Holy Rolling

If you realized anything about my blog, it is that my subjects are strictly based on inspiration. I don’t typically have a plan to what I am going to write until it hits me, and I like that. It keeps it fresh and exciting for all that read. Today is no different. Today I am going to talk about church a little bit. So please continue reading.

I was raised in a household where we went to a Baptist church. My home church is Portsmouth, VA , is a Baptist church, and for most of my life it was all that I ever knew. When I was in middle school, my youth group where I said yes to Jesus for the first time was through a Baptist church. Whether big or small, country or urban, black or white, it was always this type of church. I enjoyed it for the most part, and it was cool to watch the progression of the church over the years. In spite of all that, I always felt like something was missing for me. There were certain things that I was not sure I believed or understood, there were things that I did not fully agree with, but I was a kid, so I did what I was told. In the summer of 2012, I found myself in a place where I was looking for a church. The church I had been a part of during my time in college didn’t really fit the phase of life that I was in, and although it wasn’t bad, I had stopped going completely. I would wake up on most Sundays and either go to work, or I would visit different places. It was cool. I remember running into a friend of mine who had invited me to their church for Easter that year, and I decided to go back. Little did I realize that my friend was a pastor to one of the fastest growing churches in our area. This church was exciting, loving, the music was great, and the pastor preached truth with passion. It was a fun place to visit. It was the Ramp Church International. I had visited in undergrad with some of my homeboys before, but we weren’t looking for God at that time. This church happened to have all the fine black girls at Liberty University going there, and so being the knuckleheads that we were, we decided to go and try to play church (it didn’t work, these women are the real deal about Jesus). Fast forward 4 years, and now I am back at this place. I remember feeling out of place for all of about 5 minutes, and that was due to my own insecurity, but then being welcomed in. It was a wonderful experience that I will take forever.

While being at this church, I began to form a deeper relationship with my friend who was the pastor. We would stay up for hours talking about the bible, and he would help me to understand things that I had questions about. This church taught me about theology in a new way, and also taught me to research and learn things for myself so that I would be able to talk about my faith with confidence. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t just doing what everyone else wanted to me to, I was learning it for myself. I had wonderful “firsts” during that time. I was able to freely express myself in worship (I got a little step lol), I saw people healed from sickness, I laid hands on people and the Holy Spirit worked through me. It was scary, but real. I was baptized in Jesus name at this church, I spoke in tongues, and understood it (I was in a service in Trinidad the first time I ever spoke in tongues, it freaked me out, and I never told anyone about it). These were all things that growing up, I was told were taboo, or fake. I learned that they were real and alive.

It’s an unfortunate thing, but many look at those that worship in the ways I have mentioned before as though they are faking it, or that it’s too much. They sit in their churches every week as though their way is the only way that works. It’s dumb to be honest, and it can be hurtful as well. The authenticity of these people is amazing. People shout, scream, run, but some also sit quietly, and commune with God. That’s what many miss. Doing those things aren’t requirements, those things are in response. That’s what worship is. A response to what God has done, is doing, and going to do in our lives. Most that I know don’t go to church because they want to, if they are honest with themselves they go because they have to. They need a body of believers to help them along their Christian walk. That’s the purpose of the church, “To equip believers to do the work of ministry.” That’s it. Anything else other than that has no eternal value. It doesn’t matter how you do it, the point is that you do it. You might never move, or clap, and shout, but if in your quietness God is moving and working, then that’s enough. It’s for you.

I wish that I could tell you that I still there. I am not. I fell during my time serving in ministry, and because of that entire situation, I ended up leaving. I can take full responsibility for my actions, and I repented, but church is a 2-way street. Honestly, I felt like I didn’t have the choice, and if I could go back, I would do it all the same way. In times of hardship, people will show their true colors. Those colors were shown to me, and painted a picture that I didn’t want to look at. So I moved on. However, I would not be the person I am today without the time spent there, and I am thankful for it. I still have love for that place, and it will forever be in my heart. Maybe one day we will reconnect, and I can reconcile it all. Maybe not. I have no idea, and that’s ok. Jesus is still alive, and real. That’s all that truly matters.

