The DMX Files

Below are all of the blog posts that I have written about DMX and his influence on my spiritual awareness. I know that some people might not understand how I relate to Earl Simmons aka Dark Man X aka DMX. But if you have an intimacy with your pain you will get it.

Rest in Power DMX – December 18, 1970 – April 9, 2021

Road Trip with God, DMX, and 23 Bottles of Water, Part 1

It’s been over 11 years since I walked into the Wherehouse and sold almost all of my rap CDs.  Looking like a crackhead–no offense–I went in there all shaky asking, “How much can I get for these?”  I’m sure the cashier thought I stole them.  Why else would a young black man come into a store and hawk all of his own rap CDs?  Besides, a lot of them were pretty new.  In the bag, there were the latest Tupac, Biggie, Bad Boys, and DMX albums.  “Flesh of My Flesh and Blood of My Blood” had to be almost brand new.  This was March and the album just came out in December.  Anyone would assume that I was tripping off of something and they would have been right.  It just wasn’t what they might have thought it was.  I was tripping off of God. About a week before, I had an experience that had crushed my whole set of beliefs about God and Life.  It left me so sensitive, that it was like the skin had been stripped from my entire body.  All my senses were amplified and I was trying to do everything I could to not let anything  get to me that created any kind of conflict, because it just hurt too much.  It was as if I was racked with open wounds and the atmosphere was a mist of rubbing alcohol.  Everything stung.  In some ways it felt like a hyper active sense of being.  

I knew that in different circumstances it could have been awesome, but I was begging God to make it stop.  I couldn’t take it.  I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to go back to the life I had been living for the last three months.  God stopped that on our road trip and he used DMX to do it. Christmas was the last time I had seen my soon to be ex-wife.  Like many young couples, we signed on for something we weren’t ready for.  I know we loved each other, but we didn’t know how to communicate it.  What can you do?  We had been arguing a lot and I didn’t know how to handle it.  I don’t like fighting as it is, but I especially don’t like fighting over things that I can’t do anything about. I was getting tired and lately I was starting to feel tempted to do some things that weren’t really what I wanted to do.  You know how if you get accused of something long enough you start feeling like you might as well do it?  That’s the space I was in.  I was praying to God for strength, but it seemed like I was just getting weaker.  I started putting myself in compromising situations and I knew it was only a matter of time before I crossed the line.  So I did the only thing I could think of at the time–I volunteered to go to Desert Storm.

A lot of you don’t know this, but it was still going on in 1999.  I got my orders and I told my wife the truth. I am not the smoothest dude in the world.  I will never be accused of that.  I just gave the situation what I had.  I told her that I was fighting temptation and that I could not argue anymore.  I was going to the Middle East where there was no alcohol allowed and almost no women and that I was going to take my Bible and pray like crazy and when I got back we were going to work on our marriage.  I had it all figured out, but God had other plans.  Long story short–I sent her to Michigan to be with her family while I was in Saudi, but when I got back to Arizona, my orders got canceled.  I was told that I would be leaving a week or two later.  That never happened.  I guess my wife thought I made the whole thing up to get her to leave and I was too tired to explain otherwise.  I prayed that God would clear things up with us, but when it became obvious that it wasn’t happening, I got pissed.

The way I felt at the time was that I had spent so many years trying to be a good guy and all I got out of it was strife.  I went through the same ish as the dudes that did the real ill stuff.  On top of that, I didn’t really know anyone that I could relate too.  I decided to just become what I was accused of.  I thought about all the BS I encountered in my life.  I thought about how as a black man I had to deal with all the racial crap and how I didn’t let it stick.  I thought about how it sucked not to grow up with my dad and how I pieced together a father figure out of summer visits, my uncles, old cats that were nice to me, my barbers, other people’s dads, and Cliff Huxtable.  I thought about how I tried to keep to myself, but yet all through school people wanted to fight me for no good reason.  I thought about girls who called me gay for respecting them.  It is dark and hell is hot was right.  Anger was rushing in in a whole new way.  All of sudden the way I heard my music changed.  Rather than hearing it at a distance like a witness, it became personal.  I saw the truth in the world that they were angry with.  I was angry with it too.  I was angry with women, people, the world, but more than that I was angry with God.  I was done listening to [Him] or so I thought. For the next few months I surrendered to my anger and no one expressed my anger better than DMX.

