My experience at #Frequency2017, was one of elation, enlightenment, and engagement. I must begin with a little transparency, so you will have an idea of how profound this experience was for me. Two years ago was the first time I had ever been exposed to the Frequency Conference, when it was held at Temple University. I had been invited as a member of the media to provide coverage, and be apart of the press for the Walls Group prior to their concert. I must admit, I did not get a full appreciation for what this conference was all about because I had only been exposed to the concert and the press room. I missed out in 2016, however, in July of this year I had the opportunity to be apart of The Diamond Street Festival, another wonderful event hosted by Pastor Mason and Epiphany Fellowship Church. That led me to an interview with Dr. Mason, which led me to media access at Frequency2017, which then turned into official radio sponsor. Ok, so that's how I got there, now let me share with you a little about the who of Frequency, Dr. Eric Mason.
To open this blog I was deliberate with my choice pictures above. Pastor Mason alone on a roof in the city, and if I were to take a guess I would say it's the one in which he desires to see change happen in. His books, the writings that he has shared with the world, and if the reader allows it, and is open for it, they will be blessed with an opportunity to grow, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The final picture in the collage is that of Dr. and Mrs. Mason. Their picture and public affirmation of one another, is a visual display of Black Love. The unity necessary for a couple to do a great thing in a community. The physical and visual re-establishment of the Black Family, which was the foundation for our community when we were at our strongest. But, while these pieces are a part of a larger puzzle that peer into black life through the urban context, that's not what I'm writing about. I'm writing about how my experience this weekend had a profound affect on my heart, as well as the way I think about ministry, call, activism, and activity.
My call to ministry is one that is expressed through art and media. I have a call that is both to and through the church. It's to the church as I am compelled to address error, specifically around the treatment of people, teenagers in particular. This correction is designed to break the strong holds that have taken root, and causes our youth to become completely disinterested with the church and the things of God, largely in part because of how they are treated by adults. My call to ministry expressed through the art and media context must be one of activism, as Dr. Mason spoke to on Friday. Those of us who preach the Gospel must preach justice. Justice is the flip side of the same coin that righteousness is on. As I watched the various speakers as well as CHH Artist Sho Baraka use their platform to speak truth to power, in a direct, loving, and assertive way, I couldn't help but reflect on what God has been preparing me for and guiding me to. It was Shakespeare, who once said, "The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King." One of the things I will walk away from Frequency 2017 with, is my intentionality around the placement of empowering messages in my work.
Lastly, the activity I participate in through ministry can not be fluff. Superficiality, has dulled the impact of the Gospel message through media, music, and arts. I have been invited to events before where the design of the event is nothing more than a good time using Jesus' name. They have left me empty and disappointed. This did not happen at Frequency. While there's no denying I was utterly and completely stimulated mentally, "the turn up" was definitely at the convention center.
Prior to a most powerful homiletic delivery by Pastor Mason, he and the band blessed us with a little taste of some Neo-Soul.
Then it was time to eat of the Word, and might I add the meal we were served, was well prepared. His topic, "I Dream of Wokeness", Forced me into a note taking frenzy which provided me with leftovers that I will undoubtedly return to as a point of reference during my journey.
Sho Baraka and Melissa T., gave us a live performance of "March", which is in heavy rotation on my show. I have expressed many times before that this right here is theme music. If someone can't get inspired after listening to the words of this song they may want to check their pulse....
He also came back later in the night an blessed us more.
Overall, the Frequency Conference for me was an experience, I'll never forget. We got tips from Brother Berean, on who the major players in the conscious community are, and how to engage them. We got encouraged by Pastor Bryan Loritts to "Keep Going", which was the Word he brought us from on high. He also shared a testimony of being called the N___word for the first time which came from one of his caucasian evangelical brothers at his seminary. He complained about it and nothing was done because they didn't have a policy that addressed it. To add insult to injury when it was time for him to received a letter of recommendation from the person he complained to, they wrote on the recommendation that he was a racist. His testimony alerted me to the fact that I have a position of privilege as a student at a more liberal seminary. I have never had to be concerned about being called out of my name. As a matter of fact, last year in my Church World Missions class, we had to write a paper on the history of our denomination. Through the lectures and readings, we learned about the first Baptist Missionaries from America to various country's including India, but there was no mention of the first Baptist Missionary from America to The Continent, Lott Carrey. Who was born a slave, bought his freedom and the freedom of other slaves, who then accompanied him on the missionary trip to Liberia. They evangelized, educated, and practiced healthcare. This happened back in 1821. As my personal attempt to reconcile our history in America I included the story of Lott Carrey to my paper. This had a positive affect. I have since learned that this year that professor has now incorporated the Lott Carrey Organization (which is still in operation today) into the teaching of this class. After listening to Pastor Loritts' testimony, I don't know that had he attempted something like this if his experience would've been the same. This knowledge now forces me to pray for my brothers and sisters of color who are in more conservative institutions of learning.
I could also go on, and on about the wonderful hospitality extended to me through the volunteer staff. The professionalism that was on display in every aspect. The many vendors who represented various extensions of Christian life, from educational institutions, to book stores, to T-Shirts, to Web-Series, you name it. There was something there that was intentionally inserted to assist in awakening the sleeper. This conference was definitely put together by The Master Strategist, who has inspired the man of God (Dr. Eric Mason), to oversee it's execution from beginning to end. If you want to look for negative moments and areas of shortfalls I'm sure you could find some, as we human beings are not infallible, however, I was too busy being blessed to notice....