Archives for category: Family

Today is my mommy’s birthday. I must admit that I’ve never called her mommy. Usually, I call her “Ma” when I am calling her to come down the hall to turn off my light (just kidding) or “Rose” when I’m trying to get my point across and let her know who is the boss (I am in case ya’ll were wondering who runs the show). LOL

Today as I celebrate her life, I am grateful that she is here, healthy, and hopeful. I am grateful to have time. Time to learn together and grow together in the good and trying times. When it seems like so many people, young and not so young are leaving this realm of life, I do not take time for granted her little idiosyncrasies that I’ve grown accustomed to, such as:

The fact that she STILL wants me to call her when I get home from a late night at work (mind you, I’m grown) or if she hasn’t heard from me in a few days because I am swamped with deadlines, she will send a message asking to hear my voice (it sounds the same). Or if she knows I have an event coming up, she will specifically request that I send her pictures of myself at the event and she will comment on my outfit, hair, etc. as she usually does (I look the same).  In my teenage years, all of these things were aggravating, but I’ve grown accustomed to her checking in and when she doesn’t I send her a message like, “Hello. I am your daughter. I could have been dead. You would not know. Because you ain’t call me.” (Yeah, I’m that dramatic kid).

When I recently experienced an unexpected loss, unbeknownst to her, she was on the phone before and after doing her usual check-in. While giving her the basic details she listened intently and said, “How are you?”

“I’m fine,” I replied with a steady voice and eyes brimming with tears…hoping that the surety in my voice and the quickness of my response would assure her miles away that I was okay, even when I did not feel that way.

“No, you’re not,” she said. She didn’t explain to me why or how she knew. She didn’t offer words of encouragement. She didn’t ask me to talk about my feelings or ask more details. She didn’t tell me I shouldn’t feel that way. She didn’t try to interject logic into my emotions. She just sat on the phone. Quiet.

And I knew that she felt my pain. And disappointment. And sadness.

And I knew that if she could somehow remove any of those feelings, she would.

After our time on the phone, she sent me a few text messages. Messages of things that she has told me before.

Ones that encouraged me. Ones that reminded me that she is proud of me. That she admires my work ethic and organization. That she is in awe of my determination and follow-through. Ones that let me know that she was here and that all was not lost. And that God would see me through. For that, I am grateful.

In happy times or times that seem to knock the wind out of my sails, she is there. In silence. Or with words. With a phone call or with a text. In person with a hug or across the ocean with facetime (can’t tell her nothing now), she’s there. And I hope that this birthday brings with it a kind of peace that cannot be explained, prosperity that is not limited to money, and joy that bubbles up from her soul. I wish her laughter, love and answers to prayers that reside in her heart and may have never been voiced.

She’ll keep getting those text messages when I get in late, phone calls to hear my voice , and photos at events, because I love her and like Smokey said about Craig, “That’s my dawg!”

Happy Birthday, Rose 🙂

Advertisements

For a while, I had been asking God to give me some sort of guidance and direction in my life. I had been praying about it and seeking the advice of family and friends all to no avail. Each person seemed to have a different opinion about what I should do with my life. Each person gave me their honest opinion, but that still was not enough. Each conversation with one person led me in a different direction than the previous conversation with another and I was done with asking others about my life. After all, it’s my life so whatever decision I do or don’t make should be based on me since I’m the one who has to deal with the repercussions, good or bad.

I had watched enough on-line sermons, read enough passages out the Bible, and  prayed enough, etc.  to satisfy my desire to hear about what the Lord was going to do and I was tired of not having an answer to my question.

So, I had gotten to the place where I decided to just let the chips fall where they may and not really focus on my life after graduation. I was living with the mentality “what will be, will be.”

