And the Church says…

[I wrote this post in September and it’s been sitting in drafts ever since. *Blows off the dust*]

“Amen.” Of course that’s the automated, often involuntary response to the phrase “And the Church says…” We say it so easily, almost on autopilot, giving no thought to what we’re really saying. But the word “amen” is more than a cliché that fits easily in your church vocabulary list. Continue reading

courtesy of

Turning, Shaking, and Preparing Tables

courtesy of

Grammy Award winning singer Adele “turned” tables.

Reality T.V. star K. Michelle “shook” tables.

God (who needs no introduction) “prepares” tables.

We all know the familiar scripture out of the 23rd Psalm where David writes about his dependent relationship on the shepherd of all shepherds, God. In verse five, David says that God “preparest a table before me…” and finishes his rumination about how good it is to be in the House of the Lord for ever and ever, amen.

During a drive through the city yesterday, God gently said to me, “Let me prepare a table for you.” In my mind, I had an idea of what this meant: let me be God and you move out the way; what I have is so much bigger than you could imagine! But, though I’d heard that scripture a million times, I didn’t know what having a table prepared before me really meant.

After digging in my Hebrew concordance, I found that the word “table” is defined as “a king’s table, for private or sacred use.”

When God prepares a table for us, it’s grand, filled with the best of the best, sparing no expense, concerned with no cost — much like the table of a king or queen! This is the ideal table that God would have us “feast” from every day of our lives: one that provides every need that we have in abundance that we may feed those around us! (See 1 Kings 4:27)

There’s some rules to sitting at this table, however. Because the table can also be reserved for private or sacred use, we have to have discretionary taste regarding who we invite to sit with us. The Queen of England doesn’t allow just anybody to sit at her table, especially someone who doesn’t have like taste and purpose! “Strange” guests (counterproductive people, ideas, or behaviors) that don’t respect the table, its preparer, or even who the table was prepared for can ruin the feast, contaminate the food, and destroy the sanctity of the moment.

Ever prepared a great meal for friends and family and someone ruins it by eating sloppily, snatching biscuits out the basket, or not saying, “Thank you” for your hard work? Ungrateful folks, aren’t they?

God wants us to take a seat before life’s table and enjoy the benefits of having a King for a father. This experience is readily available to anyone who is a part of God’s kingdom, but we contaminate the table when we invite “strangers” like strife, greed, sin, disobedience or a disregard for God to sit next to us as our “guest.” Psalms 69:22 calls the “table” being a “snare” or “trap” for those who oppose the Godly but I find that more often than not, we serve as our greatest opposition to having God’s best. Isaiah 28:8 also shows us where a table is considered “unclean” because of the behaviors of those table guests.

There’s much to be said about having what’s called “good table manners.”

How then do we receive and enjoy the splendor of sitting at a God-prepared table and not spoil it? Keep your eyes on the preparer and not what’s been prepared. We can’t get consumed with the grandeur of the table itself. Those things, no matter how great and opulent they are, pale in comparison to the glory and honor that should go to the preparer, Yahweh. When we take our eyes off the preparer, it gives room for those “strangers” to enter in. Remember that couple who snuck into the White House dinner party in 2009? No one likes a dinner party-crasher. Someone had their eyes focused on the pretty table before them and some strangers got through. We can’t be about that life! Keeping our eyes on Him lets Him know that we trust that whatever He puts on our plate, we are willing to eat.


On the “I hope my table has some good food on it” chase,

Alisha L.

Freedom: It’s Relative

Today, the Candler School of Theology had the opportunity to host Voices of Hope, a choir composed of women who are currently in prison at the Lee Arrendale Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison two hours northeast of Atlanta. Candler has been abuzz about their arrival for weeks; “A life changing experience!” one of my third year classmates exclaimed. “You’ll really understand what it means to worship freely,” another one commented. After seeing Voices of Hope (VOH) perform today, I’ve can say that both of them were right.

As I got dressed this morning, I began to think about the women who too were getting dressed to prepare to come sing to us. As I freely put on my lipstick and fitted skinny jeans, and as I changed my mind on what top to wear a few times, I thought about the women who may look like or even be my same age as me who are brushing their teeth in their cells, using a small mirror’s reflection to comb their hair, and doing their absolute best to make a good impression on us who were coming to listen to them. In tandem, we woke up today, prepared ourselves to come to Candler, and arrived with expectations of something great.