B.A. ScottComment
Lessons Learned From One Of My Favorite Ladies

It’s Women’s Month, right? I unapologetically think that having a month to do something that should be done every day is a shame, and shame on you if you don’t. However, since this is when society tells us to celebrate women, then I will give you one to celebrate. Her name? Annie Odessa Maclin-Taylor.

My GG was one of my favorite ladies. I don’t talk about her much, because it breaks my heart that she is gone. 12.10.08. was the date that she took her last, and to be honest with you, 10 years later, it has not gotten any easier. However, I try my best to remember the things that she did when she was on this earth, and those are things that help my grieving process. When she was here, she taught me things that I didn’t realize that I would need until later in life. Being an idiot teenager, I would brush many of the talks that we had off, not truly realizing that she would ever leave. Death is a funny thing. It puts into perspective all of the interactions that you have with a person, and then displays them as mural to remember the life by. That’s what my GG did for me. She was a living legacy. She passed down a number of things to me, and I would like to share them with you. In true blogger form, here is the list:

1.     Love God for real. My GG was a God fearing woman. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind about that. With her faith, there was an intentionality about it, and it was magnetic. I can’t begin to count the number of people who came forward after she passed to speak on how they found Christ because of her. My GGs house is in the hood of Portsmouth, VA. Up until recently, her house was a rock throw from a dope house, and liquor store (yea for gentrification). These are places I was never allowed to go by myself, but places I recognized as I got older. In spite of what was around her, she would open her house up to people, feeding them, and telling them the gospel. She wasn’t preachy, she was real; she understood them, and found connections with their lives and hers. It was wonderful to realize. She would keep these bible tracks EVERYWHERE in her house. Some of these tracks were wordy, some looked like comic books, and others still were like cartoons. However she needed to reach people, she would use them. She loved music, and would be singing all the time. These old hymns, rich in doctrine, were her songs of choice. Even I still don’t realize the songs that I know, and when I hear them I know every word. That was her. Her faith inspired generations after her to follow Jesus.

2.     Educate yourself. Growing up, I hated school. Maybe it was because I was a loner black kid surrounded by white students who would pick on me. Maybe it was because it came easily to me, and didn’t feel challenged. Whatever the reason, I hated it. I just did. My GG was not one to have that. Whenever I was around her, I felt like I was in a classroom. She would ask me random questions about science and math, just to see if I knew it. When I was wrong, she would show me. One of the last conversations I remember having with her was about school. I was in college, and I wasn’t doing well. I was apathetic. I had a rough semester, and it discouraged me. She had asked me how I was doing in school, and I said I was doing ok. She challenged me to finish well. There were times after she passed when I would think back to those conversations, and I would press on to do well. Multiple degrees later, I am doing just fine. If I ever feel discouraged, I remember her face, and her smile, and I realize that I am going to make it just fine.

3.     Treat Others Right. My GG was the type of person who was always respectful of those around her. She was very dignified. A classy lady. She instilled in all of us the same respect. In her house, no one would fight, or raise their voice. We treated each other with decency and respect. It was understood. I always think back to some of the stuff I was in when I was younger, and none of it ever came inside those doors. There was a respect and honor that my GG demanded that no one would dare defy. It was just how life was. I only saw my GG raise her voice at someone once in my life, and she was doped up in the hospital when it happened. Even that scenario seemed so weird to think about knowing her character. But respect was something given to everyone, even if they didn’t deserve it. We live in a culture where respect is earned, not given. Her thought was if you treat others with respect, you will get it back in return. She taught us that.

I could go on with the numerous other things that she taught me, but I will end it here. My eyes are welling up with tears, and so I really don’t have the strength to continue writing. She is the example to anyone of what a woman should be, and I love her dearly. Many people will say things like “I know that they are looking down on me”, but I don’t believe that. She is somewhere in the presence of Jesus, singing and praising him. I’m ok with that because I will get to see her again one day, and sing right along.

I love you, GG.

B.A. Scott
Wakanda Isn't Real

Hi friends,

Today is March 5, 2018. The Monday after Black History Month (BHM) has passed. Another one has come and gone, and this month, in particular, is one that I want to speak on.

