitting on the window ledge, taking pictures with my phone, appreciating the beauty of the Big Apple. I like the view.

I see an older male figure walking a younger female home from school. It looks like a uncle-niece relationship but it could be young looking father- daughter or half-brother half-sister relationship. The little girl was so cute, she had a lot of untamed sandy brown hair blowing in the wind, with cotton lace up knee boots. She had a Willow Smith look to her. New Yorkers have a different style, a different swag. I like it.

I walk down the block to grab some Chipotle. My new friend got excited for this bakery we passed on the way to the hotel, I was content when I saw the Chipotle. I decide to dine-in to city and people watch while I eat, why not? I see two sisters, they look like identical twins but their personalities based on their attire are fraternal. One is a tomboy, with baggy yet girly pants and sneakers. The other is a girly girl, with a skirt, winter tights and ugg boots. Both sisters have their hair pulled back in a bun.

I start walking back and notice my pace is a half-step slower than most New Yorkers. I'm a city girl, but I look like a tourist. It's definitely a faster-paced city. I could pick up the pace, but I'm in awe of the views. I like the view. Sometimes, it's good to just slow down and take in the view.

I decide to cross the street to see if I can get into the dance studio. I got in! I had to talk my way upstairs and wait for a couple of locked doors to open but after explaining my interest to one of the directors, I get escorted into the studio through the back. There are so many people here in different dance attire; sweat pants, over-sized and cut-up shirts, and tights with funky sneakers. I need a pair of funky sneakers. They're either waiting for their class to begin or they're in a class. They're not dancing for a show, just because they love to dance. I would totally do that! I get carried away watching Studio 5, the hip hop studio, and the time flies. Unfortunately, it's time for me to leave the studio. By now the sun has set and the streets are fully lit.

Next stop Times Square. The city never sleeps. The lights are bright and beautiful, everywhere. The trash bags come out onto the sidewalks at night and I even like that, adds to the culture of the city. I meet up with a friend from undergrad and continue my quick sightseeing. Being a tourist is so liberating. It feels so free. And it's always good to catch up with old friends. We walk around for a minute to find some place to eat. As we walk (fast) I see the British-style architecture and layout of the neighborhoods. (I've heard this comparison before, but I've never actually been to the UK to see it with my own eyes yet, so I guess that's hearsay). The four story buildings on the side streets look just like the backdrops on Crooklyn. We find a Thai place, on accident, no less. I took a risk with my order and it was pretty good, very satisfying, so I'll be back.

All in all, it was a good yet short-lived trip with nice weather for walking. I couldn't imagine driving in that city though or at least that area of the city. I took a few pictures which you can see on the right pane.

Thank God for the little adventures He brings our way. Another chance to see the beautiful work of His hand. So much more to see though. I hope to return soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Change is necessary

One of my high school track coaches wrote on my facebook status and said “I see you made a few changes to yourself.” {The comment's connection to my actual status is not readily apparent to me, just yet, but hey, he's old[er] and relatively new to facebook :-) }

My mental response: umm. GREAT! Praise God then.

One of the worst things we can tell someone is "Don’t Change . . ." {a common high school yearbook comment - at least it was back then}

"Change is necessary, growth is optional." -Julie W.

I'd like to believe I'm doing both and it's a process. I'm a work in progress.

Wouldn’t that be a shame if I was the same person I was when I graduated high school at 17? Thank God I’m not the same person today, that I was in 2003, or even yesterday for that matter. 

"I want to be able to look back every 2 years and not recognize who I used to be." #change #transformation -Kimberly S.

I hope tomorrow, I will not be the same person that I am today. Many more changes to come :-) Progress.
"I jokes, no stress, love, live life, proceed, progress." -Julie W.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Are these the days of Elijah?

People have been saying we are in the end times for quite some time it seems. So, as another year comes to an end, and we anticipate the next one, I see how people could receive the end times message with a grain of salt. 

