Pathfinder

 

There once was a man
Pathfinder, he was called
Like him, there was none
Dating back to days of old

He wandered the village
Trudged each day with all his might
Witnessed the plunder and pillage
That took many like him overnight

But he walked on and on
Frame bold as the noonday sun
Feet intimate with stone and bone
Mind sharp as the hammer of the gun

This kind of resilience was praised
Only when if it did pay off
It was rare like the dead being raised
Or the president being laid off

And so Pathfinder, he did attract
More for his heart than for his purse
Flocks of ladies sought his contact
This was his blessing and his curse

Because in due time, our dear buddy
Smitten by one of the village belles
Awoke with his judgement rather muddy
After he’d dreamt of wedding bells

Pathfinder asked the dame to tag along
For a great expedition indeed lay ahead
He was glad she didn’t think too long
Her “yes” had him blushing pink and red

He grabbed his load, smiled at blue skies
And they were off to the great adventure
Their bellies danced from the butterflies
BUT
To him without wisdom, do not add venture

For in due time, our traveling couple
Stood still where the road had forked
The paths to take were now a couple
And after a silence, his belle, she talked

“Pathfinder, my love, which do we take?
You told me one leads us to the lake…”
For the trekking had left her with an ache
She longed to rest at the sunny beach deck

Pathfinder stood motionless and mute
As his lady gently requested for attention
His now-confused mind tried to compute
But it brought about nothing but tension

“Pathfinder, you man, which do we take?
You told me one leads us to the lake..?”
By now, she’d had it up-to her neck
And calmness, she could no-longer fake

“I do not know what path to follow
I do not know what road to take
Inside, I am empty and hollow
I think this was all a mistake…

Oh, village belle,

…Return at once to your father
And forget me like a bad dream
For I was never the Pathfinder
I, too, am searching for Him”

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I know (not) who I am.

 

I present a breakdown of the song “I know who I am” written and performed by Sinach. Lyrics obtained from Genius. The song lyrics are presented in bold with my thoughts occasionally following on the line below, in parentheses.

[Verse]
We are a chosen generation
(That’s 1 Peter 2:9-10)
We’ve been called forth to show His excellence
(if we’re quoting the verses right, we’ve been called to proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.)
All I require for life, God has given me
(That’s 2 Peter 2:2-4. But not so fast. That portion of scripture says Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The requirements for life are HINGED on the knowledge of Him who called us.)
And I know who I am
(Good for you.)
We are a chosen generation
(Repetition)
We’ve been called forth to show His excellence
(Why repeat the verse?)
All I require for life, God has given me
(Did you run out of lyrics?)
For I know who I am
(Did you run out of Biblical truths?)

[Chorus]
I know who God says I am, what He says I am
Where He says I’m at, I know who I am
(Good stuff, but is it just me or would anyone else like some specifics on who God says I am, What he says I am, and Where he says I’m at? I’ve had identity issues in the past and these lyrics didn’t leave me with any word of God to stand on. I sang them out hoping they’d somehow manifest. They didn’t.)
I know who God says I am, what He says I am
Where He says I’m at, I know who I am
(More repetition.)
I’m working in power, I’m working miracles
(What are you working in power? Even the devil has power. Some direction please?)
I live a life of favor, for I know who I am
(Do you live a life of favor as a result of knowing who you are? That’s odd.)
I’m working in power, I’m working miracles
I live a life of favor, for I know who I am
(More repetition. From here on out, the rest of the song is awash with copy-pasted on-repeat lyrics.)

[Interlude]

[Verse 2]
(A repetition of the first verse.)

[Chorus 2]
(A repetition of the first chorus, but understandable in the sense in which choruses work.)

[Post-Chorus]
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
I know who I am
(The thing I cannot figure out is how this song is supposed to help those who do not know who they are.)
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
I know who I am
(More repetition.)
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
I know who I am
(More repetition.)
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
I know who I am
(More repetition.)