WARNING: I am about to be that guy.

Black Panther

As I sat in my house the other day thinking about BHM and what it meant for me this year, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. BHM is a time where we, as a culture, take time to remember people of color who have made strides in America. Interestingly enough, this year had nothing to do with that. Black people came out in droves to celebrate a fictional black character, and it seemed that with all that hype that we forgot to celebrate those who paved the way for us to be able to enjoy something such as this. To be fair, I thought “Black Panther” was great. It’s not my favorite Marvel movie to date, but it was still really good. I also thought it was cool that a young, black director made the movie. Those are all things to be celebrated. However, without Sydney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, there is no Chadwick Boseman to celebrate, or Michael B. Jordan to lust after. They simply don’t exist. And I personally don’t think it fair that we as a culture failed to mention them. People everywhere are saying that this film gives their children “heroes” to look up to when there are black men and women that they can look up to now, and these were there before this movie. You don’t think so? Here is just a couple: Malcolm X, MLK Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Ruby Bridges, Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, Daisy Bates, Frederick Douglas, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, Mary McCloud Bethune, Muhammad Ali, Nikki Giovanni, Nina Simone. I could go on about countless others who earned the title of hero in real life, not on a comic strip. With that in mind, what many don’t even realize is that the comic was created in 1966 as a part of the Marvel universe. The comic has nothing to do with the Black Panther party, it’s just a name given to a character (Black Leopard just didn’t work). So before we worship this fictional character, let’s give respect to those who actually enacted on heroism in their lifetime(s). Maybe give some respect to Huey Newton and the real Black Panthers for giving back to their community for years before the FBI and LAPD came in and began to murder them. Question: Do you know that 10-point program is? I do. I will tell you. It was a list of items that the Black Panthers wanted from their local community government in response to what was happening around them. Those 10 points were: We want freedom. We want the power to determine the destiny of our Black Community. We want full employment for our people. We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of our Black Community We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society. We want all Black men to be exempt from military service. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people. We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails. We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, and peace. Do any of these sound familiar? They do to me. There are distinct parallels from what they were standing for then, and what many of our own are still standing for now in our communities. This is how I will close this point. Instead of wearing dashikis, and claiming a heritage that you really know nothing about, how about learning about your heritage. More than what ancestry.com can provide, get to know our people. Yes, our history was erased due to slavery, but we are all still a part of those people. Africans welcome African-Americans with open arms. Talk to one. Learn about their history and traditions. I’m sorry, but I couldn't care less about Wakanda. It doesn’t exist. I care about what is real around me right now, and so should you.

Another month

BHM is followed by women’s month on the calendar. Again, it is another month that someone decided we should celebrate a people group in our country. To me, it’s all stupid. Why use a month to shed light on something that we should be doing every day. I am a black man. As such, I spend every waking moment of my life living black history. I have a wall full of degrees which tells me that my life combats the stereotype that comes with my skin tone. I have a loving black family with both parents, again, another stereotype negated. I am a musician and pastor, and I love the people that I have the opportunity to serve with each Sunday. There is no changing it, it is who I am. So why do we have certain months to bring attention? Because for most of us, it isn’t something that we do every day. I have a mother, a sister, and countless friends, all of whom are successful women. Most of them are black (all of my closest friends are*), but I still celebrate all of them every day. There are things that women do that I could never understand (like periods and pregnancy), and then there are things I simply admire (strength, perseverance). Society would have us to believe that no one cares about women or that women are an ignored afterthought. While true for the ignorant minority, that doesn’t represent the masses. So no, they don’t need a month, they should be celebrated all year, all of the time. If you’ve got women in your life, celebrate them. Do something for them. Not just in March, but all the time. For me, my mother’s birthday is in March, so I get the opportunity to celebrate her. But I tell my mother all the time how I love her, and I am thankful for her. I don’t need a date on the calendar for that.

*I wrote that most of my closest friends are black, and that is not a knock to other races. I have tried to befriend those of other races (specifically speaking to white people), and for some reason, it has never been something that stuck. I like people from all backgrounds, but I typically only trust those from a similar experience. Trust is proven, not given.


B.A. Scott