For many people who have the privilege of internet access and accordingly this blog, our proximate surroundings do not resemble what has been prophesied as the "end times." {Or do they . . .} Generally speaking, we're hopeful and optimistic that the economy will eventually pick up and unemployment will fall. Likewise, people will naturally hold some skepticism of an end times message and continue making long-term 401k-type plans.
Fatherlessness is the great crisis of the last generation. The greatest crisis that our nation will face is Fatherlessness.Derek Loux 
This morning, I came across a video, recorded in 2007, and posted below, where Derek Loux is preaching in South Korea on Fatherlessness. (Fatherlessness meaning the fathers heart is turned away from his child.) He believes we are living in a Fatherless generation and says we need to rise up and be spiritual moms and dads. 
See I will send you the prophet of Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. Malachi 4:6
Well . . .
  • As of 2007, an estimated 163 million children in the world were orphaned. These children have lost one or two parents to any cause. 
  • As of 2009, an estimated 18.52 million children have no parental care at all.
  • In America, 40% of children grow up in a home without their father present at all.
The facts and his personal story held my attention and I was drawn to his adoption revolution. A quick online search further revealed that he is the father of 10 beautiful children, eight of which are adopted. His family also has a Josiah Fund for their son that went to be with the Lord in 1996. Last December, after a tragic car accident, Derek also went to be with the Lord.

It could seem ironic that as a father revolutionizing the adoption movement, his 10 children would also become physically fatherless. But I don't believe in coincidences. I believe in revelation.

So, I can’t help but to think that these really are the days of Elijah's return. Are The People watching well? Still processing that  . . . 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Unashamed 1 1 6

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Romans 1:16

I went to the 116 Unashamed concert yesterday night in Chicago at the Moody Bible Institute (my grandma’s alma mater heeyy).

To sum up the concert --> Off. The. Chain.

The group I went with (African Christian Fellowship, Verbill Punishment COL, Spoken Life Project and friends) had front row seats after waiting in line for hours. And I happily joined them during their last hour of waiting. :-) It was worth it! Shout out to Jerry and Preston for getting the tickets before the show sold out in October!

While we were waiting in line and we had a couple Christ cyphas and made some new friends “Give the Lord Praise, Give the Lord Praise Hey!”

The doors finally opened and people rushed the auditorium. An auditorium full of believers of every race Romans 1:16’in it. The attendees were so diverse, but we were color blind. It was also a mini reunion, you just run into different people you grew up with, or went to school with.

And just as we were about to get the program started, Satan busted the generator! The devil is such a liar. {but why?} Can we just pray for him? I’ve seriously been thinking about that; that would solve everything. Anyways, everyone stopped taking pictures, catching up, etc. and just started praying. In 10-15 minutes God handled that little issue and we were ready to get the party started.

And it begins; there we were front and center, in spitting distance. Everyone [EVERYONE!] was so on fire. All the ministers (Pro, Tedashi, Sho Baraka, Trip Lee, Lecrae, DJ Official, the drummer, the spoken word artist/missionary - Nehemiah?) had great energy and stage presence. We were on our feet from beginning to end, dancing, and singing, praising and worshiping, with our pride on low and our faith on HIGH, L’s in the sky, listening to this Jesus Muzik! If only church could be like that everyday! I can’t even imagine what heaven will be like. I have never had that much fun at a concert. This definitely tops the list of events I’ve been to in life. That’s because it was not just a gathering of people having a good time. It had a message.

We have to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in us. The moment we received our salvation, we joined the winning camp. However, Satan was crouching at our door, at that very instant, no one is exempt. But we must rule over it. Nevertheless, we’re all missionaries, we need to not be ashamed of the gospel when we’re out in the world! Unashamed!
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Timothy 1:6
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it! Genesis 4:7

This one goes down in the books. I’m so on high, {Faith High} I can’t wait for the next opportunity to do that at onething next month.

One thing I really appreciated is that the ministers made sure to make known that this singing, dancing, praising, worshiping was not about them. “I always pray that Lord, You would John 3:30 your boy!” – Lecrae. That He may increase and I may decrease. {Listen to the Background song below}

Some of my 3 snaps moments:
  • They’re trying to save whales and kill babies. {come on!}
  • Even on our best day we are still filthy rags.{whoa! So true. chew on that.}
  • When I get backstage, I’m a drink a COLD bottle of water, when I get home, I’m a take a HOT shower. No one wants lukewarm water. (Revelation 3:16 - or you will get Spit out!!) {THIS!}
  • We’re all missionaries, we don’t necessarily need to go overseas. We need the missional mindset everyday. {<-----Say that!!}
  • [lights off, total silence] If we didn’t get the generator fixed, this room would have been like this. . . You know what, the world outside of this auditorium is dark like this. {wooo message!}

As much as I loved that utopia feeling: being around hundreds of believers just praising the Lord in a beautiful world that the Lord intended, The world is dark and ugly.