I couldn’t get the Ruff Ryder’s Anthem out of my head and I started hitting the clubs like I never had before.  Since I was in AZ, I thought I would run into DMX one day.  I heard he was around Phoenix sometimes and I imagined that if we talked we’d find that we had a whole lot in common. Like Tupac, I knew that there was more to his music than met the eye. But the difference with X was the Spiritual frustration I heard is in his lyrics.  That’s what I was going through.  Pac was a headtrip.  He was going back and forth with this world trying to figure out how he could fix it for the people he felt like he belonged to.  DMX didn’t belong to anyone’s world.  He seemed like an archangel that woke up on the Earth and was like “What the f***”?  Who spiked my milk and honey and dumped me here?”  He sounded like a person that wanted to make people feel uncomfortable with the fakeness.  He was showing people that he had the keys to the kingdom of his mind and could go from hell to heaven as he d*** well pleased and the only one that could stop him was God.  So when people felt like they could make him do what he didn’t want to do or try to talk him into stuff he was angry.  That’s what I felt from his music or maybe I was just projecting cause that’s how I felt.  I was just standing on the other end of the spectrum.  Whether he would agree or not didn’t matter.  It was real to me at the time and that’s what I had to go on.

I pretty much was battling mental demons for three months.  I was doubting whether I even believed in God anymore.  I guess that was my way of punishing God for not fixing my marriage.  At any rate, it was pretty clear we were done for so I went to Michigan to pick up my car from her and drive back.  It was a pretty nice Accord so I had intentions of getting back to AZ and profiling.  Since I was going to be single again I figured what the heck. After a few days in MI, I knew there was no point in looking back.  Even if a part of me wanted to fix our relationship, I was too ignorant at the time to actually do anything about it.  In my mind I was feeling some insane kind of relief.  Not having the pressure of trying to be a good guy anymore felt great.  Not having God and Bible verses in my ear felt better.  As long as I was still “technically married”, I was avoiding getting caught up with any females who might get in the way if things turned around with my wife.  But now that I knew that was done, I began hashing out my plans.  My intention was to get revenge on women for all the times I called myself treating them right only to get hated on.  I started thinking that maybe these songs were more than just entertainment.  They were a warning not to get caught up.

To fuel my anger, I decided to listen to my two DMX CDs for the whole 39 hour drive until I was thoroughly exorcised of any punk that was left in me. I was feeling what I thought was pretty good when about 20 miles out of town I heard a very audible voice say the word, “PRAY” in between tracks.  At first I ignored it.  Then the next time there was a moment of silence, it came again.  I started getting a little shaky and turned the music up and singing along with it very loudly.  I was trying to drown out the Voice.  Eventually it seemed to have stopped.  Then when I was in between switching CDs the Voice gave me a sneak punch saying, “Pray to your God who was with you from the beginning.”

All of a sudden I saw all of the times that seemingly miraculous things happened in my life.  I saw all the times that I had been blessed often without even asking for it.  I saw that the hard times I was crying about were just a backdrop for me to see God’s Glory.  He showed me very clearly that the only darkness in my life was the shadow I was casting, when I put myself ahead of the Light of His Love.  It was a magnificent vision that encompassed my entire life in a matter of seconds while I was still driving.  I knew for certain that I was never alone.  God was with me my entire life and in that awesome moment when it seemed like I was receiving the greatest blessing of all, I felt like I could care less.  My response to it was, “Leave me alone.  I don’t believe in You anymore.”  His clever response was, “If you don’t believe in Me, who are you angry with?”  Oh snap!  I couldn’t argue with that logic, so I turned the music up louder and tried to follow along.

