May I have some more?

 

Now at the dining table, stomach rumbling, she feels the saliva flood from under her tongue as the whetting wafts wiggle around in her nostrils and tickle her stomach further.

The next wave of rumbling is audible. She hesitates to clench her stomach and dampen the sound, but she is now hungry enough to give up all civility.

“Eh, madam! Is that your stomach?” Mother asks.

“I’m so hungry, I could eat a whole zebra!” she belts.

“With or without the stripes?” Mother asks.

They share a laughter that reminds her of the old days when Mother told them folk stories under the blanket of load-shedding. She can almost smell the cologne the grass wore and the insults the crickets chirped out before dawn came and the chickens were back to peck them off, one at a time.

Silence.

Mother tows a plate overflowing with food but with none falling off the sides. She places it in front of her ‘little girl’. The opposite side of the table tips upward.

“Curry! With chicken! Mummy!”

Mother places a fork beside the plate.

“You still like it, yes? Oba you now only take ships-sheeken?”

“Hahaa. But you never give me ships-sheeken money, mummy..”

“Anti I’m not your father”

They both burst out laughing. “There’s more food, by the way..” Mother says as she returns to the kitchen wiping a tear off her face with her kitenge.

“Okay, mummy”

Her ‘little girl’ looks at the mound of food before her and savours the seconds. The hunger burns deeper now that its fire is yet to be quenched. Every second that goes by that she doesn’t dive into the food head-first is her taunting the hunger that has currently taken her stomach hostage. She considers whipping out her phone for an instagram collage but remembers she left it charging in her room when she came downstairs to eat. She smiles at the plate. The burdened plate shoots back a weary but glad smile.

She lifts her gaze to the tip of the food, where a blob of creamy-golden curry soup is oozing down the clumped vegetable rice, gently pausing in between the grains to seep through before continuing on down to gently glaze the already-glistening chicken drumstick. It pauses at the meat-laden end of the tender chicken piece and collects about itself before gently letting itself glide down the curves of the piece, to the doodo at the foot of the mountain of food.

She closes her eyes and inhales the royal white of the rice, the rich green of the doodo, the shimmering gold of the curry, the thoughtful brown of the chicken, and the broad broth of savoury scents gently nudging her heart to flutter.

She takes the fork from the table mat and takes a gentle stab at the culinary craft. The food responds gently and graciously. She lifts the fork out of the side with a bit of everything – rice, curry, a string of doodo, and a curry-chicken-fillet piece lodged in between the fork’s tines.

She opens up and offloads the entire fork’s contents. She closes her eyes and chews slowly, each meeting of the jaws raising her cheeks until a smile has formed on her face.

She swallows.

Then she speaks.

“Please Mummy, may I have some more?”

 

Impasse-able

 

Jeremy always hated this time of the day. As soon as he’d stepped out their breezy air-conditioned office lobby whose interior design was, palette for palette and wall for wall, an albeit-smaller replica of their European headquarters, and into the sweltering reality of the country he was living in, he’d in a hair of a second re-imagined his trip home and felt whatever little of his heart was left sink into his still-well-pressed dark-gray chinos. The air was thick with a bland discomfort that he could swear he couldn’t see but could feel embrace him and everyone shuffling about him. It was like a symbiote, leaping from invisible infinity and latching firmly and conclusively onto one’s face before slithering into their nostrils and tunneling its way into their lungs to furnish them with its invisible mass and suffocate them with its overbearing thickness. It always felt like a slow suffocation as he trudged the sidewalk to the unruly heap of taxis stacking voices over hoots over bags and over boots a few meters ahead. The sounds were blended so intricately that what one heard was a single consistent torrent of what could only be described as a song of agony.

As he headed toward the song of agony, he mentally prepared himself for the copious amounts of human and vehicular traffic that came with the time of day. He navigated his mental library to the box folder with files of complaints he had lodged, and skimmed through the cluster of files on public transportation, each flip of paper adding to the festering blob of angst unobtrusively lodged between his right white cotton shirt pocket and his now-moist backside layered with his off-brand vest, white cotton shirt, and laptop bag backside. His demeanor and gait buckled under the weight of his thoughts and morphed to match them since in this country, it was okay to look displeased – frustrated even – but you never ever voiced your displeasure lest you be laughed at, and never spoke about your frustration lest you be scoffed at and labeled naive.

“ah ah ah – ih ah…
ah ka wa – tih nda…
nakaWA – NTINDA…
NAKAWA NAKAWA, – NTINDA…” a reprise from the song of agony softly pierced through his ears and yanked him away from the company of his thoughts and back to the world at hand, with an urgency that was numbing to those who drifted toward political correctness, such as himself. He had, in an instant, been transported from being a human, observing a bee-hive from a safe-enough distance, to being a bee transfixed in the middle of the buzzing drama of the hive, being bumped into, and brushing up with fellow bees as everyone tried to make their way to their hexagonal abodes before sun-down. As he stood there, slowly breathing in the choking wafts of apathy, a scrawny taxi tout yanked at his arm, hoping to interest him in the last available seat in a taxi that was now enthusiastically inching back and forth between two others still stocking up on human beings, trying to make its way out of the packed parking.

“Ntinda, yes?” the tout offered, eyebrows raised and other hand pointing to the open taxi door. A muffled barrage of unpleasantries came from the direction of the taxi driver, who seemed to have managed to face the front of the taxi road-ward and was now eager to leave, but the tout stayed focused on this target he had scoped out.
Jeremy nodded. In a flash, the tout dashed ahead of him, hoisted himself into the now-slowly-gliding vehicle and double-tapped the metallic inner side-paneling that formed the door frame, and the taxi revved to a halt. By now, Jeremy had followed suit and floated toward the taxi, and was at its doorway when the tout swiveled outward from his small foldable seat to make a path for Jeremy to bend and leap into the only free adjoining seat, right next to a thick older lady who seemed to have overflowed into some of the  free seat as well. Once seated, he turned his head to the right, in her direction, and nodded – head motioning downward – at her. She nodded back. He faced forward again.

The sliding taxi door slammed shut as he sat, drastically muffling the song of agony, and the screaming in his mind lowered ever so slightly in pitch. He unconsciously rubbed repeatedly, in a unidirectional manner, above his wrist where the tout had yanked, as if to will blood to return to the previously-clamped area.

“Nakawa, lukumi mu bitaano. Ntinda biri. Lukumi mu bitaano zikoma ku stage ye’Nakawa, small gate ziba biri! {eng: Nakawa is 1500, and Ntinda is 2000.}” the tout broadcast with Jeremy’s ear being the closest to the source of the announcement and thus suffering that unnecessary auditory affliction. His heart doubly-winced, first at the tout’s lack of courtesy, and more importantly, at the absurd fare increase. 2000 shillings to Ntinda? And nobody is complaining? Wabula these taxi guys are bayaaye!

He hadn’t up-to this point realized that, in rushing to sit for the fear of potentially also being yelled at by the driver, he’d not removed his laptop bag from his back and was now planted awkwardly in his seat, his face a few centimeters from the shaky metallic horizontal guard rail that run across the width of the taxi and divided the driver, co-driver, and co-co-driver seats at the front from the rest of the passenger seats at the back. He, with as little motion as possible, both from lack of space and fear of attracting undue attention from other passengers, maneuvered about with his black faux-leather-and-textured-fabric, zipper-laced appendage until it was resting in his lap and his sweat-drenched back firmly planted into the taxi seat. He unzipped a small top-facing compartment and pulled out a small 2-foot braided wire with a plastic bump at its center and an earbud at each end. He closed the compartment, plugged in the earbuds, pressed contemplatively at the buttons on the plastic bump, and closed his eyes as he let go of it, resting both his hands on the upper carry handle of his laptop bag.

 

 

***

 

 

He wasn’t sure he was dreaming when he felt a poke at his shoulder, but the repeated words that followed it both woke him up and alerted him to the presence of a now-agitated customer seated to his right.
“Sseebboooo… I’m getting out!” she repeated, slightly louder than the previous time she’d said it. Life slowly rushed back to him. It felt like trying to fold a fist with a hand temporarily paralyzed from having sat or slept on it. As the floodgates of his ears opened, he started to pick up the reprise of the hailing tout, the percussion of activity behind him which felt like people climbing into and out of the taxi, and then the heart-numbing crescendo of yet another set of verses from the song of agony. His neighbor was now already facing him, her full chest nudging the top of his laptop bag away from its previous vertical position, and her knees pushing against his so that they yawed toward the taxi doorway. He raised and turned his head toward her, met with her murky eyes as if to confirm receipt of her requests, and motioned his body to temporarily exit the taxi so she could alight. The old gentleman that had been her neighbor, occupying the window seat, stayed. A young lady leapt into the front row and occupied the seat her senior had previously been in. Jeremy unconsciously leapt in after her, and sat back in ‘his spot’, although it felt a much more spacious now. He pressed once on the buttoned plastic bump, faced over to his right and waved at the young lady, mouthing a mute ‘hello’ and nodding his head downward a bit. Still facing forward, she moved her eyes to meet his, and moved them back to their previous location. He faced forward again and clasped his bag with both hands. Tightly.

The door shutting and the tout sitting happened almost simultaneously, him bumping into Jeremy’s left side. Jeremy did not react since he was still recovering from his failed attempt at courtesy.

“Small gate, bitaano. Ntinda lukumi. Bitaano bikoma ku small gate, Spear ziba lukumi! {eng: Small gate is 500, and Ntinda is 1000.}” the tout broadcast again, primarily into Jeremy’s ear, and secondarily to the rest of the passengers. Thankfully, this time, Jeremy’s earbuds blocked out most of the barrage, only letting in the communique. He pressed again at the plastic bump and resumed clasping his bag in both hands. He squinted his eyes and slightly craned his neck forward, as if to focus on some distant object in the darkness of night that had enveloped the town by this time.

 

 

***

 

 

As their taxi burst from a dark stretch and turned the corner toward the Ntinda town center which also doubled as the final taxi stage on this journey, harsh lights, pale figures, and blurry silhouettes formed the activity that awaited them. Now at the stage, the driver decelerated as he turned to his left-hand side and brought the vehicle to an abrupt jerk that killed both motion and engine sound, within millimeters of the bumper of another taxi. The signature sliding door slid open one last time in its dull monotone that transposed into a clicky thud as it snapped into place and created way for passengers to alight. The tout stood some four feet away from the doorway and received fare from alighting passengers that made no eye contact. Jeremy swiveled outward about his seat, and with the laptop bag in one hand, leapt out of the taxi and stood right in front of the tout.

“Ezizo, boss? {eng: Your money, boss.}” the tout stated, looking beyond Jeremy.

Jeremy pulled out with his free hand, a 1000 shilling note from his side pocket and handed it to the tout.

“Kubulako lukumi, boss. Nabagambye nkumi biri. {eng: Add another 1000, boss. I said 2000}” the tout stated, as he stretched his hand out to receive two 500-shilling coins from the young lady that had emerged from behind Jeremy.

“No! You said Ntinda is 1000 shillings!” Jeremy replied.

“No No No No No! Ntinda is 2000 boss. Sasula ssente.” the tout retorted, shaking his head rapidly. He seemed to be looking beyond Jeremy again. The old gentleman came from behind Jeremy and stood beside him, also facing the tout, with a 2000-shilling note in his open palm. The tout received the fare from him as Jeremy responded, one hand on the old man’s shoulder.

“Wama, Sir, didn’t he say it was 1000 to Ntinda?” Jeremy asked, moving his hand from the old man’s shoulder to 5-finger-point at the tout.

“He did.” the old man replied, as he turned to walk away.

“Kati yye Mzee ng’asasudde enkumi biri? Mwembi temwajilinyidde wamu? {eng: If that’s the case, why has Mzee paid the entire 2000? Didn’t you both board at the same stage?}” the tout retorted, eyes narrower and voice louder. One of the front doors on the taxi slammed shut behind Jeremy.

“Eh, if he has money to waste, that’s his choice. You said Ntinda is 1000. I’ve paid you. What do you want?” Jeremy also responded in a louder voice.

“Bano ba corporate bayaaye! Nze baantama!” the driver bellowed from behind them as he approached, his thick shadow preceding him and engulfing both Jeremy and the tout in artificial shade. Now besides both Jeremy and the tout, he turned to Jeremy and, in his best American accent declared, “Iffu you boarding befor’ Nakawa stage, ezo biri – Ntinda is 2000 sh’rings. Bw’oba walinye – iffu you boarding in Nakawa stage – Ntinda is one thousa–.”

“–Anha! You see? Even the driver has said Ntinda is 1000. Now, what?” Jeremy said as he hoisted his laptop bag back onto his back.

notes.txt

 

This is a conversation between two youth workers at one of the lesser-known Church-leaders gatherings around town at their boss, the Reverend’s, request. They’re seated at the back where nobody can hear them debate under their breaths. Their conversation eventually escalates, so they decide to continue it on one of their phones lest they disrupt the proceedings.