I heard nothing back from the Lord and figured there was no need to ask anymore because I had already asked for a while. I mean, I seriously asked, dang near pleaded to know what was in store for me. Still I heard nothing, not even a whisper.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting God to come down from Heaven to sit in my living room and have a heart to heart session with me. I just figured in some way, shape or form, He would have let me know by now. I mean, time’s ticking. I need to make plans and preparation for my future. I didn’t know what more was expected of me, especially since I had tried the whole “seeking His (God’s) face” part of the scripture so I was waiting on the “all other things should be added” part.  I no longer prayed about it. I no longer asked God for direction. I just was done with the uncertainty and figured I wasn’t about to continue to ask the same question and continue to not get an answer. So maybe I was supposed to not know.

Before I returned to school, I decided to go to a different church with my Dad. As we sat in the back of a small church with only about twenty people there, I wished I would have just gone to my regular church.

But, as I sat and the youth choir (which was actually five kids) sang the song, “Turn Around,” and “Emmanuel,” I couldn’t help but get a little emotional. I don’t know, I guess the lyrics got to me.

Despite my initial reaction, the church had a good guest speaker. She was a lady I had never seen before. She preached on the topic “In his presence” and the sermon was taken from (I have to find my Bible in my bags that I packed but I will fill it in later).

Near the end of her sermon, she points in my direction and asks me to come to the front of the church because she wanted to speak to me.Hesitant, I went up front as this stranger told me things about myself that no one else in that building would have known but God and my Dad. She talked to me about my fears and my uncertainties and my hopes and my desires. She talked to me about questionable friends and career paths and my finances.

What she told me made me cry. Not because she told me anything bad, but because she identified the specific things I had been dealing with in my life and the answers to specific questions I wanted to know.

As I returned to my seat, I noticed that my Dad was also a little teary eyed.

We left church and road home in silence.

When we made it home, he came into my room and said, “Missy, did you know her?”

“No, I’ve never seen her before.”

“Oh, that’s crazy how she knew all that stuff.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I mean, Missy, we were just talking about those things she mentioned a few days ago.”

“I know.”

“I don’t know how she knew about that.”

“Must be God.”

As our conversation ended and he left my room, I knew that I had received an answer to some of  my questions and I was filled with a serenity I cannot explain. God is real. Believe what you want, but as for me, “Yes, God is real for I can feel Him in my soul.”

 

Tuesdays with Morrie

Image via Wikipedia

As I was sorting through files and slips of paper from abroad, I found a quote from a friend of mine. She has posted it on facebook and I  wrote it down because I felt that it was the perfect way to explain how I felt leaving England.

She wrote, “Now that my journey comes to an end..I feel so much that all this was just a dream-like illusion and I’m about to return to the real world.. to bid farewell to people I loved, to places whose beauty my imagination could never create. This was such a fast-paced, frenzy, creative way of living… Adrie, Katerina, Marina, Lorena, Kamal, I can’t think of England, or of a home, without you. “-Dikaia

Looking back as I returned to the fast-paced living of the states, I realize that I will miss the slower, at times,  boring days of no transportation, no television, no cell phone. I have not been back in the United States a month and I already have felt the stress of living—the hustle and bustle that becomes a passenger to success. I have pressing deadlines that won’t wait, bills that I must pay, jobs that I must work, things that I must do.  Back to just doing the hackneyed routine. However, what’s different is…ME.

I’ve learned that deadlines will always be there, bills will always be there, a job will always be there…but I won’t always be here. I won’t always be alive. And because of that, a restructuring of my priorities is much-needed. I will miss living in the moment or better yet, creating the moment in which I want to live while abroad. So, although, I have left England, I have brought the life lessons I have learned the 7,000 plus miles back with me.

In the book, Tuesdays with Morrie, the author notes how Morrie, a dying professor, stated “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in” (pg.52).Although I am unsure if that is the most important thing in life, I do believe it is an important thing. We all need love, in some shape, form or fashion. 2012 will be my year to do just that, love, not just in words, but in actions.