What are we doing about it?

As children of the light, we need to infect and brighten this dark world daily. Talk is cheap. Yet, talk without actions will be very expensive. Because everyone owes a huge debt to our Maker! Some of us have realized that it’s been paid off. {count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11 - so go ahead an bury me!!} Yet many people don't understand that yet. If we’re just talking about it amongst ourselves and not getting other people to sign up then their blood is on our hands.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood. Ezekiel 33:6
  • I wonder how many of my facebook-friends are not Christian. 
  • I wonder how many of my friend-friends are not Christian. 
  • I wonder how many people I know and see on a daily basis, do not have Heaven as their intended final destination right now. 
  • I wonder if more people will be in heaven or in hell and what are we doing about that ratio. 
  • More importantly, where do we fit in the equation? 
Time to stop wondering!

America, Chicago, our neighborhoods are overdue for a revival! I pray that every Christian, myself included, will fearlessly profess His name everywhere we go.
Pray  . . . that whenever [we] speak, words may be given [to us] so that [we] will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19
Another shout out to Moody Bible Institute and Ashanti Pettaway & team for putting this event together.

Okay I’m still so on fire from the whole weekend! I’m so glad I decided to be spontaneous and take that half-day trip up to Chicago for it. Cheers to many more times like this! *cheers*

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I remember when we were young and color blind

I remember when . . .
When we were young and color blind.
When we had no sense of time.
Spelling and Math homework was our only concept of responsibility.

I always knew I was a Nigerian.
No one had to tell me, I could just figure it out.
Made my first trip to the Motherland when I was five.
And this was increasingly evident when my mom dressed me in a purple tie-dye Ankara on Halloween.

Little brown girl, with the best of both worlds.
Leggos and jump ropes, Fresh Bread, Semo and Soup (Stew).
Just the same, no one had to tell me I was black.
I was black and so were several people in my neighborhood (Uptown) and in my church (Faith Tabernacle).
I was black and so were a few people in my grammar school and on my bus route, my bus driver was black too.

Ms. Meister was my first grade teacher and she was my favorite teacher at the time.
My classmates and I looked forward to reading time at the end of the day.
We would form on the carpet, one after the other, once we finished our class work.
Ms. Meister read us several novels: The Boxcar Children, Stuart Little and the like.
Then she began reading Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

I remember when
She came to the part just before Ms. Tubman was struck with an iron.
Some time prior to that, I involuntarily curled up in a praying position, on the carpet.
I was so fearful of what was to come.

Suddenly, Ms. Meister stopped reading
Christina? [pause]
I just looked up; surprised that I even ended up in that position.
Are you okay?
I felt 60-something 6-year-old eyes staring at me awaiting my response.
With a shocked yet embarrassed look on my face, nervously I nodded in the affirmative.
Then I fixed my posture and she continued reading.
And we continued listening not only with our ears and imaginations but with our eyes.

Then I started to understand what it meant to be black.
In a classroom where the African Americans could be counted on one hand,
it became very apparent, not only to me, but also to everyone else, that I was black.
We were still young but no longer color blind . . .

Monday, November 1, 2010

Church in the state

So I’m working up the courage to just invite people openly to church events without thinking about the political correctness.

This morning in class . . .

Thoughts: hmm I wonder what some of these valley girls are going to think? Would I get a “how dare this law grad try to invite us to something about church here, doesn’t she know better?” Followed by all this unwarranted {in my objective opinion} offense for the rest of the year.


Me: Professor A., are we allowed to announce campus events? {I mean they announce all types of events in class, some of which could be offensive to me, why not? it's only fair, equal opportunity.}
Professor: Sure. What is it, just so I know and I’m not caught off guard?
Me: It’s called All Campus Worship
Professor: Oh. It’s religious *hand toss* well maybe we can just save that, but you’re more than welcome to announce it after class.

Thoughts: Oh of course, when everyone is packing up to go as quickly as they can after sitting here for three hours…. O____O ok...."a time and a place for everything huh?..."

Lesson 1: There are going to be people that will say no, but that doesn’t change my role. Moreover, there are going to be people that say yes, {Praise Jesus!} and that still does not change my role [here].