If  arguing with God on the interstate didn’t make me crazy enough, yelling these DMX lyrics at the top of my lungs to drown Him out sealed the deal.  I was really bugging out, when all of a sudden I heard myself say these words from one of his songs, “If your daughter is older than 15, I’m going to rape her.”  My mind stopped, while the music kept going.  I wondered how many times I had said those words but never heard myself.  To X’s credit, I know he is a story teller and those words were in that context, but in the moment all I could think was how terrible those words felt in my throat.  My mind went blank and all I heard was The Voice quietly saying, “Turn off the music and listen to Me.” To be continued…

Road Trip with God, DMX, and 23 Bottles of Water, Part 2

There have been plenty of times when I heard people say that God talks to them.  Spending so many days in church growing up, I saw plenty of people “get happy” or “catch the Holy Ghost”.  I’ve been to every service a church could have–even down to choir rehearsal.  I’ve been to quiet services where no one spoke but the pastor and the music was straight out of the 1700’s and I’ve been to services that reminded me of that scene from The Blues Brothers.  In this kind of setting it is very common to hear people say that God was speaking to them.  When you grow up seeing people speaking in tongues and falling into red blankets after the pastor touches them, hearing that God is speaking to someone isn’t too hard to consider.  However, up to this first day on my drive from MI to AZ, I had never heard anything that I could call the audible Voice of God speaking to me.

When I was younger, I used to crack up laughing when people would start crying and falling out about what God brought them through.  People would be giving testimony about how they were delivered from this, that, and the other thing like sex, drugs, cigarettes, whatever.  I used to just think to myself, “If you wouldn’t do the things, then God wouldn’t have to deliver you from them.”  With that in mind, I pretty much avoided all that stuff.  Life had already given me a lot to deal with at an early age and I didn’t have any reason to make it worse by adding my own s***.

I had seen enough people hurt by things that seemed avoidable, that I just didn’t see the point of putting myself in a situation and then begging God to get me out.  So for the most part I kept to myself and didn’t ask God for much.  Of course I prayed and read my Bible a lot.  It was hard not to do that in my family when my mom held Bible studies in our house.  Besides that, at an early age I had started a habit of reading the Red Letters just because they were red.  The point I’m making is that I was pretty deep in religion, but still God never really said a word to me even when I prayed for Him to.  Now here He is bugging me when I didn’t want anything to do with Him.

So back to the story.  I’m losing it in the car.  DMX has just said some statutory rape s*** and I am battling with myself about whether I should turn off the music.  I know that if I turned it off this Voice was going to really get me.  I was afraid.  I just didn’t know what I was afraid of more, hearing a disembodied Voice chastising me or the Silence.  I considered my options and figured if I flipped a coin either way it would land on crazy, so I just went for it and turned the music off.  I braced myself for an onslaught of rebuke, but nothing came.  It was just Silence.  After sitting in it for a while, I realized how long it had been since I rested in it.

When I was younger I used to hide in the closet or bathroom in the silent darkness to be by myself. They were my places of refuge. But it had been so long I nearly forgot what it was like to not hear anything but the sound of my own breathing. AS I reminisced, I was starting to get comfortable with the Silence when all of a sudden I was attacked, not by the Original Voice, but by countless other voices.  It was as if everything anyone ever said to me about who, how, or what I should be all rushed in on me at the same time.  There were voices that said good things about me and bad things.  There were voice of praise and condemnation.  There were voices that said they loved me and those that said they hated me.  It didn’t take long before I was begging for the Silence again.  It came and I was comforted.  Then the Original Voice returned saying simply, “None of those Voices are Me.”