When I left, my Grandmother was in better health and, at times, spirits than she is now. To think, a few days ago she turned 77 and had to be reminded that it was her birthday. That’s scary. My Grandmother’s memory hardly ever fails her, but with old age, I am seeing how things change. She needs help doing things that once were easy for her. Walking, in itself, has become a challenge. Cooking, one of her favorite things to do in the world, has also slowed down tremendously. So with that being said, I am learning how to invest in people and invest in memories. Why?

Because at the end of the day, deadlines, papers, jobs, etc. Will always be here, but those who supported me and encouraged me to meet the deadline, write the paper, or apply for the job may not….A sobering thought. No matter the age, gender, race, demographic, etc. We all are destined to leave this world at sometime. But when I do (hopefully, when I’m well over 100 years old) I’ll be able to say that I invested in people and reaped the reward of joy, happiness, and love…a fulfilling life.

I urge you to do the same.

With love,

M.S.

Secrets of Love 01

Image via Wikipedia

Let me begin this by stating that I am not one of those people who believe in love at first sight or first date or first kiss or anything like that. However, I do believe that sometimes we meet people that we are interested in learning more about and certain circumstances impede that process. For example, my friend interested in someone and she think he is a really cool person. However, along with me, she leaves in a few days.

As she discussed how she was smitten with him and keen to get to know him better and go on a few more dates, it inspired a poem. I do know of people who have traveled abroad and met the love of their life and did not return home and have lived “happily ever after.” Or they fought their feelings and returned home and shortly afterwards, returned back to the country they visited to be with their love. In fact,  I met one girl who is actually getting married in a few days before returning home to get the rest of her stuff and move back to be with her husband.

Crazy? Maybe

Spontaneous? Definitely

Exciting? Yes

Is she is love? I don’t know.

But, I have come to the conclusion that even if her marriage does not work out or if others who have done the same do not stay with that person forever, I think it is brave to be led by your heart.

After all, the heart wants what it wants.

If we all want to be loved and we find that love thousands of miles away from our homeland and at that moment, we decide to put caution to the wind and move forward and follow love.

Then so be it.

You only live once.

Love.

Love hard.

Love often.

Love without regret.

But if it does not work out, then take the experience for what it was.

And move on.

And love again.

With the same fervor.

It takes boldness to do that and a person has to be brave to do that. I’m not. I’m too much of a skeptic. But for those who don’t mind truly living with the notion of “carpe diem,” by all means, do you. Porque que sera, sera. (What will be, will be)

Below is the poem written as I question the love at first sight notion.

I fell in love

Many times

In the same night

With the same person

Over and Over Again

His gaze

His conversation

His rhythm

I fell in love

Wondering

What if?

What would it be like?

What would happen?

If…

I fell in love

With him

Over and Over again

Many times

In my lifetime

If

This moment

Was the only moment

This moment

Was the definitive moment

Of my life

If

I fell in love

Here is a song talking about the idea of falling in love at the first sight by Mary J. Blige.

Kylie Minogue also has a song titled “Love At First Sight

After reading my uncle’s email, I decided to read Matthew 6 and respond. The beauty about reading the word of God for yourself is that in the same passage, there are many different interpretations based on how the word touches your heart. Below, at that time, is what the passage spoke to me.

My email response to my uncle was:

 “Hey, Let me find out you acting like a Pastor’s child and delivering sermons via email. lol

Seriously, I am familiar with the text you mentioned about the boat and the storm. The application of that story in our own lives, particularly Matthew 6: 45-50 which discusses how Jesus sent the disciplines ahead and saw them battling the storm can be helpful in all times, not just stormy seasons.

Verse 48 says, “And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.” I like this verse because God is so caring that similar to putting flesh on his only son and sending him to the earth, while on earth, Jesus cared enough to get in the “boat” with us and help us deal with our storms of life.

 The boat is representative of life and the storm is representative of the woes/misfortunes of this world. Similar to how Jesus could have passed the disciples in the boat, he thought enough of them to stop by and help them in their situation.