A few weeks ago, I went to an intercession meeting where a woman prayed about the upcoming elections. One of her points asked [in summation] for the Lord to completely occupy all government positions with pro-life Christians [sounds like an oxy-moron, but that's a different post], among other related topics and issues. My legal training made me question if that’s even constitutionally possible and just possible right now . . .

For example, on the issue of abortion:
  1. Do people know enough about where the candidate stands on abortion or are the majority of voters casting party-line votes?
  2. Would everyone who is pro-life vote for that candidate based on that one issue?
  3. Would the pro-life votes be enough to place someone in office? Are there enough people that care?
  4. Prior to that, and more importantly, would a pro-life candidate add their pro-life beliefs to their campaign without fear of losing their pro-choice constituents?
[it is possible by the way]

Then I thought . . .
  1. Is everyone tip-toeing around trying not to offend “somebody?” I mean I know there are a lot more Christians on this campus, in this program, in this class right now. . . I hope . . .
  2. Are we just trying to be politically correct?! {but why?} 
What am I doing, what am I waiting for?

Political correctness – I’m done with that! It's so incorrect. Separating the church from the state, for Christians should be a {pound, capital fail}.  ---> #FAIL
"No church in this world should ever be satisfied with the separation of church and state!"  -David Sliker.
My beliefs come before my profession because my beliefs came before my profession.  It is only because of my beliefs that I am here.  Moreover, the fruition of my ultimate beliefs will be here way after my profession is all said and done.

If you’re faithful with a little you’ll be faithful with a lot. He has placed us in these various spheres of influence for one main reason. If I'm not doing that, then what am I doing?? {being politically correct? - is that what that is? sounds like something else . . . } Furthermore, how am I going to go from not openly witnessing at school {my current level of influence} to witnessing at the next perfect position He will bless me with? {a possibly greater sphere of influence, with likely more at stake}. Salt serves no purpose in the shaker.

"Save that" <--- Respectfully, I dissent. ;-)

I'm voting church in the state and church in the schools! --> church everywhere because church is everywhere {it should be} since we are the church. >>  *CHURCH!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm going home.

There are certain places you go and you just have peace. One is home. One is at God’s house.

There are certain places you go and you can just laugh. One is home. One is at God’s house.

There are certain places you go and you can cry. One is home. One is at God’s house.

There are certain places you go and you just get excited. One is home. One is at God’s house.

There are certain places you go and you can just be free. One is home. One is at God’s house.

Home is where the heart is. 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and follow it! 

I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” 
Psalm 122:1

Thursday, October 21, 2010


It’s like a deck of cards. God is the dealer. The cards weren’t shuffled though.  So we each get a hand, a different hand. Some have Kings and Queens, some have Jokers, and some have other variations in between.

He picked each card specifically for you and He will see you through to the very end!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why? Why Not!

so earlier today an exchange in my Workplace Dispute Resolution class went like this:
Professor: Why? [to student who answers affirmatively and so confidently]

Student: Why not?
O_O . . . What a cop out answer I thought.  I mean we are in school to learn, obviously the Professor is trying to get at a point. (so sad that the words "well" and "obviously" still remind me of the bed intruder interview, with the neck roll anywho) Needless to say, I wasn't too fond of the answer in the classroom setting, at the time. However, "Why Not?" summarized my portion of an unexpected but welcomed conversation I had right before that class with a new fried.

So first, God will send people to you. We just have to be ready. I met my friend earlier in the semester, she just came up to me, politely bold, right after class one day. Apparently she thought I took good notes -- which I guess I do (could), but when people are relying on your notes you tend to "multi-task" less, so in turn that's helping me to excel in this class.

A little backdrop and setting: On Mondays, I usually have a 3 hour gap in my day and have to decide where is the most efficient and effective place to relocate to; my two Monday classes are in the same room. Just as I was thinking to myself where should I go that has a clean microwave, for my lunch, (I very much dislike -Naija grammar, a dirty microwave - gross) I heard the good news: the class that is usually in that classroom during my break was canceled today.  So I decided to stay there and just as the last student trickled out, I began to play my music with no headphones (freedom!). After about 2.5 hours in solitude, in walks my new friend, arriving early for our WDR class. We made our small talk and greetings and eventually she comments on the music I was watching/listening to "that's beautiful" she says (it really is, Jon Thurlow is anointed! -check up on him) and we went from there . . . 

