Poem: Spirituality

**a workshop piece

Speaking from the mountain tops from my mind,

I know it can be hard at times.

Is that truly fine?

I don’t want to become stagnant.

I don’t want to be okay with not pursuing

A greater good in the constant ripple effects of my life.

It’s okay not to be okay,

But it’s not okay to continue perpetuating the idea

Of nothingness.

Prayers are good.

But prayers without legs willing to run,

Or hands willing to climb

In order to reach for the hands that

Pray the most while receiving the least

Is the definition of nothingness.

A black hole of inactivity tempting you by

By blaming the chaos in this world we live in

To tie your hands behind your back

As your source of comfort.

Being a masochist for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, it can be hard to remember

That there is still good in the world to strive for,

Just please don’t forget on purpose.

Don’t fall into the rhythm of a meaningless routine

Because this world fails you.

All you need to know at the end of the day,

It’s going to be 11:59 pm.

Just a minute away for something new

Each day to appear.

I’m Going to South Asia!

Disclaimer: Yes, I know it has been awhile. After my summer internship, senior year of college and writing/editing for The Tempest and Inter has taken up my time. Hope to be blogging again soon! In the meantime, feel free to check out my GoFundMe below!

Since my internship ended, I wanted to find a way to continue that kind of work. To see the course of my internship, you can visit right here: https://flighty101.wordpress.com/hillside-missions-summer-internship/

And, of course, here’s where you can help me complete my goal to continue the work outside the U.S.:  https://www.gofundme.com/mayas-trip-to-south-asia

Being Christian and Multiracial

Growing up, my father with African American and Native American descent and my mother with European American and African American descent raised me; mostly my mother raised me, since they divorced when I was five. Nevertheless, both are Christian, so I was raised in the Christian faith. A popular question I often receive as a Christian woman, especially in an environment were there are people of multiple religious affiliations, and of non-religious affiliations, is regarding the mark of white supremacy in Christianity’s history. Why do I identify with a religion that had people who oppressed my descendants of color?

Africa has such a rich background in its culture and tribal religions, but during the time of slavery, the African diaspora had to assimilate to English, Christian dogma, and no longer being free. Native American mysticism and gender fluidity has especially been damaged due to colonialism, assimilation, and exile. During the Vietnam War, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk burned himself alive because of the horrific acts of Christian oppression. When the British invaded India, proselytizing was an act forced upon its citizens. All of these moments listed and more are needed information to point out, yet it is often ignored when studying Christianity, whether through a devotional lens or a scholarly lens.

I grew up attending traditional white non-denominational churches and traditional black Baptist churches. In both traditional settings, there’s often the need to not question. Do not look at outside sources, because the Bible should be the only text needed for spiritual growth. And the Bible details great proof of diversity, various tribes in various cities, but most churches do not value that part of Scripture. How could I have appreciated Christianity with the disputes over whether Jesus was white or black? How could I have appreciated the faith the pushed love and acceptance when it was shown to me through closeted mindsets?

It wasn’t until college where I grew to appreciate black churches. African Americans have taken Christianity and turned it into their own. Formally an act of persecution, it became an act of celebration and inspiration. African American culture is responsible for the evolution of gospel music and interpretive dance through the worship of Jesus. It has inspired heroes such as Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr. to improve social conditions. It made me realize the joy and excitement from my culture. I also joined InterVarsity, a Christian campus ministry, and it was originally a predominantly white ministry that later understood the importance of diversity in order to create an open space for multi-ethnicity and Jesus’ teachings and grace. InterVarsity is becoming a place for all racial backgrounds, including white, black, and even mixed-race backgrounds.

Furthermore, Jesus Christ didn’t compartmentalize his identity of being born of a human mother and a godly father, He identified as fully God and fully Man, labels of privilege and lack of privilege.

Despite the amount of openness Christianity has had to offer spiritually and culturally, unfortunately, it is still not seen as an open form of faith. The majority of people in political office right now are Protestant and white, for example. When some white Christians are asked to stand with their brothers and sisters of color for social justice they have the privilege to say “I don’t think God is calling me to that right now.” With the facet of proselytizing, Christians are often viewed as exclusive, another popular view of whiteness.