One reason for this could be because they followed his direction. He told them to go in the first place and where God leads his people, he will keep them. This verse is evidence to that fact. Similar to how Jesus was on the shore watching the disciplines in the storm (vs 47-48), he too watches us while we are in our own storm. And when he feels we have had enough, he will tell us “Be of good cheer: it is I, be not afraid.” That, for me, is comforting to know.

Like Grandma says, “Trouble don’t last always. This too shall pass.” I don’t know about you but I’d rather be in storm with Jesus, than out of a storm without Him.

Be encouraged, for Jesus has risen that we might have a right to the tree of life and that we might have it more abundantly.

Happy Thanksgiving. Give a little more, love a little harder, and smile a little harder.”

I’m sure if I read that same passage again, I may come up with another insight into how this story applies to my life. How about you? Have you ever faced a storm in life?

Thanksgiving was definitely different. Instead of my day being filled with food, fun, and family, I spent my day in classes and ate a sandwich for dinner. But, I won’t complain. Thanksgiving is an American holiday and I’m not in America, so that was expected (though I really could have used a good meal from home). I also miss eating sunday dinners at my Grandma’s house. Just thinking about the food makes me mouth water. Literally.

Today, I woke up too late to go to church on time, so I watched an on-line sermon again. There are definitely benefits to being able to watch sermons on-line, in the comfort of your own home, on your own time schedule, but I digress. I found it quite interesting that the Pastor spoke from the same passage from the Bible that my Uncle had sent to me a few days before Thanksgiving. Is it a coincidence? Some may believe so.

 In the email my uncle addresses me and his other siblings who have email. (6 out of the 10) I would like to share our email conversation: Hopefully, it blesses you like it blessed me.

 He wrote, “Good morning, I want to let you all of you know that I’m so proud of each of you. Having all of you in my life has made my life better than I could ever imagine. We are so blessed to have a loving Mom that raised all of us. Please during this thanksgiving let’s all remember and be so thankful we still have a loving mother that loves us all so dearly. All of us know she did the best with what she had for us. I can only say each of us still should continue to follow Jesus.

In the book of Mark, chapter six, we read that the disciples got into a boat, at night, and took out across the sea. In their obedience to Jesus, the disciples ran directly into a storm. Their obedience literally took them into the nucleus of a disaster. I wish I could tell you that following Jesus means you will never have to face any storms.

 I wish I could tell you that following Jesus means that the waters of life will always be calm. I wish I could tell you that following Jesus means life will be rosy and all of your days sweet. But I can’t. These disciples were following Jesus, and they ran right into rough-seas. The disciples discovered, as many of us have also discovered, that you can be both in the center of God’s will, and still in a storm.

There is a lot of preaching today as well as many Christian books that tell you that if you follow Jesus, than you will never have to face any challenges in life. That wasn’t true for Jesus, or for anyone else I know who has followed Him. Following Jesus doesn’t offer immunity from troubles. What it does give is the opportunity to experience Him in the midst of the trouble. Life comes with troubles, regardless of whether or not you follow Jesus. You get to choose if you want Him to join you in your troubles, or if you’d rather go through them alone.

(Sometimes God doesn’t give you what you think you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve so much more.)”

 Even though I was away from my family this Thanksgiving and I was unable to partake in any of the dishes on that day, I was still fed spiritually, which is more than meat or raiment.

Item 31160, Ben Evans Recreation Program Colle...

The steroptypical family structure: Mom, Dad, 2 Kids..

Mama’s Baby, Daddy’s Maybe

“Every family has its issues. If someone tells you that, their family has no secrets or skeletons in their closet, he or she is either lying or he or she has been too sheltered from their own family history to know the truth”-Me

Cynical? Maybe

Harsh? Maybe

Accurate? Definitely

Even if your nuclear family (mom/dad/bro/sis) is intact and you are proof that the 2.5 kids, dog, and house with a white picket fence, is true. Trust, that for most of us, our family has issues: big and small and our family tree would take up more than the house on the street. In fact, some of us would need the whole block.

