From The Crates: Destiny

Let me blow your mind for a minute:

Those of your that revere the called, the chosen the appointed of the Lord, to the point of envy, let me remind you of something. We are, they are, just as human as anyone else. We have frailties, issues, quirks and hang ups as well. We also are confronted with decisions of human and Kingdom importance on a daily basis. It is to the work of the Kingdom, yea our assignments, that we can and do continually die to what the world would have us cling to, remembering the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matt 6:33).

It is to the demand of our assigned positions that we must decide on a daily basis to continue to follow, serve, love, pray and impart. Ministry is not glamour. The call is not an accessory to your Bible bag. The assignment is not something that can be forwarded on to someone else. (Esther 4:14). Pray for those that serve. Pray for those you don’t always see serving. Pray that assignments are imparted clear and with power. Assist in capacities allotted for the work to continue. It is sometimes, for this call, yea, this assignment those which have been appointed say:

“DESTNY IS NOT OPTIONAL.”

In putting to death the things, visions, and people of the life WE designed and willed, gives God permission to stretch out and stand up in us that much more, being empowered for our assignments. For that cause, do we stand and say in tenacity, as the prophet Isaiah did, “Here I am Lord. Send me.”

Let me blow your mind for a minute:

Those of your that revere the called, the chosen the appointed of the Lord, to the point of envy, let me remind you of something. We are, they are, just as human as anyone else. We have frailties, issues, quirks and hang ups as well. We also are confronted with decisions of human and Kingdom importance on a daily basis. It is to the work of the Kingdom, yea our assignments, that we can and do continually die to what the world would have us cling to, remembering the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matt 6:33).

It is to the demand of our assigned positions that we must decide on a daily basis to continue to follow, serve, love, pray and impart. Ministry is not glamour. The call is not an accessory to your Bible bag. The assignment is not something that can be forwarded on to someone else. (Esther 4:14). Pray for those that serve. Pray for those you don’t always see serving. Pray that assignments are imparted clear and with power. Assist in capacities allotted for the work to continue. It is sometimes, for this call, yea, this assignment those which have been appointed say:

“DESTNY IS NOT OPTIONAL.”

In putting to death the things, visions, and people of the life WE designed and willed, gives God permission to stretch out and stand up in us that much more, being empowered for our assignments. For that cause, do we stand and say in tenacity, as the prophet Isaiah did, “Here I am Lord. Send me.”

#asyouwere

Written by Jennifer P. Harris, August 7, 2015

When Birthdays Are Mourning Days

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My mom and her sister were born a year apart. So, it only seems right that they would have children whom were born a year apart! I was born in June of 1981. My cousin, Nathaniel, was born in August of 1980. When we were little, we would joke that through July, we would be the same age.

It has now been 13 summers since Nathaniel Brian Jones was murdered on the streets of St. Louis. The most troubling thing about his death was the thing I mentioned earlier:  in July we would be the same age.

I remember the funeral, the internment, and having to celebrate my 25th birthday the next day. It was from that point, that I decided I couldn’t celebrate my birthday anymore:  we were both going to be 25. It was at my birthday which marked every year he was not in the world. I remember not going around my aunt because I felt like a death omen. Every July, and every August 5th, I think of him.

I think of the little boy that played with me. That ate bugs. That told me he would never leave me. I think of the young man that grew to utterly dislike me when we got older. Whom I no longer felt protected by. I thought of the young man and the immense potential that Oak Grove Cemetery inherited. This is the mystery of grief and sorrow:  you wrestle with the memories of what is, versus what could be!

Nathaniel as we grew up became a man I did not recognize. Who was mean, lost and unrepentant. He became a man that I wouldn’t trust to watch my purse! In that frustration, I stepped away from him. As much as we were told and taught family was everything, I gave him over to the life he wanted. In that giving over, I decided to separate that identity which was wrapped up in our birthdays, and our ages.

As I focused on me, education and writing, I could only shake my head when told of his criminal exploits. Of getting shot. Or refusing to leave the city after being shot! When his mother threw his bed away–meaning he couldn’t come back to her house!

When he wouldn’t listen to anyone.

I am unsure, even right now, if I had already considered him dead. I know that there was a visceral dislike for him, and with his death? That dislike? It became a breech.

There was no remedy.

There was no closing the gap.

I had to deal with him leaving the world after he promised me he wouldn’t.

During the month of July, we would be the same age. 

It is almost like being haunted. He was eternally be 25, while I am headed towards 40. We would be headed towards 40! What I grapple with this year, is this idea of my life being half over; while his being over. I mind myself of this fact on darker mornings; contemplating my own mortality and eternal destination.

I think of what it means, or would mean to die at an age he would which he would have never seen. I think of who will be there to remember all those who the world has forgotten. I think about the what-ifs, the why-comes and the would-bes. Most of all, I wonder if we would have gotten back to that place where time no longer could or does matter.

The fact is, I am aging.

The fact is, Nathaniel never will.

Funny thing? The darker irony of this is perfect! Why? It’s fitting for a boy that never did want to grow up. I suppose even dark wishes can be granted.

Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair

This photo came through my personal Facebook timeline this morning. I remember watching the verdict for the man that murdered Trayvon Martin with my new husband in my college apartment in 2013. I remember I had my hoodie on and cried. I remember how we sat there, him on the sofa and I couch and watched.

