Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Mister & Pete's Shared Shame

I have always enjoyed watching movies portraying life in African American ghettos. This is despite the fact that though the movies are always engaging (and often humorous) they tend to be poorly directed. George Tillman’s Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete is an excellent break with the mold. It tells the story of 13 year old Mister (Skylan Brooks) raised by a single mom Gloria (Jennifer Hudson) who is struggling to keep her family together as she battles prostitution and drugs.

The tough home environment has left Mister struggling in school with his hope now firmly anchored on becoming an actor, thanks to the heavy dose of DVDs and video games that have become a form of escape from the horrors of real life. The situation is acerbated when Gloria is apprehended by the police, leaving Mister and 9 year old Pete (Ethan Dizon), the son of Gloria’s friend,  fighting for survival as they forage for food while dodging child protective services and ghetto bullies.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Flesh in the Mirror

I was blaming Satan and the world for my spiritual state of health,
Until I checked out flesh in the mirror and spelt “S.E.L.F”
as the prime suspect and culprit.
Preaching from the highest pulpit
but in the prayer room I’m claustrophobic.
I know its deep,
I know I’m weak,
You know me forever gossiping
But when its time for witnessing, I’m slow to speak.
When its time to pray, I go to sleep.
Time to fast, I go and eat.
Time to stand and praise,
I’d rather hold a seat.
Back row, act low, hoping nobody notice me
Because it ain’t hard to see I’m not what I’m supposed to be.
But I don’t want to hear no lecture
Because all I’ve got is peer pressure messing with my head like a hair dresser
Its stressing me out!
Doubt and fear had me in Trafalgar Square nearly drowning in beer.
Loud and clear I need to change, but I didn’t know how
Thinking “maybe they’d be safety in the marital vows.”
Thought that I could make a fresh start
All I did was break a fresh heart.
We are like vampires when it gets dark.
My problems need to be solved
And I’d be just a fool to get another involved.
I need to make a resolve.
Either be HOT or be COLD.
Revelation 3:16 has got to be told:
"Lukewarmness is going to be puked from the Lord’s mouth"
I read the chapter and knew I had to choose now.
My head bowed as mad tears fell to the ground
Thinking of days when I was proud to be called God’s child.
Now its all wild!
I’ve been living foul.
I want to turn around and live a lifestyle to make Christ smile.
For too long I’ve been missing my place,
Dissing His grace
And every time I sin it’s like I spit in his face.
Time for living by faith,
Time for giving Him praise,
Time to fall prostrate on my face
No time to waste and sing: Lord, hear me please?
Renew a right spirit within me.
Lord clean my heart, make me whole, cover me.
Lord, don’t even leave,
Won’t you please have mercy on me?
Heal my mind, set me free, Father I turn to you
These amazing lyrics are from Jahaziel's 2007 debut album Ready to Live. The song is called Father InTurn To You (song embedded below). It is one of the best confession of lukewarm living and our ever present need to rely on God's transformational grace. I always go and listen to it to remind myself that half hearted discipleship is no discipleship at all.  God calls us to total reliance and obedience to Him.

Sadly, Jahaziel earlier this year announced that he was walking away from Jesus. To borrow from the words of his song above he has chosen to dissi God's grace and spit in His face. In a strange way it amplifies the sober nature of the above lyrics. As the writer to the Hebrews warns :

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end (Hebrews 3:12-14).



Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2016

Friday, 1 April 2016

Escaping Frestonia

In 1977, squatters in Freston Road, Notting Hill declared independence from the UK, after facing eviction by the Greater London Council (GLC). The squatters lobbied the UN and established a 1.8-acre microstate - "The Free and Independent Republic of Frestonia" - complete with its own postage stamps, visas and passports.


The 100-odd citizens of Frestonia varied from actors, artists and addicts to normal working class Londoners. Playwright - and one of London's first graffiti artists - Heathcote Williams was Ambassador to Great Britain. Actor David Rappaport was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. A two-year-old child named Francesco Bogina Bramley was the Minister for Education.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Movies and the Gospel

Editor's note: A very helpful article by Gavin Ortlund (via Gospel Coalition) on ways that movies are searching for the gospel. I have replicated the article below for preservation. (Note: Probably one caveat to note is that what the article is very correct with respect to most movies, except some of the Eastern ones. A lot of Chinese stories don't necessary have fully "happy endings" e.g. Curse of the Golden Dragon). 
I love movies. I always have, but for some reason I've grown more and more fascinated with movies in the last three or four years—the massive industry that stands behind them, the intricacies and subtleties that make for good acting and good narration, and most of all, the power of stories to communicate at such a deep, complex, emotional level. I loved the new Star Wars.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Born Crucified!

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Isaiah‬ ‭53:2‬ ‭

At one level this is simply telling us two contrasting truths. On the one hand we are being told Jesus was an average human being physically. He was not any more beautiful or ugly than people we meet around. If we met Jesus on the train we would not notice him. If he sat opposite us in a meeting at work we may even ignore his view.

On the other hand we are told Jesus had a very extraordinary beginning. He is likened to a plant growing in a dry ground or concrete. Is this a metaphor for the virgin birth? Possibly. But it is probably better to see it as referring to the entire vulnerability and improbabilities of his birth - the virginal conception, Herod's plot and the flight to Egypt.