Words cannot really express how powerful it was watching these incarcerated women praise God in spirit and in truth. What a juxtaposition it was to see their beautiful robes swinging with every beat and their well shined prison shoes and khaki pants peeking from the bottom.

One woman told me that she had been in jail for 19 years and wasn’t sure how long she would remain in prison. She sang, however, as if she was free from everything. All of the women did. Free from the past, free from the present, free from it all. With hands lifted, they gave us a roller coaster of emotions; at one point, the entire chapel was in tears.


What does this have to say about our own worship experiences with God? If one can be in physical bondage but can still worship God so freely, what is keeping those who are “free” from doing the same? These women sang of victory, liberation, faith, justice, and a hope for the future despite their incarceration. Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed…even if they are confined to a prison cell. The idea of “freedom” is relative. “We” are free, yet we live bound by the past, our fears, our inadequacies, and our shortcomings. “We” are free, yet we sit tight-lipped in church, slow to speak to our neighbor, and use religion as a means to control the “others”.

When it was all over, students from the ConEd site served the women their lunches. We catered to them, got them anything they needed; I wondered when was the last time many of them had a catered lunch with a full wait staff. They disrobed and we were starkly reminded of the “labels” that had been placed on them: they were “owned” by the Department of Corrections. Their spirits, though, belonged to God.

Today reminded me that this idea of “freedom” is such a relative term. It reminded me to stop taking my own freedoms for granted and use every moment I have to give thanks and exert intentional actions into my praise and worship with God. Knowing scripture, having the most profound exegesis, or have a good Holy Ghost dance means nothing without an understanding of freedom in Him and a heart of servitude. Serving God begins and ends with serving the least of those among us.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Rapper Cassidy Brings Jesus to Kill it on The Breakfast Club

Real quick post!

Ya’ll know I’m ALL ABOUT fusing faith and culture, and while many of us haven’t heard anything from the rapper Cassidy in a minute, he brought that F I R E on New York City’s top rated morning show, The Breakfast Club with host Charlamagne tha God.

Not only did Cassidy repesent Christ for millions of listeners, he was quoting scripture pretty accurately too! Great clip for all my youth pastors, ministers, religious education folks, etc.

I have to warn you: Charlamagne goes straight ratchet at the end (@*&!%^ AMEN!) but the entire freestyle is worth taking a listen. I tell you, if I didn’t Believe before, I’d consider coming on over after these bars.

On the rap game gone biblical case,

Alisha L.

Berklee Bound!

I always get requests from people to guest blog or post certain topics or issues on my blog. 99 percent of the time, the answer is no.

However, there’s always that one percent.

I received a call from my friend Tar’Ra, who, usually opens up with giddy banter and giggle filled “hello’s”, got straight to the point.

“You know Satar’Ra (her daughter) got a full ride to Berklee, right?”

“Yes!,” I exclaimed. “I remember.”

“Well, they ran out of funding and are only covering three-fourths of her tuition this year. We have to come up with the other money before August first or she can’t attend.”

Optimistically I asked, “Well, how much is it?” (Surely, it can’t be THAT much).


You can imagine how the rest of the conversation went; a single mother of two who’s made a pretty good career as a hair stylist has decided to leave her home and downsize to a two bed room apartment to free up $1,000 a month to help get Satar’Ra to Berklee.

I wrote an article about Satar’Ra in Atlanta Tastemaker Magazine  (January 2012) and told thousands of readers about this musical phenom; she plays 5 instruments and was one of The Grammy’s featured students at their annual summer music intensive in LA. In that article, she was hoping to attend Berklee to pursue music. A few months later, she learned that not only was she accepted, but had a full scholarship. How heartbreaking must it have been to learn that like many colleges across the U.S., Berklee didn’t have enough money to cover all of her expenses this year.

Her dream, however, doesn’t have to be deferred.

Her mom has set up a secure account to help raise funds to send Satarra to Berklee. The link is here. [don’t just bypass this. Click it. Donate. Not for me, for her.]