I drove in Silence for a little while longer.  As I got more used to it, I came to the first concept shattering realization of the trip.  It hit me that the Original Voice and Silence were One and the Same.  I can’t put more words to it than that, but you can get an idea from reading 1 Kings 19:11-12.  All I know is that I felt the Truth in this.  Anything that I try to add to it will only take away from it.  Feeling this was awesome.  It came with another realization that all the times in my life where I prayed and then heard what I thought was nothing, it was actually this Holy Silence.  When I looked back, it was very clear that whenever I prayed, I became incredibly still.  In that stillness I would make a new decision that always turned out for the best.  That Stillness I came to understand as God’s resting place as well as the very nature of His Presence and Being.  In Hebrew one of the names for God is HaMakom, meaning The Place.  That’s what I’m talking about here.  Google it to learn more.

So, at this point I had been driving for several hours and I was starting to get hungry.  I figured I’d get some gas and a little snack and get back on the road.  I had gotten so use to the Silence by now that I had forgotten all about the craziness that preceded it.  Getting out of that car reminded me.  Have you ever been sitting in near total darkness when all of a sudden the shades are drawn and the sun beats you in the eyes like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.  Well imagine that assault on all of your senses and you’ll have an idea of how I felt when I stepped out of the car and into the convenience store.  I felt like I was being ripped apart.  It took everything I had to get in and out of there with several bottles of water.  I went in to get food, but the sight of it made me want to vomit.  Making it back to my car felt like finding an oasis in the desert.  “What had just happened?” I thought.  “What kind of pain was that?”  Silence.  Stillness.  Revelation.  What I was feeling was the pain of the people in the convenient store.  It wasn’t physical pain.  It was mental pain.  Even though they had smiles on their faces they were radiating suffering.  They were functioning on the surface, but in reality they were in some type of spiritual coma.  They were hiding in broad daylight–prisoners in their own bodies.  I was freaked out. After calming down, I started back down the road.  I was feeling good again.  I was loving this Silence and didn’t want to ever leave it, but I knew I was going have to get out of the car some time.

At some point on the road, I came to the realization that I still had not prayed.  I had been having this warm loving experience and was acknowledging that if I wasn’t completely insane then it meant that God was with me.  I was essentially accepting the benefits of His Presence without thanking Him for sharing it with me.  It’s kind of like going to the party of someone you don’t know and enjoying all the free food and drinks while doing everything you can to avoid eye contact with the Host just in case they check the guest list and find out you don’t belong there.  This thought made me feel uncomfortable and I tried to un-think it as if I could hide my thoughts from God. “Pray!” Here we go again.

I was being commanded to pray, but despite the good feelingI still wasn’t ready to give up my ignorance.  I still felt justified in my anger towards whoever and I knew that if I willingly prayed I would be admitting defeat.  Furthermore I felt like accepting God’s hand in all of this would mean justifying the break up of my marriage, all the crap I felt like I had gone through, etc. I refused.  The Voice stopped, but all of a sudden, I started getting really sleepy.  I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  It was a good thing there was no one on the road but me because I was swerving and everything.  Out of fear I almost prayed just to stay awake, but I wasn’t going to let Him win.  I just started screaming and making loud noises.  In hindsight I was really close to a full on break.

Eventually I arrived at a convenience store where I flew in and out with a box of No-Doz.  It was still early and I didn’t want to waste time sleeping this soon in my drive.  Besides, I had plans to hit up this club on Wednesday night so I had to stay on schedule.  It was bad enough that I had missed several days of the clubs already.  In my recent state, I had become convinced that I was having fun going out drinking several nights a week.  I would soon learn that this “good time” was the epitome of my loneliness.  At any rate, I popped some No-Doz and went back to driving.  A little while into it my heart started beating fast and I was tripping out.  I don’t even take aspirin when I have a headache so my body didn’t know what to do with this.  I think my heart was the only thing keeping me awake because as soon as it calmed down I started falling asleep again.  This was annoying.  I had no choice but to stop and rest.  I checked into a motel, went to the room, climbed in the bed, and stared at the ceiling for two hours hearing “Pray” repeatedly.  I got no sleep.