I remember how I wouldn’t feel that same level of rage until Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered one summer later.

My father was over six foot tall and ebony dark. He told my cousins the best way not to get stopped by the police was to not wear baggy clothes or hoodies. But, because I am a child of the hip-hop phenomena, I always wore hoodies. But, in baggy clothes, you wouldn’t know I was female unless you knew. Meaning, there would be something about my countenance or mannerism that would suggest I was female.

That being said, in the 6 years that have passed since Trayvon’s murder, my heart today is sad. Yet, motivated. I said on my personal Facebook this quote:

“If I gave into the rage, I could not breathe.”

And it’s true.

If I were to focus on every negative attribute of my life that intersects Black and trauma, I would never have hope. I would be bitter. Evil. tSad. And most of all? Unaware!

That’s what trauma-focusing does. All other aspects of life become alien to you. Associated with other people. Less real, and unattainable by natural means. You become both devoid and immune to light.

One of the joys of writing, of creation, is being able to take the dark out of your own self, and expose it. Wrestle with it where people can see. Wrestle so people can know it is not just them that may feel this way. This means like architects, we are obsessed with light. With making the hidden seen, or remain unseen. Or as Theolonious Monk and other musicians of his era would have called it ugly beauty.

The loss of a child is tragic. It seems much more heinous when done by a system called to serve and protect. As a parent, when you feel the world can no longer protect your child, a special disdain develops. You and them need to be a part of the world, but you remain hypervigilant. All while staying in invisible monsters they hide from–as well as your own.

Yet, the sun still rises most mornings. Rain water still makes flowers grow. There is still hope. From that, we can grieve, cry and laugh. Lord knows,

From The Crates (2016)

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This post came through my Facebook timeline this morning. I thought I would share. In my former life, my husband and I ran a church for almost 3 years. When Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were murdered back to back, I yelled as loud as I could into the either. I am not in a defined Christian ministry role now, but I am an activist. Make no mistake–just becaues you don’t see me, don’t mean I’m not working. -JBHarris

 

 

 

From the desk of Pastor Jennifer Phylon Harris, mother of 2, wife of Phillip Harris (Lead Pastor of Spirit Of Life Church-St. Louis), godmother to 4, with a dozens of adopted brothers and sisters in Christ:

I am granddaughter of slaves, sharecroppers, moonshiners and hybrid transplant from miry clay to the marvelous light. I was never taught to be ashamed to be Black.

We are at a point in this nation where silence is felonious. The murder of black people floods news feeds and cable news networks with the greed equivalent to hogs being slopped. The time to be quiet…IS OVER.

Please see the following:

If you defend the actions and silence of law enforcement, support the NRA, oppressive tactics, and the systematic destruction of Black and Brown people, unfriend and unfollow.

If you believe #alllivesmatter but have no desire to truly apply that to all people. Leave your humanity key. Unfriend and unfollow.

If you remain silent when these tragedies of loss of life surround you, unfriend and unfollow.

If you believe nothing is wrong, you are complicit. Unfriend and unfollow.

If you take issue with clergy being involved and outspoken during this time of unrest, revoltion and change, unfriend and unfollow.

If you still need to be explained what white privilege is, unfriend and unfollow.

If you believe that police don’t need tell on one another, and the officers that do speak up don’t need support, unfriend and unfollow.

“Our lives begin to end when we stop being silent about the things that matter.” -MLK

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

DISMANTLE WHITE SUPREMACY.

PROTECT PEOPLE.
(“Ain’t nobody free, till we all free. -Fannie Lou Hammer)

LET THE CHURCH BE THE CHURCH. DO THE WHOLE WORK.

QUEER LIVES MATTER.

TRANS LIVES MATTER.

BLACK WOMEN MATTER.

BLACK DOLLARS MATTER.

“We can do this y’all. C’mon.”
-J. Harris

From The Crates: 2-28-18

I am not an second amendment supporter.

You cannot convince me you need an assault rifle just because you believe you should be able to own one. I don’t care if you think it ‘infringes’ on your ‘freedom.’ I’m black, female and live in America. Everyday there is something passed, said or created that attempts to infringe and usurp my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I saw this morning that SLPS is trying to suspend the students that walked out of class yesterday in support of sensible laws and gun control. So, only the white children getting shot and murdered in ‘safe’ areas of the country are allowed to be upset, scared and angry? However, children of color or minority children are just supposed to deal with unsafe conditions because the policy-enforcing bourgeois think they should be used to it and Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization?

Aight.

It was 1993 and I was 12 when I had my first metal detector in my middle school-Yeatman Middle School. We had to walk through it every day. Girls couldn’t carry their purses to class because teacher and administrators thought the female students had weapons. By eighth grade, I had the Vice Principal take my purse (it was the end of the day and I didn’t want to go back to my locker), because I couldn’t carry it to class. Mind you, many girls start their menstrual cycles in middle school. My mother had to go to Yeatman to get it!

In suspending these students for protesting the same issue other students are protesting, you are continuing to tell them they are less than and deserving of violent fates and should be “used to it.”

You never get used to being dehumanized and learned helplessness is convenient. As my foremother Ella Baker said in 1964: