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In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it is:
MARCH ONLINE EXPRESSIONS EDITION
Jubilee Afrikana rocks Hilton Hotel in Downtown
greatest place to gather with 800 other Christians from all over the United
States to worship God?
It lasts an entire weekend
and includes guest speakers, concerts, poetry slams, Hip Hop knowledge, room
service, a big hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, and not to mention the undeniable
presence of the Lord. Jubilee Afrikana is the answer, and if you missed it this
year I suggest you contact me for next year.
On Friday night of Feb 22,02,
I met up with a few people from my group Ambassadors for Christ (AFC) and got to
the Hilton downtown and met a crowd of students. At
8:30 pm. Lakita Garth spoke about Hip Hop culture. She reminded us that it is
everywhere even in small towns where you may think TV doesn’t exist. And for
those who didn’t know, Hip Hop is not just for black folk. I’ll tell you
something I didn’t know; Hip Hop is huge in Japan! Sure, America is impacting
everyone with Hip Hop; unfortunately most Christian artists are underground.
They are busting their butts to get their music heard.
“Where are the
Christians?” said Garth. “We need more Christians in the media and in
Hollywood, because L.A. is the 20th century gateway.” The room was so crowded
that people were standing outside the doorway.
Later that night at the
concert, Jabali Afrika was present to give us a taste of Kenya’s best music.
It was a blend of African rhythms complete with a guitar, two drum-sets and
three men decked in traditional garb, and ready to entertain.
The ballroom was packed;
everyone was dancing, jumping, screaming, and singing words that we couldn’t
even understand. I stood toward the front with a few friends but was reluctant
to get on stage when one man motioned for volunteers.
Hey, I was happy as pie just watching from below.
I wasn’t in the mood to be in the spotlight you know, but a friend in
AFC was eager to get on stage and strut her stuff, and she did just that. AFC
made sure to whoop and holler so everyone knew that we had a representative!
“100 percent”, Jabali Afrika harmonized. Unfortunately we, the audience, had
a tough time rolling the R in percent so we had a brief lesson. Saturday morning
started with a brief talk, and then after lunch we split up into our tracks.
On my list was “Education;
Surviving and Thriving” because I am an English education major. It was an
hour and 15 minutes of wisdom being poured out into a class full of future
educators. Rev. Ricky Burgess spoke about the hierarchy of Christian commitment.
Love of Christ, spiritual self, family, church, community, and creation.
He made it clear that to love
your neighbor, as yourself requires
loving yourself first. But that doesn’t mean you look in the mirror and say
“Oh, yes, oh my! Wow, what a body, these curves, these muscles! No.” It
means loving the Christ that is within yourself and when you can do that, you
can love your neighbor, because God loves you.
Rev. Burgess also commented
that church is any place where Christians gather together. You don’t need a
building to declare that you are in church, which is also a concept addressed in
the movie Stigmata, but that’s a whole other article.
“If I could teach you one
thing, I would teach you to be good listeners. Not enough people listen
anymore.”, said Rev. Burgess, before we left the room.
Many people don’t know that
there is a difference between listening and hearing. To hear is involuntary; you
hear since the second you are born. To listen is voluntary because it takes
being actively involved in conversation. It is important to care in order to
listen. Of course he made sure to remind us that God always listens.
Saturday night was dedicated
to a poetry Lyricist lounge/ Poetry slam. A girl from Philly read an untitled
poem about a girl who felt she was a damaged good and was ecstatic to know that
Christ loved her despite her many flaws. She realized that she could not wash
herself of all the sin that she had committed no matter how much soap she used,
and how hard she scrubbed. Only the Lord could do that, so she accepted him into
her heart and asked for forgiveness.
We talked more
about how Christian artists need a platform to get their music out on the
streets, and sent out a list for people who were interested in developing a
street team. AFC was first in line to sign.
After dinner we returned to the hotel for the Lyricist lounge/poetry
slam. Three groups got on stage to give us a taste of their talent. Before
starting, one lyricist spoke about how Jesus asked Peter to fish for the souls
of men because fishing was his passion. He related the story to students
who struggled with deciding
on a career, and who fear that God will call them to a career that is not
something they will like. He said, “God told Peter to fish for men’s souls,
in this same way God will call you to minister to people using the skill that
you are good at and that you love. I can rap so I use my rap to do God’s
Sunday morning we had a
Worship service, and Dr. Marva J. Dawn an author, and preacher/ educator
preached. She too spoke about loving your neighbor as yourself, and made an
important comment about being egotistical. It can cause a person to forget that
God provides us with everything we need. She shared a story with us about when
she was poor. During her time in campus ministry, she invited students over for
dinner. One night she realized she didn’t have any money for food. She prayed
to God to help her out because she knew that he told her to invite the students
for dinner. She drove to the campus and in her mailbox was a blank white
envelope with $10 dollars. She doesn’t know who physically put it there, but
she knows it was God’s doing. Isn’t everything?
This article is only a tiny portion of everything I took away from this past weekend. To get a better picture you will have to speak to the 800 students who were also present. To get the whole picture you will have to attend the conference. Trust me, you will not regret it. Jubilee Afrikana is open to anyone of any ethnicity, from every background. Don’t be discouraged by a name, or a dearth of knowledge about Christ and Christianity. If this article moved you in anyway, I encourage you to get in touch with me. I’m just a click away. If you feel something stirring inside you, don’t sit back and say, “Probably what I ate for lunch.” No, no, no!. It’s God working through me to reach you.
Jubilee Afrikana is
sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach that ministers to university
and college students in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
More specifically it is a convention that addresses the issues that face African American students. Gene Tibbs, director of my campus ministry group Ambassadors for Christ (AFC) told me about Jubilee Afrikana, so this is a big thanks to him for spreading the word.