It is better to have and not need than want and not have. This is a lesson I have learned with Mark (My camera). Sometimes I go out with my camera just incase there is something interesting to snap. I went to an amazing event called Poets in Autumn thanks to a good friend Gloria who asked me to come along to experience some Jesus culture. I was not familiar with the poetry scene at all. The event was awesome and the poets did an amazing job. Most importantly I was pleased with the images I captured.
I did not know what to expect at the event. I was quite sceptic, for firstly I had paid good money to oversees talent to whom I had never met and secondly I was not sure why the U.K was not supporting it's own talent. We also had VIP tickets, which for a Christian event I can never fully get as surely "everyone is important". The VIP tickets essentially gave access to a question and answer session and the main performance.
As I arrived in the City Gates Church upper room, it was good to see the place was packed full of creatives. They lined up to ask questions, show their appreciation and even give a word of prayer to the talent. One of the questions I remember being asked was about how to set a piece of spoken word that will make a point but not be too controversial. The response was on point, the responder simply said that to speak through the lens of love and if you feel inspired to challenge a practice or idea do it with good intentions. The speaker went on to say that if your intention is to be controversial then it will not be effective. This is true universally, sometimes we want to have an impact but forget that the way in which we do things has a significant difference on how effective the result is.
The first poet was called Briggs, he is noted as one of the top 50 poets in the U.K. From what I recall his poetry was about black men stepping up in relationships. He encouraged and urged the people through spoken word to be good husbands and fathers. To be faithful, reliable and true. He highlighted that it should be the norm for men to be there for their children, to be there for their family. His words rang many truths and was truly an inspirational rendition to hear.
It was now the Americans turn and we kicked off with Ezekiel and Perry. This rendition was quite interesting as it started off with two brothers talking about their relationships. They confided in each other and comically mentioned things they did not like that their wives do. They spoke about the difficulties in communication and how sometimes they feel things are done in the wrong way.
The conversations then flipped as they reflected on themselves and looked at what could be done to support their wives. They discussed in depth about the importance of intimacy and affection. One line I remember is "Can we just talk and hug for a while". They also discussed conflicts within relationships and looked at both sides of the story. By the end of this demonstration I was really inspired to put into practice the things that had been brought up.
Chris Webb opened up wit a controversial statement. He stated that to people Jesus was three things.
1) A Joke
2) A slave if you are black (White man's god)
3) A political ploy to stop gays.
Interestingly he did not attempt to directly challenge the conceptions. Instead he went deeper and asked a question "What is religion?" He went on to talk about how people see God and religion. He asked a question that whether people's perception of the church was due to a church that cannot demonstrate "God". He challenged the perceptions of the audience by asking "Have we the church given a true reflection of God?"
He spoke about three different approaches to the gospel message. Firstly the prosperity gospel which preaches that God will bless and does not train people to deal with hardships. He moved on to a judgemental gospel which showed no love and was very penal. He lastly covered a super grace gospel which was too soft as it failed to uphold the principles of God. He summed it up with a lovely line "The gospel is beautifully offensive".
Solomon spoke about a fear of commitment and gave the analogy of a frequent flyer. He vividly described a person who struggled to commit to relationship with this analogy. He showed how it all seemed glamorous and exciting to be flying from place to place. But he hit reality when he explained that a frequent flyer is not settled. He used lines such as "I am more than exit roads and departure gate". He ended on a exhortation of being brave and committed rather than choosing the easy option and running away "flying away is not hard, staying is!".
Janette IKZ spoke on photoshop, unfortunately it was not the camera kind. However, she still smashed it. She spoke on a deep to the core topic. Her experience of being sexually abused as a child by trusted adults. How she became so use to it she had a preference on what type of abuse she faced as some forms were less painful. She was transparent with some questions that came her way like "Why would someone want their own begotten".
She went on to talk about how it affected her during school, how she blamed herself for being molested. How she would wear baggy clothing to try and limit abuse. Shockingly how she was treated by her own church who showed her up as an example of what not to wear (looking at the outside appearance and not noticing a young hurting girl trying to protect herself).
She recalled her anger towards God and how this became a barrier towards her healing. After all this painful information I thought to myself surely by now she lost hope. But somehow she gathered her strength, she testified that she felt that God healed her pain and trauma and gave her the strength to be a help for others. She ended on a passage from Romans "I recon the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in the future".
Overall it was a great event, so much content to share but I don't want to share too much (I want you to hear it for yourself). I would definitely go again maybe next time hired to snap the event. Sometimes trying new things really pays off. I was challenged, inspired and taken on a journey. Poets In Autumn will be back next Autumn, why not give it a go.
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