Today, I was talking to a friend who informed me that she had recently found out she has an older brother by her dad.  She was shocked by the secret brother that she has no relationship with along a host of relatives that were attached with him. She stated that the paternity had always been in question, and her dad died while she was young, so that is why others kept it from her. He was unable to tell her about it before he passed.

This leads me to think about my own relationship regarding paternity: As a product of a man who denied paternity (and probably, to some extent, him and his family still do) the whole child denial is a sensitive topic for me. I think a sorry excuse of a male denies a child that could potentially be theirs. Plain and simple, if you had sex with a women unprotected and there is a possibility of a child being yours, do yourself, the child, and society a favour and take proper action to determine the paternity. Honestly, I feel males use that excuse to evade responsibility, particularly when they lament how the child is not theirs, yet take no course of action to see if it is or not. Why? Because usually, the male knows in their heart that it is a possibility that they could be the father, which scares them and they would rather not know if the child is theirs and never provide for it, than know for sure that it is theirs and not provide.

In addition, for the males those who discover the child is theirs and give the excuse “She tried to trap me. She know I don’t want no kids “as a reason to not provide for their offspring. SHAME ON YOU!! Even if the mother trapped you, is crazy, only wants a check, etc. what does that have to do with the product that resulted?  You were there. You didn’t take the proper precaution. You should man up and take care of your responsibility.  

Of course, talking about familial relations led to the question “Morgan, do you have any brothers or sisters?”

Inside, I cringe as I debate whether I should give a clear-cut ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. I decide to, as complicated as it may seem, give the truth, my truth.

I am the only child—from my mom. My biological father (who I have no relationship with) has 2 children (who I have met but to this day, they do not know my relationship to them). I assume they would be titled (half-sisters); I have no relationship with my biological father and consequently, I have no relationship with his other children. My mom is married and as a result, I was blessed with 2 step-brothers and 1 step-sister. However, it gets even more complicated as through crucial times in my life, prior to my mom’s marriage I acquired a father figure who has two daughters, who I refer to as sisters as well. So when I am asked the seemingly harmless question that many ask in getting to know one another, depending on my mood, my response ranges from an only child to 3 sisters and 2 brothers.

After hearing about my family structure, I am sure she felt normal in comparison. Lol

I told her my familial situation to inform her that families are complex. Family structures are difficult to explain. Many people who have no blood relation to us become closer than those who share biological traits. Marriages change structures. Divorces change structure. Many things outside of our control change the family structure. Moreover, sadly, for many of us, we know too well the saying “Momma’s baby and Daddy’s maybe.”

Complicated? Yes

Difficult to explain? Yes

Would I have it any other way? No

I love my family and the relationships that we have. I have many dad’s that I call on in times of crisis or just for everyday inspiration/advice.etc.  As far as I’m concerned, my biological father and everything attached to him (his sis/bros/others kids) are the ones who missed and are missing out.

One day, I will contact my biological sisters because it’s not their fault that our father, who may have been a great dad to them, was and is nothing more than a sperm donor to me.

I would be doing all of us a disservice if I, being the eldest, didn’t take action to form a relationship with them.

For that reason, I encouraged her to contact her brother–sooner, than later–to try to establish a relationship.

But, I do realize, that for many, their story does not end as happily as mine. Many do not have other people to go to in order to have that male father figure in their life. For those girls and women with no male representative, I am sorry. For those boys and men, whose father missed out on those special moments in life, I am sorry. I am sorry that you were not loved in the way you should have been. I am sorry that you were the victim in a situation outside of your control.  It is not your fault. I encourage you to seek those relationships with your uncles, mentors, etc. But above all know, that God is a father to us all.

Does this story ring true for you? I would love to hear about your family dynamics and how you overcame having a less than normal family structure.

If you like this story, retweet and share on fb/twitter/etc with friends.

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Image via Wikipedia

All week, I have been searching for some type of inspiration, motivation, encouragement. Something or someone to get me motivated to venture ahead and accomplish the various tasks that need to get done.