To be continued…

Road Trip with God, DMX, and 23 Bottles of Water, Part 3

Do you remember that part in The Matrix where Neo had to choose between the red pill or the blue pill?  Well that was where I was in that hotel in the middle of nowhere–both figuratively and actually.  I had to make a choice on whether I wanted to sleep or stay awake.  While driving I had taken some No-Doz that lasted about 45 minutes before I almost passed out at  the wheel.  Now I was in this hotel room with sleeping pills trying to decide if it was worth trying them to get some sleep.  I had been exhausted when I got to the hotel room, but was restless when I hit the bed.  I didn’t know what to do.  Well that wasn’t exactly true.   I knew what to do, but I didn’t want to do it–PRAY!  I decided to take the sleeping pills.  They did nothing. In frustration I got back on the road.

After some time, I started feeling “normal” again.  I hadn’t eaten all day and thought that maybe some food would help settle me.  At this point I had about 7 or so empty water bottles on my car floor.  It was all I could seem to take in and no matter how much I drank, I still felt thirsty and didn’t have to go to the bathroom as much as one would think.  The thought of food made me feel sick, but I decided to force myself to eat a burger.  I puked in two bites.  I was pissed.  I felt like God was beating me down to make me pray.  I wouldn’t even say grace.  I’d rather starve.

A few more bottles of water later, I felt my muscles starting to spasm somewhat.  It was kind of like I was having a people version of an earthquake.  Someone later told me it was detoxing.  I had consumed quite a bit of alcohol in those recent months and apparently my body was pushing it out.  But at the time I don’t even think I knew what detoxing was, so it just added to my nightmare.  But in retrospect, I think that what was making this road trip a nightmare wasn’t the physical and mental stuff I was experiencing, it was my stubbornness.  In some remote part in my mind I knew that I was acting the fool and that I should just pray.  But, I was looking for an enemy and I chose God because I thought He could handle it.  Now to some people that would make no sense.  They would say that the “devil” is the enemy.  I don’t really like getting into those conversations, but let’s just say that to me the “devil” is a punk.  He has no power whatsoever. Jesus proved that.  No matter how crazy I was at the time, Jesus was still my homeboy.  I just couldn’t relate to him at the time.  I guess I chose to be mad at God, because I couldn’t understand why He created a world where Jesus would have to go out like he did.  But it wasn’t really so much about Jesus as it was myself.  I was nowhere in Jesus’ ballpark, but I wanted to be going in that direction and I felt like I had given it my best shot and failed.  Once I got married, I thought I was all set for being a “good Christian Black man”.  The real root of my anger was that it was so hard.  I just didn’t get it.

As I continued to drive, I reflected on my situation trying to figure out how I got so far off track. You see, growing up, I have never been a guy that was easily swayed.  I always had my own mind and never did stuff because people tried to pressure me.  Not even my parents could make me do something I didn’t want to do.  I would always consider the consequences of my actions before I did anything.  If I felt like I could handle them I did the thing and if I couldn’t I didn’t.  I also had a pretty strong sense of justice and knew what I was willing to die for and what was a waste of time and life. I knew that a lot of people had fallen for the world’s hype and I didn’t want any part of it.  Honestly, I felt like the point of Jesus’ walk was to show us that if death had no power over life, then who could really threaten us.  It seemed like after him the world would’ve gotten straight, but it seemed to be as wack as ever.  For all those years, the foundation of my freedom was on what I believed he did, but I guess at that point, I started to feel like he just wasted his time.  It was almost like no one really was paying attention to him.  The world really didn’t seem to care.  The strange thing was, it wasn’t the world that made me think that, it was the church.

Before I snapped, I had been going to church and when my wife and I first separated I went extra thinking it would help us get back together.  But rather than make it better, it made it worse.  I’m not blaming them, I’m just stating my experience.  This is how it played out.  I started doing what I intended to do in the Middle East–reading my Bible and praying like crazy.  It didn’t take long before I started getting excited.  I believe in resurrection so I felt like it was nothing for God to use this space to make my wife and I stronger and we’d be straight.  Convinced of this, I started proclaiming that God had it and that I was going to just rejoice.  I figured everyone would just say “Praise God!” and move on.  But instead people were offended that I was not worried.  I was told that I should be looking more upset and that having a smile on my face made it seem like I didn’t care.  My reply was from Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  But I was told that if I didn’t do more to make sure I didn’t get divorced then God was going to essentially turn his back on me.