[Bridge]
I am holy, and I am righteous oh-ooh…
(Holiness and Righteousness are imputed on us through the gracious working of the Spirit of the Lord when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 says Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him [Christ Jesus].)
I am so rich, and I am beautiful!…
(Rich with money or the divine blessing of Salvation? It is unclear. However, the next line “so beautiful” seems to suggest Sinach is talking physical things – wealth and beauty. What about the one that comes to this song with neither knowledge of who they are nor riches? What are they to do? What about the one that plays this song and they genuinely believed they were beautiful and rich before playing it? Do their beauty or riches mean they know who they are? Are beauty and riches a good yardstick for identity, particularly for Christians? I think not.)

[Chorus 3]
(Also a repetition of the first chorus.)

Take a look at me, I’m a wonder
(A wonder. I wonder what that means. Google says a wonder is a person or thing regarded as very good, remarkable, or effective. Does this attitude sound like humility? Romans 12:3 says For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.)
It doesn’t matter what you see now
(Well, here’s where it got a little lot confusing for me. In the previous line, you asked me to look at YOU, presumably because you ARE [not will be, or was] a person regarded as very good, remarkable, or effective. NOW, you’re telling me it doesn’t matter what I see, after you’ve asked me to see. Specifically, to see YOU. That’s the equivalent of saying “Take a look at me. I’m dark-skinned.” And following that up with “It doesn’t matter what complexion you find my skin is.”)
Can you see His glory?
(At this point, the song became painful. This is Sinach’s defense for saying “it doesn’t matter what you see now”. Because, apparently, we can see God’s glory nonetheless. If I were to put these three lines in one sentence, this would be it; “Take a look at me. I’m dark-skinned. It doesn’t matter if you find I’m light-skinned. I’m still a human being.” Here’s another one that might be more familiar; “Take a look at me, I don’t sin. It doesn’t matter if you catch me sinning. God still loves me.” This kind of goal-post-shifting is very unbiblical and only works to the detriment of the growing Christian. I am convinced that these make-shift, shape-shifting lyrics cannot be inspired by, or representative of, a clear and concise God.)
For I know who I am
(And I am therefore convinced that there might be something lacking in Sinach’s doctrine. She might not know who she really is, because she might not know who God really is.)
Take a look at me, I’m a wonder
(They might have an idea of who God is, or who they want him to be)
It doesn’t matter what you see now
(And they might run with that idea and claim it to be their relationship with Him)
Can you see His glory?
(And when that idea doesn’t work for ‘others’, they will indemnify themselves with umbrella statements about God)
For I know who I am
(And continue giddily along with their Biblically-inaccurate chants, desperately hoping that the power of Sanctification is found in Positive Vibes)

[Outro]
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
(They will chant away)
I know who I am
(And miss the mark)
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
(And miss the mark)
I know who I am
(Every. Single. Time.)
How many of you know who you are?
Come on, come on
Let the world know who you are
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
I know who I am
Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh, oh-ooh-oooh
I know who I am
In your workplace
Going out and coming in [Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh]
(And finally, the sentimental crescendo is about to reach its peak)
Declare it [Oh-ooh-oooh]
(And tell its worst lie)
Say I know [I know who I am]
(Wrapped in a beguiling wave of emotive music)
Every day I [Oh-ooh-oooh, oh-ooh]
Going out and coming in [Oh-ooh-oooh]
Say… [I know who I am!]
(Say I know? You mean to tell me that If I don’t know who I am, all I have to do is SAY I know who I am enough times, and I’ll know? You mean to tell me I can declare my identity into existence? Of course, any sympathizer will conclude that it was merely a musical ad-lib and nothing more. “No need to split hairs, here, okay?” But am I splitting hairs? If the Sinach tells me I can declare my identity in Christ into existence, what else can I declare? Riches? Beauty? Is that what the Bible teaches us, that we can and should declare identity [and perhaps other things] into existence? Surely not. What a catchy song marinated with wrong doctrine.)
I know!
(No, you really don’t. The Bible has never taught partial truths. If a Biblical principle is true for one person, it is true for all. God has no favorites. Therefore, if you tell me I can declare my identity, then everybody on earth can declare their identity as well. If being so rich and beautiful are being shared in this song as direct results of identity, then everyone who has their identity in Christ should be so rich and beautiful. For both accounts, we know this not to be true. The Bible teaches the concept of identity as both a process and product of learning to walk in obedience to God, through his son Jesus Christ, and not a microwavable checkpoint that rewards us for our [lack of] hard work.)

 

As I listened to the song, a couple of things stood out to me that made me uncomfortable for having liked it. They inspired this writing. I’d like to share them here for the reader’s consideration:

  • Me, Myself, and I. Did I like this song simply because it made me feel good about myself, even when there was little to no Biblical basis supporting its intent as well as content? I tried to count the amount of times the word “I” is used. I lost count. On the other hand, God is only mentioned when he has given Sinach what she requires for life and when he has said who she is, never mind that it is directly contradicting her encouraging the listener (who might not even be Christian) to “declare” for themselves who they are.
  • Is it wrong to Boast? The next logical argument was to tell myself I was being overly critical of a fellow Christian and should behave more graciously. What is wrong with a little boasting or harmless celebration? In Romans 5, Paul says that we boast in the hope of the glory of God (v.2) and we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (v.11). Every act of self-aggrandizement, that this song is encouraging, is clearly contrary to what the Bible teaches. The apostle Paul says that I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I couldn’t get the lyrics of the song to line up with the humble posture we are admonished to adopt in the Scriptures.
  • To declare or not to declare? As previously mentioned, if indeed, it is God’s work to say whom you are, as the chorus seems to suggest, why, then, are we told later on in the same song to do God’s work by “declaring it”? Are we replacing God? Doing His job for him? Or simply overstepping?
  • Is it right? Is the assumption that we can “declare it” into existence Biblically sound? What are its benefits and limitations, if any? Where in scripture is it used and how does it glorify the Lord in its practice and product? I couldn’t find any Biblical references or support for it.
  • But, nobody’s perfect. Not even you. Why don’t you just let her be? Well, inasmuch as it is right that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and are unable to please God of our own works (Romans 4:4-5), He has still chosen to trust us with His word and His mandate to the nations, adding that He will be with us till the end (Matthew 28:20) and will enable us to desire and to carry out His will for our lives (Philippians 2:13). This is considerable grounds to carry out our duty with a substantial amount of ‘fear and trembling’ lest our familiarity with God breeds contempt for Him or His commands to us. Since nobody is perfect, Sinach should be willing to receive and consider feedback such as I have presented above, before appropriately addressing the points of contention. After-all, we are one body and we sharpen one another, rebuking in love where we have to, that the saints will be kept from falling away from the faith. Since nobody is perfect, then neither is Sinach, and her excellent crafting of a song does NOT imply that the song’s content is excellent as well. Matthew Westerholm has something to say on this.

I have since concluded that this song is no good for Christians (and Non-Christians alike) and should be avoided in favor of more Biblically-sound entertainment.

stifled swirls

 

No good can come from

an immature brute taming a cyclone.

_

He eventually grumbles when

he expertly domesticates the deafening damsel

_

Only having wooed her

by strangling her into a whisper

splinters and logs

 

My pastor is the best
My pastor is the best
My pastor, quite frankly
is better than the rest

His mic is at his chest
Gosh, he has the biggest pects!
Preaching healing laced with jest,
He reads the scripture with nice spects

***

My president is the best
My president is the best
My president, quite frankly
is better than the rest

His hat on his head mind
A wiser grandpa, none can find
His heart is on his sleeve
He even lets his captives live

***

My opinion is modest
My opinion is modest
My opinion, quite frankly
is modesty at its best

I’m impartial when I judge
On my beliefs, I’d never budge
I’d never steal, come rain or sun
Maybe to feed my wife and son

Ravines and Redemption

 

The falls, they are many
The falls, they are great
The falls, they hurt
The falls, they break

The wounds, they are heavy
The scrapes, oh they ache
The fractures, the fractures
They bind us to our beds

The hearts, they are broken
The pieces, they are stomped
The hopes, they are sprinkled
Upon the fieriest of coals

We have mourned the journey
We have cursed the ravine
But what shall heal you, honey?
Kisses or Medicine?

Injustice: Gods Among Us (Year 1)

 

A seed must die for the plant to grow.

Times come when difficult decisions must be made. Injustice shows that these times are usually triggered by small but significant changes in the characters.

After Superman kills his pregnant fiancé, Lois, under the influence of the Joker’s concoction of Scarecrow’s hallucinating gas and stolen Kryptonite, the man of Steel becomes a thundering bowl of clouded judgement, vengeance, and sentiment-driven reaction (which later gets a support system to form it into a twisted form of pro-action).

The seeds are two. The first is the one of unforgiveness – planted when Superman declines every opportunity to “step back” and grieve. The second is myopic decision-making that is rooted in narcissistic altruism(more on this later) but manifests itself as a mockery of the very values it espouses.

 

Conflict of worldviews

The rift between the two (growing) teams in Injustice stems from a conflict between the two ‘main’ characters of Year 1; Superman and Batman. The issue of contention is the handling of evil and its doers.

Superman (now) believes that the flame of evil must be snuffed out once and for all before it becomes a roaring blaze. He will, for a brief moment, bask in the wafts of a flickering candle flame before plunging it into the dark and frigid depths of the waters.

Batman believes in managing the flame – not blowing it out completely. He contends that no candle has the right to snuff out another – regardless of the danger the misguided or ill-willed candle might be putting the entire house in.

 

Selfishness and Self-serving altruism

The bulk of human decisions are taken purely because we believe they are the most correct. These decisions are founded on narcissistic altruism at best and selfishness at worst. They inevitably serve the majority at best and only the decision-maker at worst but one thing is clear – the decision-maker will always benefit, whether it be in drops or in torrents.

 

Leadership and Serving Team

There are at least two leadership styles that manifest in the events that unfold, particularly after the rift causes people to team up based on their inclinations and/or allegiances.

On the one hand, Superman is the benevolent dictator – transparent, listening, and firm on his choices once he eventually gets around to making them.

On the other hand, Batman is the sociopathic commander – secretive, calculating, and moves with a combination of speed and accuracy.

 

Collateral damage

Both team leaders are not swayed by collateral damage. The assumption is “This is war, and if you’re not prepared to give your life, go back home and tend to your soon-to-be-dead family.” Superman takes fellow heroes’ lives ‘for the greater good’ and Batman sticks to playing chess while his antagonists prance about with the reckless abandon of checkers. The stakes are high and the losses are real – sometimes even heartbreaking.

Dear Theodosia

 

Dear Theodosia
What to say to you
I’d walk a mile
For your grin hits me anew

When you smile
My ego dies
My heart is trapped
In the wrinkles of your eyes

You have come of age
Before our nation
We’ll bleed and fight with you
We’ll make it right with you

When we lay
a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on with you,
Heal Uganda with you
And you’ll blow us all away
Some day
Some day

Yea, you’ll blow us all away
Some day
Some day.

Oh Philipa,
When you twirl,
I am a mess,
You, in that dress

To compliment your beauty
Is to fall down to my knees
And worship God above
Who calls you His

If I could name your smile
I’d name her “Hope”
She helps me cope

Did God on high
Confide His plan for earth
To only you
That confidence you birth
Is something new

My father was (ish) around
(My father was (ish) around)
I’ll try my best to be there for you
I’ll try whatever it takes
(I’ll make a million mistakes)
I’ll help you steward your grace for Truth

You have come of age
Before our nation
We’ll bleed and fight with you
We’ll make it right with you

When we lay
a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on with you,
Heal Uganda with you
And you’ll blow us all away,
Some day
Some day

Yea, you’ll blow us all away
Some day
Some day.

 

Adapted from the song “Dear Theodosia” off the Hamilton Broadway Musical
Featured image: Jamila Woods