I have watched Oprah’s LifeClass Sessions, listened to Joel Olsteen’s sermons and even watched T.D. Jakes archives of sermons. Although these things have helped to cheer my spirits and boost my morale, I still feel a bit lackluster.

I know what my issue is: It took a while longer than most, but after being here for a month and a half, homesickness has come. It’s nothing that is huge or hard to handle, nor am I homesick 24/7. Just in those small, unexpected moments, I miss little things from home.

Of course, I miss my family and friends. Particularly when they are all hanging out and having fun and I am absent.

For example, my family went to the fair. It is something we do as a group every year. I happened to call my Aunt while she was at the fair and talked to a few of my family members. When I got off the phone, I realized I miss then more than I thought.

That is expected.

However, a trigger has been found in other venues.

For example, I feel that social media makes my homesickness worse. Reading my friends tweets and status updates about what events they are attending and how much fun they are having does make me miss home even more.

For that reason, I am taking a hiatus from social media (fb/twitter) to: #1- focus on getting work done and #2-not get caught up in what others are doing without me.

But these are brief and fleeting moments of homesickness. We all get them from time to time when in a new situation/environment.

I overcome this feeling when I remind myself that I am having a wonderful time meeting great people and learning lots. I am living out many people’s dream, so I should enjoy it while I can. I’ll be home soon enough, probably wishing I was back in Manchester.

So although I miss having a home-cooked meal, and would rather not eat anymore take-aways (British term for fast-food) while I am here, I realize that this is only temporary. Sooner, rather than later, I will reunite with my family.

But, I find comfort in doing what David did in the Bible: I have to encourage myself. We all get in our funk of apathy and I must admit, I have been in that zone for about a week, but this too shall pass.

I can’t wait on anyone else to boost my morale or give me encouragement.  I have the aptitude and ability to do that for myself.

Like the song says, “Sometimes you have to encourage yourself.” 

This is my song of the week.

"Running with the seagulls", Galvest...

Image via Wikipedia

The Grotesque Beauty of Change

The older I get, the more I realize that friends change, their priorities change, and I cannot get mad at that. It’s called maturation. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish things could stay the same sometimes…just for a little longer…

Currently, I’m struggling with losing a very good friend. My friend did not die. My friend did not move. My friend is growing up and experiencing life in a different way than I am. That has led to my innate sense of loss.

Marriage—Kids—Family : words that I have yet to fully embrace in my life since none of those things apply to me now.  I’m not married. I don’t have any kids. I have not embarked on the journey of beginning my own family as of yet.

With that being said, the dynamic between my friend and I has begun to change. My friends’ stressors are not my own. My friend’s focus is on the future regarding his or her family. My focus is just on me.  My friend’s long term goals involve the happiness and satisfaction of his or her children. My long-term goals involve the happiness and satisfaction of me.

I can feel the river growing into a stream between us.

O how things change!

Change is good, right?

I know it is.

Change is necessary.

A necessary evil.

So excuse my sensitivity and selfishness.

Don’t mind my wanting it to be about me,

My friend.

I’m just having a hard time adjusting.

But I will.

So excuse my tears when I say “I’m happy for you.”

Really, I promise I am.

 I’m happy for your additions in life: marriage, family, etc.

But I’m just a little sad at the loss.

Of who?

Of you,

My friend.

No you have not moved, died, nor has your number changed.

But I can feel the loss.

The stream growing into a lake.

As priorities change.

Responsibilities grow.

Perspectives differ.

And life experiences take us in different paths.

Each equally important.

But separate.

And as time progresses.

The dynamics will continue to change.

As our conversations get shorter.

And our visits are fewer.

And the day-to-day updates become antiquated.

I’m not upset.

It’s a fact of life.

But,

Know one thing my friend.

My love for you won’t change.

The older I get, the more I realize that friends change, their priorities change, and I cannot get mad at that. It’s called maturation. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish things could stay the same sometimes…just for a little longer…just for a little longer.

