Tag Archives: religion

The Reverend Mason Betha Devotional: Book of Life After Death, Chapter 10

Every Monday I will share an anecdote and/or existential life lesson based on teachings from your favorite rapper’s favorite pastor, Ma$e.

“Stay humble, stay low, blow like Hootie.”

Prosperity preachers often get a bad rap. The public perceive them as pompous and pious people who pillage Peter to pay themselves. Most miss the undercurrent of humility and thankfulness in their message. Ma$e is an expert propagator of this narrative.

Rev. Betha grew tired of speaking as a gun-toting product of his environment. His contribution to 112’s ode to showing one’s woman love the way God loves us all, “Only You (Bad Boy Remix),” aka “Songs of Solomon, 1996,” garnered the young man a clear path to success.

Spending time with a different crowd, M-A-Dollar Sign-E felt compelled to explain the entrapment of success with the world on a song called “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” The newcomer felt obligated to expound on modesty and servant leadership.

Had Cuda not schooled Mase to the game, he would not have known his duty. At 19 years old, the good reverend was “mostly Dolce down to the tube socks” because God sent Cuda Love to guide him.

The most salient advice Mr. Love had for his protégé  was given in one incomplete sentence: Stay humble, stay low, blow like Hootie. The seven-word parable was layered with information. There was a fictional tale about a black man who made country and rock music named Darius Rucker from South Carolina.

In this tall tale, Rucker was the lead singer of a band called the Blowfish. They toured the southern states of America playing to audiences that loved his music; but wasn’t too fond of the pigment of his skin. The racist crowds disliked Darius but loved his music so much. To get under his skin, these audiences referred to him as “Hootie,” a derogatory term for disgraceful music that originated with Bell BivDeVoe’s second album, Hootie Mack.

Rucker took the high road by “staying low.” He already stood out like a sore thumb as the one black guy everywhere he went; but the music was most important. Instead of making a fuss, he quietly changed the name of the quartet to Hootie and the Blowfish. They sold millions of records and whenever they asked if Darius was Hootie, he’d say “That’s just a name for the band.” Once again, this is all folklore…Charlie Pride and Nelly were the only two black people that made country music.

Ma$e told the world he never would have made it without mentorship and humility. Yes, he danced in tunnels, threw his Rolex in the sky and waived it side to side; but he was still the same ol’ pimp with a changed limp. Scholars have argued the Harlemite’s limp was because he too wrestled with God like Jacob in the book of Genesis; but that’s for another devotional.

We all need and have Cuda’s in our lives. They are the proverbial villages that raise us, tell us right from wrong, and give us guidance we often miss when directly displayed from the divine. Nelly too listened to Cuda’s fable of Hootie and the Blowfish; it worked out very well for him.

 

My Life in 100 Songs: Inshallah by Goodie Mob

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“How can I promise you forever when I can’t even promise the rest of today?  All I know is we started this journey together; hopefully we can make it the rest of the way, Insha’Allah.”

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were conversing on the phone.  She was telling me about her plans for a business she had been slowly developing plans for.  She talked passionately about it and after what I would call as a Christian “speaking things into existence,” she ended her sentence with “Insha’Allah.”

She explained that in the Muslim faith, Insha’Allah means “God willing” that one says when making or speaking about future plans.  The belief is that everything is maktub-or written-meaning that things will only happen if God allows it.  Essentially, it is a practice of submission.

Infinitely curious and putting two-and-two together, I thought about a song on Goodie Mob’s second album entitled “Inshallah.”  The song began to make a lot of sense.  Rapper-turned-singer Cee-Lo sings the chorus three different times.  The first time it is sung softly, the second a little louder, and the last one is belted.  It was as if as the song progressed the singing represented this idea of submission to God’s will.  It was always a favorite of mine off of Still Standing; but this made it the frontrunner.

The next day I found myself listening to the song repeatedly.  I like deep conversation in which I can learn things from others and pontificate about my own place in the grand scheme of things. Whenever I pray on things I go to Him with whatever is on my heart and say “have your way.” I seldom pray for things twice because once I’ve said that I’m putting it in His hands. As my favorite biblical scripture says, I don’t worry about tomorrow, for it will worry about itself (Matthew 6:33).

This is a constant battle. I’m a planner. After gathering as much information I gauge what are the possibilities and based on the variables what will happen based on probability knowing who and what is involved. I am a true believer in Rudyard Kipling’s second to last line in Invictus: I am the captain of my own fate. I don’t think there’s anything I can make happen unless there is divine intervention to circumvent it. For once in my life, I’m trying to just live for a season. I guess I’m leaning a little more towards just doing my part and letting the rest happen. So far, doing all of the above has worked for me. In fact, meeting my friend who introduced insha’Allah to me was me taking fate into my hands and making it happen with keeping in mind God will make things happen and things will fall into place.