If you have any doubt about her musical talent (who’s last name is TROUTMAN… ring a musical legacy bell? Think Roger.) Check out her YouTube Page. This girl gives me CHILLS every time she opens her mouth to sing.

I’m making my donation this weekend. How amazing would it be to see this girl make her dreams come true at one of the TOP music programs in the country on the backs of those who believe in her?

If you have any questions or want to find her on Facebook, here are her links:

On the Chase for Others,
Alisha L.

Brandy, Monica, and the Repossessors: An In-depth Look

Let me begin this post by stating this is much more than a critique of music. It is, like much of my work, and exploration of a different perspective.

Let us begin.

Women have been repossessing their stuff from men for a long time now.

“The clothes on his back, I buy them. The car he drives, I pay the note every month.” — Shirley Brown, 1974

“You may have had him once but I got him all the time.” — MoKenStef, 1995

“Every time we go somewhere
I gotta reach down in my purse
To pay your way and your homeboys way
And sometimes your cousin’s way!” — Erykah Badu, 1997

“To the left, to the left
Everything you own in the box to the left
In the closet that’s my stuff, yes
If I bought it, please don’t touch.” — Beyoncé Knowles, 2006

“Those clothes, those cars, those rings That MacBook, that sh-t belongs to me.” Brandy and Monica, 2012

With Brandy and Monica’s new song “It All Belongs to Me” blaring on my airwaves, I couldn’t help but think about this long lineage of women singing about a love lost and the process of repossession that occurs at the end of the break up.

While this type of “women’s liberation” (I use that phrase very loosely) has been going on for a while, it irked me that after all this time, we were still singing about reclaiming stuff from men who we can assume brought nothing to the table anyway.

And to boot, Brandy and Monica’s video featured them reclaiming items from one man; is it safe to say that this is the same man they were arguing over 12 years ago in “The Boy is Mine”? (I know it’s not Mekhi Phifer, but you understand the continual video concept.)

So what does this say to women (as I was one of the teenage girls rolling my neck, singing along to that 1998 cut) that 12 years later, you are still vying for the same man, and you’ve “upped the ante” by using your wealth to give him a life that he’s not willing to provide for himself?

It’s simple. We have no idea who we are, why we were put here, and what God’s intent for our lives are.

See, God made it very clear that there’s an order to everything when He introduced us to Adam and Eve.

When Eve came on the scene, she came to a place that was already prepared for her.

She wasn’t toiling in the garden, grinding it out, trying to make things happen. She wasn’t “holding it down for her man” while he “gets on his feet.”

Eve was aware that she was there to help Adam, use the skills God gave her to make Eden an even better place for them, and live without the pressures of doing the hard work Adam was called to do.

She came into a place that was whole, complete, and fully ready to receive her. Adam did his part. He provided a “home”, food to eat, and gave her the space to do what God called her to do, too.

This, my friends, is God’s divine order. This is an expression of God’s love and His absolute best for his daughters.

I’m sure Eve added her own “touches” and additions to the garden, much like we do in our own relationships. We work. We pursue our goals. We live our lives. We aren’t, however, to get out of God’s will and become a sole provider to men. Not then, not now, not ever.

It’s not how we were built. It’s not God’s best for us. And if we used this model as an example of what to look for when choosing our mate, we’d never have to worry about becoming a repossessor of any sort.

This isn’t to say that women shouldn’t buy things for their significant others; let’s not miss the point. This is about knowing God’s ideal purpose for us through the biggest and most sensitive part of ourselves: our heart. We know we never give a gift without giving a sliver of souls with it. God wants to protect our “investments” by ensuring the gardens we pour back into are prepared by men who understand the importance of preparing for us first.

When we know God and understand His character, we realize that He created us to enter into our own versions of Eden prepared by a man who has a sense of purpose, works towards that purpose, and understands his role as a provider. Knowing these nuances about the One who created you makes it easier to know your role, play it well, and let Him do the “dirty work.” If Eve’s first introduction to their life together was Eden, why should our introductions be any less?

How do you view women who pour too much into men who haven’t properly prepared for them? Is it socially acceptable or a destructive trend to follow?