*This post was inspired by a friend, my friend*

Pastor Tom Schaller preaching at GGWO

Image via Wikipedia

My Grandma  is one of those God-fearing women who had me in church ALL THE TIME.  As a kid, it seemed like I was going to church for every possible program. So much, that I began to dread going because I didn’t get anything out of the service. I mostly, just fell asleep in her lap.

As I got older my Grandmother told me “Morgan, You’re too old to be sleeping in church. Time for you to pay attention.” So, since I was no longer allowed to draw, color, eat snacks, and sleep during service, I figured I’d do the next best thing: TALK to my neighbors and the other kids beside me.

Well, that was short-lived as my Grandma made me sit beside her in the first row of the church. I spent most of the time looking back at the other kids, kicking my feet and biting my nails. Basically, doing anything except paying attention.

But, as I got older and got to the age of accountability, I began to take God and church seriously. In fact, I actually began to enjoy going to church. I loved to learn of the different Bible stories and how they relate to my life. Going to church does something for me. It gives me strength and motivation to face the obstacles of the next week along with inspiration for my life and strengthens my relationship with the Lord.

No matter where I lived in the U.S., I made an effort to find a church home. In the U.S., I tend to go to church on a regular. Here: not so much.

Since I have been here, I have attended a church near my home a few times. I actually spoke about the church in an earlier post titled, “Do You Practice Your Religion?”

In comparison to the church I attend back at home, this church atmosphere is very different. The music here is….well… not my type to say the least. Although they sing hymnals, many of the songs sound similar (in regards to key, rhythm, etc).

For each song, the same person stands in the front of the sanctuary leading the song while the congregation sings along (somewhat). I hate to say this but is so dry. I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to burst out with a Kirk Franklin “Stump” or Donnie McClurkin “Stand,” but gosh, can they not seem so somber when they are singing praises to the Lord. It really is pretty sad sounding and I wish they would put a little pep in their step and at least try to clap a different rhythm sometime. Instead of clapping always on beat one and three, try clapping on beat two and four.  

Needless to say, I’m used to a choir back at home. One that sings contemporary/hymnals and one where the music is different.

Also, the preaching is different here. The pastor seems almost to be like a teacher, using PowerPoint and video clips every once in a while. I’m not mad at the use of technology. My problem is the lack of inflection of her voice during any part of the sermon. The pastor doesn’t yell or even seem to project her voice very far when she speaks. Her style seems to be as if she is having a really normal conversation with a person sitting directly in front of her. The church isn’t big so I understand the reason she does not project very loud, but can I get an inflection and a non-monotone sermon? This too, seems dry to me. Now, I’m not expecting the Pastor to jump from the pulpit and start sounding like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Joel Olsteen or somebody because I know each Pastor has his or her own style. Nevertheless, I would like for the pastor  to sound a little excited about spreading the gospel and preaching the word.

Lastly, if I thought the music or pastoring was a little tasteless, the congregation just makes me wonder. Nobody claps when the pastor preaches. Nobody says “Hallelujuah” “Amen” “Praise the Lord.” It is all very quiet. Almost as if you are in the library or a museum. All you may hear is somebody cough. This may be because the church has an older congregation. I’m one of the youngest people there besides a few teenagers and toddlers.

So as I sit in the church, I just do not feel like I’m getting what I need. I’ve heard that many of the churches in the Manchester area are similar, so that makes me hesitant in visiting other churches.

I know a quote says, “Be The Change You Want To See” but I would feel out-of-place if I started raising my hand and saying “Praise the Lord. Preach Preachah!” during the service so I just sit there. Feeling dry and praying that the Lord helps me pay attention and not fall asleep.

I know that I go to church to hear the word and as long as the word is preached that should be fine.

I know that culture differences and denominational divides play a major role in influencing every church’s culture.  Possibly if this church style was the only type I was exposed to, I wouldn’t be longing for more.

But I do.

At the very least, all I want is an Amen.

Can I get an Amen?