Because of this belief I have always had, I take the idea of living for today seriously. For most people my age, “tomorrow isn’t promised” is an abstract concept. My peers and I are young, so the laws of average suggest that there will be a tomorrow. It is not an ideal for me; but practice and applied knowledge because of the journey God has ordained for me. I don’t make promises because my word is everything. If I feel a way about someone today I will let then know. If I love you I consider you a priority that I want to bask in that light. For all I know, I could be gone tomorrow. It is also the reason I don’t hold a grudge. For what?

That’s all for now…tomorrow there will be another song and post, insha’Allah.

Being Stubborn Leads to Blessings

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There are two people I relate to the most in the bible: Jacob and Solomon.  Solomon was wise at a young age, and being to smart for his own good was his downfall (that’s the short version).  I’m going to focus on why I relate to much to Jacob.  Jacob was the youngest of fraternal twins.  His name literally means “heel grabber” or “he who supplants” because in order to be born he literally grabbed onto the heel of his brother Essau.  I’m the younger fraternal twin as well.  Essau was the outdoorsman and Jacob more or less was the quiet one.  Most of my friends who know me are in disbelief when I tell them that between m sister and I that I am the laid back and mellow one.  While I am outgoing, I’m the quiet person who stands out in a corner somewhere.  It’s not until I warm up to people that it’s known how much I have the gift of gab.  Very seldom do I feel like I need all eyes on me.  I’ve always been one to focus my attention on the one or two I want to pay attention and manipulate the circumstances for that to happen.  Quiet and cerebral.

Because Esau was the oldest, in theory he was supposed to receive his birthright from their father Issac.  Jacob’s mother felt otherwise.  Issac being blind, Rebekah deceived her husband and Jacob was given the birthright.  It’s as if Jacob and his mother both knew that there was something that he was worthy of and deserving, but it would require guile and tenacity to get what was rightfully his.  I feel like this often.  I don’t know what it is, nor do I think that I am better than anyone else.  Intuitively I have an idea of something I was put here to do.

After realizing what happened t he’d sold his blessing to his brother, Esau vowed to kill Jacob when their father died.  Jacob had to flee and leave everything he knew behind.  In the last couple of years I’ve felt like I have had to flee whatever I was before.  In what seems like the desert or wilderness going from place to place trying to make things happen out of nowhere has been my adult life particularly the latter part of my twenties.  Not fearing the wilderness, Jacob heard God speak to him.  He’d seen the ladder to the gates of heaven.  I’m sure he was unsure of why he was seeing all of this.  He got married and had children.  He lived and made due.

Jacob was heading back to Canaan, where he was originally from.  Knowing that his brother was still looking to kill him he’d sent gifts and his family ahead of him and stayed on the other side of the river that night.  He was approached by a mysterious man and they wrestled all night.  Jacob knew who it was and vowed to wrestle with God and demand a blessing.  Jacob was so stubborn and unwilling to bend to this that the angel touched Jacob on his thigh.  Jacob would have a limp the rest of his life but that still wasn’t enough.  By daybreak, God told him that his name was no longer Jacob, but Israel.

We all know the story for here.  If you don’t here’s the really abridged version.  Israel had twelve sons that became the twelve tribes.  One son’s name was Judah.  Judah’s family line consisted of a man named Boaz who married a woman named Ruth.  Boaz and Ruth’s grandson’s name was Jesse.  Jesse’s youngest son was a boy named David who killed a giant and became king.  If I’m correct, twelve generations later from that lineage came a man named Joseph.  Joseph was the father to Mary and we just celebrated his birth December 25th.  The bible is literally is the story of one family.

I’m not a stubborn person.  In fact, only one person in my life has ever called me so and that was months ago (they said it again about two weeks ago but whatever).  In fact, I’m the opposite.  I’m often too compromising.  I’ll often sacrifice what I want or what I need for the sake of others.  I think this laid back approach can be detrimental to me as well.  I think I approach prayer this way as well.  I’ll pray to God for things that I want, or wanted to be blessed, say “God have your way” and pretty much leave it alone.  I’ll still work towards what I’ve prayed for but I leave it up to God.  If I want certain blessings from God I have to be willing to wrestle Him for it.  Be a pest.  Let Him know “Yo, I’m not backing off on this until you make this happen.”  I really do talk to God like that.  I or you can’t be afraid of if wrestling with God in such a manner will injure you.  Israel was much happier walking around with that limp and his blessing than just being Jacob and the life he could have had.

One of the things friends of mine have said is that one of my best qualities is that no matter what I make things happen.  There’s no amount of work that I won’t put into whatever to get what I need or what I want.  There aren’t too many people that will work as hard as I will to make what is a thought or a vision come to fruition.  Only God saying no and literally shutting the door in my face is when I back off.

…Well maybe I am stubborn then.  To my friend who said I am you’re right.  I’ll chill when I get that blessing and limp with pride.