 

X: …but can you be Anglican and still be born again? Is being born again denominational? Are we confusing Pentecostalism as being born again?

Y: Interesting. First explain Pentecostalism for me.

X: Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Protestant Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Y: I get it now.
I don’t think it is denominational. However, because people have cultures that they’ve come from (which are religiously influenced/biased), navigating the way Jesus enters their lifestyle is tricky. The thing to pursue, i think, is to emphasize letting Christian teaching influence (and result in) Christian practice regardless of where they’re from.

X: Exactly, we are still getting it twisted.

Y: I agree. We’ve turned (or assumed) a relationship with Christ (being born again) into yet another religion (Pentecostalism).

X: What does RELATIONSHIP with Jesus mean? How many times have you seen it in the Bible as an indication of having faith in Christ?

Y: “Relationship with Christ” is what we’ve called becoming a follower of Christ. Come to think of it, i don’t know where it is mentioned in the Bible. I’ve never seen it.

X: There in lies another problem. Following Christ is a whole other ball game from this ‘relationship’ jazz. The analogy used was/is Marriage, a lifetime commitment. First look at what we’ve turned marriages into, then look at the relationships we have. Then apply that use of the word to the current spiritual use of the word.

Y: Self-serving. Temporary. Departure at will. Selfish. Myopic. This is so true! Comparing and contrasting the two, it’s no wonder we are struggling. Maybe the analogy for our generation should’ve been “job/ work” but even those ones, we quit as soon as we’re tired, whether or not we have rent for that month.

X: “Relationship” with Christ is “God/The Spirit told me”. The Word tells us what it means but nah, it’s too hard. So we’ve replaced it with what we feel. Do people know what committing one’s life to Christ really means?

Y: Servitude. Slaves. Paul even uses that word. Many times. A commitment that is not hinged (solely) on sentiment. I agree that the relationship is exactly what it is. But because God is not here to physically say “that guy is not mine. he just says he is”, anyone can and has taken any and all carnal experiences and labelled them “my relationship with Christ” .

X: Is it evident in our?

Y: Is what evident?

X: The sentimentalism.

Y: Hah. Yes.

X: We’ve also been sentimental, so how do we help? Minus Bible Study and our own reformation, is there anything else we can do?

Y: (Side note: We make money so we can show the unbelievers that our God can give money since that’s their standard of “good”)
So, that sentimentalism, it is the bane of our generation. We really have to live unlike what we’ve been told/taught. I think the Bible is the only way there.

 

Unbeknownst to them, someone at the front on the microphone utters a distinct “Amen” and they return their attention to the proceedings as the audience responds likewise. It’s lunch time. They get up and shuffle to the line in contemplative silence. Or hunger. It’s hard to tell with these things.

Tabitha & Timothy

 

Tabitha (Facebook post)

Happy Birthday, Timothy!

May you have silky skies and classy clouds.

May you never forget to smile that smile you smile. Oh, that smile.

May your life be painless,

your heart break less,

your wallet shrink less,

and your horizon endless.

I love you to Mars and back!

Happy Birthday, my Timothy!

 

Arnold (inner monologue)

Oh, wow! I didn’t know today was Timothy’s birthday. That’s nice… Bambi Tabitha is so expressive in her love for Timo. How long have they been together, now? 6 months? Or 5? Doesn’t matter. Hahahaa! Mbu “Wallet shrink less…” I should take a screenshot this post and disturb him in his inbox!

 

Bruce (inner monologue)

Oh, wow! This is really beautiful! Bambi Tabitha is so expressive in her love for me… This is so exciting! Who knew? A lowly me? With a beauty like her? “I love you to Mars and back!” I love you, too, Tabitha! I should take a screenshot of this post and put it on my Whatsapp status… Oh, how she loves me!

 

Charlie (inner monologue)

Oh, wow! I didn’t know today was Timothy’s birthday. That’s… interesting. So now, Tabitha is over the moon in her love for Timo? Huh. How long have they been together, now? 4 months? Or 3? Mbu “Wallet shrink less…” She’s only with him for the money, of course. I should take a screenshot this post and keep it for when she breaks up with him. I know she will… It’s just a matter of time.

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”

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