It wasn’t easy identifying with all of my backgrounds. And it also wasn’t easy to come to terms with them when relating to my faith. However, I am still proud of how the Christian faith calls me to be uncomfortable in order to push for reconciliation in my community, and hopefully my world. Yes, multiracial identity can be seen as a symbol for racial harmony in of itself, but when looking beyond the externalities, being a Christian also helps me strive for reconciliation in our society and to be open to other cultural perspectives.

The Good Samaritan story is a parable Jesus tells of a man of a different race and different religion that helps a man different from him on the side of the road. If that isn’t a symbol of reconciliation in Christianity, I don’t know what else can be stronger than that.

Another Different Perspective

It’s all about crying, especially when you don’t want to, but need to. It’s about the removal of weight from your chest you didn’t realize was there. It’s about realizing that in a dark corner, and drowning in its darkness until you’re pulled out. It’s about throwing punches very few can see you throw, because to them you are invisible, but you’re not. You’re really not but that mean force intoxicates you over and over again to make you believe that you are not worth it. It’s about receiving revelation for why you are worth it. you inherently crave brokenness, because how can you get rid of something from the beginning? It’s about things never going to plan; your choices aren’t always enough, others’ choices aren’t always enough, but you know of that one who is just that: enough, and sees your being as that way regardless of your choices. It’s about being brought out of that drunken frenzy and seeking that light outside of the corner. It’s about relinquishing the demons from your chest; you thought they would never leave but they did! Sure, they’ll come back, but you know that this time they won’t stay for long. It’s about believing in that promise that rings true as you sober up.

It’s all about how you can continue this list as long as you want to. It’s about questioning whether you want to continue or not. It’s about how it is okay to ask questions to get angry, get joyous, get human. Yes, human. Created by the one and only who sees you and your worth! One who sees your blood crusted razors, your begging hands, your struggles, your punches at the wall, your hiding in little to uncomfortable sheets, your lack of a home, whatever a “home” is to you. It’s about receiving redemption out of it all, making you want to continue getting up.

Poem: Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

The Bible has often been seen as a doctrinal text.

Too thick of a book

With an infinite amount of metaphors of how to be

A good person.

The very old passages have a picturesque view of God

As an ethereal Hitler.

Unfortunately, the Bible hasn’t been read closely.

If one would read between the lines

Of conspicuous horror,

One could see the manifesto of Kingdom Living

Wanting to rise out of the ashes

Of Eden.

Wanting to go hand in hand

Into the Temple for all nations

And not the evil of a controlling supremacy.

Wanting to be delivered from Heaven on to Earth

To have Justice searched for to be served;

Mercy to be given, received, and loved;

Humble acts written not just to walk or run,

But to dance on the pages of our short,

Desperate, temporary, stories.

We have one chance in this aging realm

To have our literary vocal cords produce the goodness

God intended.

God does not promote

The heinousness that flows in and out

Of the cold caves of genocide,

Poverty, and discrimination.

Reconciliation is the ceaseless draping of

Fresh water for the thirsty life forces in every place

Known and unknown to man on Earth;

But the streamline is cut off daily

Through the selfishness of constructed superior privilege.

It is all Satan

Who created these evil fabrications

And the miserable outcomes of such.

It is Satan who makes the ignorance of the outcomes

Appear so relaxing,

As if a part of God’s call to pay no attention to,

Because Satan says it shouldn’t matter to us.

The convincing, fallen angel has the accursed gift to say that

It especially doesn’t matter to us

If it is not happening to us.

You have such beautiful, clean, fair, unblemished skin

That needs to be calm with no conflict, he soothes.

You deserve all of the fresh water,

Not the inconsequential

Ugly skinned, crippled, sexually immoral, flawed, and/or undeserving

People.

Obviously, Satan does not stand for all.

Jesus stood for all.