Second, God will give you the right words to say and the right time to say them. We just have to be prepared, to an extent.

In the beginning, God created = my faith. (that's all I really need, but there's more)

Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. (there's still more)

He authored the script to every single day of my life before my life was even alive. (it just goes on and on and on)

Love God Why? Why Not?!  . . .  Let me tell you about what He's done and what He does . . . (It's all about Him!) so Why Not?

Basically, that  ^^ came out in our discussion, (and the Jesus part; the kicker) which were some things I was thinking about recently in relation to atheists and near-future plans (it's related somehow, I'll connect it back in another post). My (Chicago) church's theme is currently focused on evangelizing. Mainly, someone cared enough to share the gospel with me, and just the same, someone(s) need me to share the good news with them. Why not?

This was probably one of the easiest opportunities to openly witness and it was so unforced and accepted. She just kept hitting me with another innocent knowledge-seeking question. What if I turned off the music as soon as she entered? (because I really almost did, but it wasn't loud so I left it playing) What if I decided to plug in my headphones to tune the people out that would soon trickle in for class? (these what ifs were very much a possibility especially when you've been caught near a conversation you could have done without overhearing, about so and so's weekend activities and randomness o_0)

What a missed opportunity that would've been, I've already missed some and I don't want to miss anymore. Now I just have to bring her to a church with me and/or find a Chinese church to take her to before I leave Champaign in 8 weeks! Time is flying . . .

God is good so Why not?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

what does love look like?

is the question I've been pondering . . .

I started a tumblr. (iLike it - like 11 posts in 24 hours type like)

So, I'm learning what Love is (what it really is) and my tumblr basically highlights what I'm learning - honestly.

Arms Wide Open.
The Cross.
John 15:13.

But this song is the bomb dot com, so I shared it here too; listen to every word.

By the way, she will be one of the ministers at the OneThing conference in December. If you want to go (from the Chicago area) let me know, we've got a group so far. Kansas City or bust! *clicks red heels*

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Road map

"Until the Bible begins to talk to us, we really have not been reading it." AW Tozer

2010 has been and still is the year of enlargement and because of that my life will never be the same. I'm compiling all the various ways of change and enlargement and it's becoming very lengthy. I will still try to summarize  everything for a post towards the end of year. With this testament, I know 2011 is going to be very radical!

So, I’m drafting my road map and it’s becoming more and more concrete and likely. As I draft a road map of plans and visions, this verse suddenly comes hard on my heart:
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21.
This verse leads me to:
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9.
This verse leads me to:
A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way. Proverbs 20:20.
This verse leads me to:
If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm. Psalms 37:23.
Somehow I’m guided to Jeremiahs Prayer:
I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps . . . Jeremiah 10:23-25.
And then I see:
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. Isaiah 46:10.
 . . . which ties back to the first verse: Proverbs 19:21 and all the other messages I've been getting this week from various mediums.

Message? = Message!

The combined messages I received this week, in summation, tell me that when you know, believe and trust that your life is not your own but God’s, you have that peace that passes all understanding because you know everything will be done according to His will and for His purposes in His perfect time, as long as you're continuously (not just continually) abiding in Him.

How is that for a road map? 

“My life will not be used for trial an error!" 
–gotta love a Nigerian woman’s prayer.

~Happy Birthday mom, Happy Independence Nigeria.~

Saturday, September 11, 2010

cherish the earthly relationships, on earth

I don't believe in living each day like it's your last . . .

I heard a Pastor say this week that marriage does not exist in Heaven. It is a question I had, which he confirmed, since my stepfather remarried my mother after my older siblings' mother passed, many years ago. My stepfather has also gone home to be with the Lord (Rest in Perfect Peace). Yet, I vividly remember the words my mother said to him with the casket open and how the Pastor responded to her. I could not help but wonder privately, who would he be married to in Heaven? And how does marriage in Heaven work for the polygamous homes, which were still popular in Nigeria as recent as two generations ago – my grandparent’s generation.

Thoughts of people that have recently passed and celebrating the anniversary of my esteemed relative’s home going (Dr. Femi Ogunnaike), as is the cultural tradition, caused other thoughts to resurface. When we attend funerals, usually as Christians, we comfort ourselves with the assurance that we will see them again. My initial reaction to the Pastor's affirmation, that the marriage relationship did not exist in Heaven, was something like "oh" *eyebrows raised* and "aww." The reassurance we hold onto likely encompasses the hope that we will see that person" again assumedly in the same earthly relationship. However, if the marriage relationship does not exist in heaven, neither will all other earthly relationships that we value. This makes me realize this one chance on earth is really the only time to cherish that form of the relationship.

Along those lines, I usually hear so many of my peers say “live each day like it's your last,” when they learn of someone’s passing. Many people probably said this same statement 9 years ago too, wherever we were, when we processed the World Trade Center’s terrorist attack.

Respectfully, I disagree wholeheartedly with the “live each day like your last” motto. I know I haven’t put much thought into my last day and how I want to spend it and I do not think I ever will. I would venture to say that many people who say that have not put much thought into it either. We generally work with the end in sight, but this is an expected end (for some - since not all will sleep) that we naturally and consciously suppress. Moreover, the average life expectancy in the United States is currently at about 78 years. Adhering to that motto essentially means we would spend, on average, a very substantial portion of our lifetime on earth, living in fear of life and death.

I do believe in living each day progressively and with purpose. The more correct statement or motto to me falls somewhere along the lines of “live each day cherishing all the time spent with people, family and friends with no doubt in your mind that if it were your last day once you've arrived at the gates of Heaven, God would say “my good and faithful servant you’ve done well.””

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Part 2: The Discussion re: Bizzle Track

The following post is collection of responses to the listening? blog posted last week regarding the track by Bizzle using the Ether instrumental referencing rap artists Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nas.

General Thoughts:

This is really good. I’ve watched a couple of videos about the whole free mason thing -Ademide W.

I like the track, its got a lot of things I can agree with. –Andrew P.

I thought the flow was nice. -Akua A.

Dang, that was hot, especially after the beat went off. A lot of the stuff he said I know about and have been studying it too. That free mason stuff is crazy and very deep. I would encourage you to read about it but read with caution. There's a lot of crazy stuff out there like the free masons, five percenters etc. –Jerry B.

This is one of those in person conversations but the one main thought that keeps resonating is knowledge is a very powerful thing. This guy might be trying to do the right thing by putting out this video and song. At the same time, a person can be opened up to a side that they never knew existed and now they begin to dig and start going to the "other" side. There is just sooo much that goes into all this. You have to be careful who you give knowledge to because with knowledge comes power and with power comes responsibility. Sometimes I feel like it is better not to know because the other side doesn't gain an advantage either....... (I have so many more thoughts)... –Segun O.

Listened to the track. I see where Bizzle's head is, and it’s a good place. No questions asked. -Eugene U.

As for Bizzle, I don't know what to say about him. It bothers me that he used the word, nigga. I mean, if you wouldn't use the word in church then why use it in a song and say its gospel or Christian rap? And when I think of Christian music, I think of music that glorifies God and praises and worships God. This song does not do this in my opinion. I don't think I would listen to it, but that's just me. –Kimberly G.

Bizzle perfect track to go in on someone lol loved it! –Adebunmi A.

Man this video and flow is insane! All those hidden messages that people wouldn’t even know... this dude is sic (in a good way) and deep. -Daniel O.

Inspiring...I'm all for anything that reveals what is true. -Tolu A.

This video/song came at the right time since I’m currently looking into all kinds of secular music even the so-called “fun music” (– Yinka S.) and “positive music.” I recently had the conviction to eliminate secular tunes altogether from my music selection despite the artists’ musical ingenious or the attractiveness of the beats etc. Prior to this, I had the mistaken overconfidence that I could selectively choose which songs I would allow to influence me. However, my views are changing after researching further and it’s an interesting process . . . more on that in a subsequent post. Basically, the song highlighted the main reason that triggered my decision to eliminate secular music. –Christina A.

Question 1: How do you feel about changing the words to a secular song and attempting to make it a gospel song? 

The Debate: 
Reclaiming for the Kingdom vs. Mixing Kingdom Business with the World

I don't agree with that, because it wouldn't make sense to do so. It’s a waste of energy and time. –Andrew P.

I don't think the categories of gospel vs. secular matter as opposed to the substance of the material. He could have rapped over any track, but the real question is what is he saying, what is his motivation, and is it glorifying God. I’m all for a God over money movement -Akua A.

I don't see anything wrong with changing the lyrics of the secular song to make it gospel. The only thing that’s really the same is the beat. For this case, I would think he chose the Ether beat because of the beef it symbolizes (JayZ vs Nas). And since he was beefing with those who were against God, it makes sense for him to choose this beat. As an artist, sometimes you chose a hot secular beat to rap over because the beat alone can get people’s attention, then once you get their attention you spit your fire and you got ‘em. –Jerry B.

I personally do not have a problem with secular music influencing gospel. I think it a way to get people to listen as long as there is a clear distinction. -Segun O.

I don't feel like believers need to be changing the lyrics of a secular song to send a message. What believers need to do is just ask for anointing to be creative and leave secular methods of propagating a message alone. –Eugene U.

I am not comfortable with changing the words of a secular song in order to try and make it a gospel song simply because the spirit that was used to create the beats and rhythms for the secular music is still going to be attached to that music even if you change the words. If the people who made the secular music were influenced by demonic forces in creating that music, then those forces are still attached to those beats. Plus God is a creative God. He created the world from nothing by the power of His words. If He is creative and we are made in His image, then we too can be creative and create new music for the Lord. Also, Scripture says "Sing unto the Lord a new song." –Kimberly G.

I actually like the idea of changing secular songs .I feel like we are taking back the songs that were supposed to be meant for glorifying the Lord anyway. On top of that, it helps bridge the gap with non believers and shows them that you can make nice tracks and praise Him at the same time. –Adebunmi A.

There is the debate between taking things back for the Kingdom and not mixing with the world. For the simple fact that there is a debate amongst Christians, it leads me to believe that people who are not Christians may not be able to readily distinguish and differentiate between the Kingdom song and the world song. The worldly or secular song came out first and so that is the version that naturally preempts the subsequent remixed versions. While listening to the remixed version, you will have no choice but to be reminded of the original version and its meaning and influences. –Christina A.

We have the Creator of ALL THINGS living inside of us as Christians. Why jack someone else's music when ours can come from the Originator. With that said...if you feel led to do it...let everything you do glorify God. He sees the heart and that's what really matters. As a musician, I wouldn’t do it though. -Tolu A.

Question 2: How do you feel about a gospel song/dance over a secular instrumental?

This I think is fine because I've done it before, from an artist point of view it keeps you sharp. It allows for you to try something new. I like rapping over secular beats because the beats themselves are great. –Andrew P.

Same way I feel about question 1. Be creative, stay in the light. –Eugene U.

If a gospel dance/song is over a secular instrumental, I am not down with that either for pretty much the same reasons as the first answer. –Kimberly G.

For songs it’s ok because you can communicate the change through the words. For dance it would have to be circumstantial. For instance, doing a praise dance to "All I do is Win" by DJ Khaled would be hard to get your point across but if you did a praise dance to Corinne Bailey Rae – “Like A Star” it would be acceptable. –Adebunmi A.

Our youth group dance ministry used to mix secular instrumentals with gospel songs. Thinking further, as far as the dance ministration over a secular instrumental goes, just because the words are absent does not mean the person you are attempting to minister to does not know the words and meaning of the original song. However, I see how an argument can be made for the gospel singer or rapper ministering (supra Andrew P. and Jehovah-vs-jay-hova blogpost by DTPro of Verbill Punishment). –Christina A.

There's more to music than the beats. I know of many musicians both popular and not who get their inspiration for music from many places other than the Holy Spirit. Some are even demonically influenced because of what they choose to practice. Some are on drugs when they make their music. In the book of Daniel (3:5), King Nebu (for short :P) declares, “that at the time you hear…all kinds of music you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the fiery furnace.”

He understood something that most don't. The power of music. Why didn't he just say, "when I give the word" OR "when I send my messenger to your town"? He understood the universality of music and how it can evoke this case demonic emotions influenced by music to worship idols. (I've done a study on this and will post it on my blog soon -Tolu A.

Questions 3: How do you feel about an apparently gospel-influenced song by a mainstream secular artist?

Just because you are a secular artist does not mean they may not have a walk with God. It may be a very weak and childish walk but that relationship may manifest in the music from time to time. My take is that just because you make one Christian or gospel influenced song does not mean you’re excused from all the other nonsense you put out. Everyone is accountable for what they do, secular and non-secular alike. So in the end, if the song is a genuine song (which you can tell off bat), then cool, but I'm still holding you to the other stuff you do. -Andrew P.

What business hath light with darkness? A gospel-influenced song by a mainstream secular artist is but for business purposes. I'm all for entrepreneurial advancements but this very mix (gospel song-secular artist) right here, is a no no. -Eugene U.

I have no problem with that. Maybe that was a seed manifesting itself in that artist. Look at so many inspirational and gospel songs done by secular artist. If you remove the person and just listen to the song, don't you still end up praising Him? -Adebunmi A.

I do not listen to gospel influenced music by secular artists or gospel music where the gospel artists collaborate with secular artists. That is mainly because, as Christian's we are called to be in the world and not of the world. We are also called to live holy, or set apart for God. If a secular artist makes a gospel song, it is a confusing display for non-believers and believers alike and mixes the church with world when the church is called to be separate and holy. Plus, I'm not convinced that these secular artists are truly Christians. For example, Michelle from Destiny's Child made a gospel album, but then she was on the BET Awards after that giving a lap dance to Magic Johnson. That is not of Christ. And as for gospel artists, I do not listen to gospel artists who collaborate with secular artists or use secular producers and the like. I just think God deserves better than some stuff that has be mixed and tainted with people living lives that are anti-Christ, or against Jesus, and the spirits that are attached to that. And I don't need that in my spirit. –Kimberly G.

This doesn’t sit well with me since I’ve heard that one song, added to the end of the album, that’s usually not comparable in length and substance to the other songs. Meanwhile, the other songs on the album or from the artist completely contradict the content of this last apparently gospel-influenced track. Absent a judgmental spirit, this still has the tendency to produce confusion within any objective listener regardless of their religious conviction or lack thereof. However, if the target audience is the unsaved person, then it seems logical to use a person that an unsaved person would be listening to. –Christina A.

Quite frankly, God can use anyone to influence anyone. Many instances in the Bible where non believers have provoked, challenged or were used by God to change or influence believers. However, our source for any inspiration should be the Holy Spirit. It's just that sometimes the Holy Spirit uses people...both saved and unsaved. -Tolu A.

Thanks to Ademide, Jerry, Andrew, Akua, Segun, Eugene, Kim, Adebunmi, Daniel, and Tolu for their input.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I sent the message below and posed three discussion questions. The responses I've received are varied (almost as varied as the responses on worldstarhiphop). I'm gathering the responses and will share the viewpoints and include my response to the questions soon.

Subject: apathetic to the Jay-Z debate? . . . listen to this.

Please listen to this track carefully -- twice if you have to -- (and look at the images). If inclined, please let me know what you think about it and/or the questions below.

Also a few questions to think about–
  1. How do you feel about changing the words to a secular song and attempting to make it a gospel song?
  2. How do you feel about a gospel song/dance over a secular instrumental?
  3. How do you feel about an apparently gospel-influenced song by a mainstream secular artist?
"Study the lie, they can make new lies up, study the truth and you'll know when the lie comes."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where are we?

We left home early, so that just in case we hit traffic, we would still get there on time.
We were prepared.
Many of us were eager to enter on time. We, of course, also got the good parking spots.
While others are fashionably (or tactlessly -- whichever your perspective) late.
But better late than never, right? At least they made it!

Alas, everyone is here.
We see some familiar faces, some new.
Beautiful People, smelling good, looking good, brought their best foot forward.
Some dressed to impress.
Some came just for/as eye candy . . . (oftentimes referred to as spectators).
Some just came as they were, didn’t put much effort into their appearance.

Music is playing and it’s good music.
We like the music; the rhythm, the melody, the words.
We even sing along because we know all the words (or almost).
We’re dancing to the music, some people even break a sweat!
At times we start dancing with or near other people around us.

We are just so happy to be here, having a good old time.
People’s hands are lifted, stomping our feet, stepping to the music, clapping.
To be frank, we are glorifying the songs subject . . . because we can relate to it . . . or just because.
Smiling, Laughing, Merry, and Jolly.

We might consume something, we might not.
We might leave in the same way or state we came, we may not.
Lastly, we know we will probably drop some dollars when it’s all said and done. It's expected here, so we're okay with that. We're following the code of conduct, the rules.
Hours have passed but it’s like we don’t want it to end, ever.

A little saddened when it inevitably comes to an end, but we already know the next time we will be back.
We had a good time.

Where are we?

When this life ends, where were we and what were we doing?

To be continued…
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