Not for supremacy of thieves and dishonorable hyenas

In our chaotic jungle.

Jesus stood for everybody.

Why won’t we do the same?

Gandhi said that he liked our Christ

And not our Christians

Because Christ erupted actual change

Out of his holy volcanic spout

For every underrepresented mortal

To finally be proclaimed as deserving,

To eradicate the lies the enemy has said

Of them being undeserving;

Yet the designated, advantaged individuals

Who should hear God’s call

Do nothing.

Gandhi also said

To be the change

You wish to see in the world.

Why don’t they want effective change?

Why don’t we want change?

It is the only light,

No,

Fire,

That when ultimately presented

Shows results for everyone!

Not just ourselves!

Majority and minority must come together

To pursue the diverse Kingdom Living

We were meant to have.

We aren’t meant to make the faulty sacrifices

Of lambs and firstborns,

We are to seek justice,

Love mercy,

And walk humbly!

What is so doctrinal about that?

Being Mad at God

I do not enjoy the insinuations of our emotions being sinful. Apparently, the only justification of anger in terms of faith have to be when one refuses to believe or when one isn’t doing what they’re “supposed” to do.

It is okay to be happy, sad, upset, and yes, angry, towards God. The guilt may come in fruition due to all that He’s done for us, but, let’s be honest, that’s just putting a band aid on the problem sometimes.

If we are not honest in our practice of faith, how will we be able to grow? How can we share with others whatever we believe if we’re not even happy with what we believe?

Half of Psalms was David throwing hissy fits at God. Moses was angry at God. Even Jesus cries to Him before His crucifixion.

I understand I know more about my own faith than others, but I believe this should be shared.

It is not only okay to let out your anger. It is highly encouraged.

Can Anyone Hear God?

Initially, when people stated how they heard God, and how often they heard Him, I felt not only spiritually inept, but socially as well. In every single church I went to, I heard that same proclamation. Some were more bombastic than others. Some, I assumed, were faking it. It sounded so awkward, they had to be! Nevertheless, there were constant themes that stuck to the neurons of my brain: only a “true, devout” Christian can hear God, and when you hear a distinctly powerful voice telling you the good way to do things, it’s God speaking.

When I was younger, I believed I heard a specific voice from Him, and I cried to my mom about it. She told me that it was okay and there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Eventually, insight from God did not come from “hearing.” It was more of a feeling, for me. An instinct beyond my control. To some, that may sound silly, but everyone’s spirituality and religion is different. That is the world we live in. I don’t feel childish or cheesy when I say how I can feel God’s presence or feel what He wants me to do to become better, even when His direction appears troubling and stupid firsthand. “Realistic” is the category I put my feeling of Him under, rather than my hearing of Him. Again, every individual is different, which makes every relationship with Him different.

The instinct was a lot stronger when there aren’t many distractions around me, or random thoughts clouding my focus. Christian retreats with no technology and interacting with only the people around you would give enough discipline to let the instinct come at its strongest. But, the problem with that, is that I would have my “Jesus High” and leave for my usual routine of social media, school, etc.

Ralph Ellison, the author of Invisible Man (it’s a fantastic novel by an African American transcendentalist, you should read it!), said that the beauty of discipline is when it works. Therefore, in order to listen, feel, or receive anything from God, discipline has to be enforced. That is the meaning of being “devout.” One does not have to flaunt their faith pretentiously. Insincere claims of “I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior” is not an example of being devout. Neither is the lie of being a “true” Christian. Who ever said there was a “true” anything? There are those who use it as a mask for conspicuous perfection, but, truthfully, as long as one fully understands the purpose of their faith, and finds the form of practice that helps best, that is what matters. Discipline isn’t always a bad thing when placed in the correct connotation.

Ultimately, there is grace in the Holy Spirit, which allows us to choose how to receive His being. Therefore, pressure we place on ourselves for not naturally “hearing” Him is unnecessary. He comes to us when He wants us to hear him, feel him, or use other senses in our relationships with Him. Lastly, the more we seek Him, the more beautiful the revelation is from Him.