Then next thing you know all of these people are prophesying over me.  Someone said that they saw us back together with kids and someone else said that they saw me with another woman from church with 4 kids.  In Bible study I was getting called out, because someone praying “knew I was hurting tonight and they wanted me to know what the Lord told them about me.”   It was like they were trying to make me upset.  I knew they had good intentions so I wasn’t tripping at first.  But after a while I started getting annoyed, but more than that I was getting confused.  In all my years with God, I had never been as vulnerable as I was in that time.  And I guess I never really wanted or asked for much either.  But now I was in this position where I was asking God to bring back my wife in ideal circumstances.  It was kind of a big deal.  Then on top of it, I was being told that if she didn’t come back then I was going to lose God too.  In my heart, I didn’t believe God would do me like that, but the people telling me this were high up people in the church–even though the pastor actually never said anything like that.

Outside of church I had my other friends telling me that I needed to stop trying to be good all the time.  It was crazy.  A whole bunch of people started inviting me out and females I didn’t even know noticed me started warming up to me.  Even in church, a few women told me the Lord told them that I was theirs.  There was just so much coming at me from every direction that I finally said forget it.  I decided to go out for one night.  Everyone was so excited to see me out, that they all started buying me drinks.  After that there was the blur that ended with me in the car driving back to AZ.  A lot happened in between that time.  But in the grand scheme of things I can’t say I did anything I regret.  As I would learn on my drive, God is in everything and has dominion over absolutely everything.  His Power is inconceivable using the world’s standards and you never know how He can leverage situations.  A great example is Saul on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9) and for me it was DMX on the road to Arizona.

At somewhere between 12-15 bottles of water I decided to give sleep in a hotel room another shot.  When I first got in there, I could tell that I was changing.  My anger power was not as strong as it had been.  The wack voices had pretty much stopped.  Whenever one would try to come in, I would just shut it out.  The Voice was doing His Silence thing and now all I had to do was make a choice.  Would I sleep in the world and awake in God or would I do the opposite?  I knew I had gone pretty far off track and there was a part of me that feared that God would call me a filthy rag and tell me get to steppin’.  It wasn’t like I was someone who never knew God or what Jesus did.  I knew and legitimately chose to go against what I knew and I was pretty sure I threw some other people off track too in the past few months.  I thought that must be worse than a person who just never thought about it.  Well there was only one way to find out.  I got on my knees and prayed one of the worse prayers ever.  It pretty much went like this, “Hey, I don’t know how I feel about You, but I will pray to You if You just will leave me alone for a little while and let me sleep.”  He did.

Four hours later I woke up feeling like I had slept for years.  I was completely refreshed and filled with some wild energy.  I went up to go to the bathroom and in the mirror I saw something I hadn’t seen in months–my own reflection.  I was more excited than a person that won the Powerball with their last dollar.  I mean, I was through the roof happy.  I was back!  I had been lost, but now I was found.  I was blind, but now I saw.  Every good thing I ever knew about God and His Love for me was back in full effect.  I was falling out in the hotel room like people I laughed at in church as a kid.  I knew what they were so happy about.  I caught the Holy Ghost.  I was full of unspeakable joy.  I was spinning in circles.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go back to sleep, but now it was for a whole new reason.  I got back on the road.  I had 19 more hours to go and I was ready.  God and I had a lot of catching up to do.

As I took off the Silence spoke to me and I truly listened.  It was like Elihu speaking to Job  about God’s goodness and majesty in Job 36 and God breaking it down in Job 38-41.  I had nothing to add.   When it was all said and done, I had to admit as Job did in Chapter 42 Verse 5, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.”  My repentance had begun and I started receiving the blessings that God is perpetually showering on us all.

For the rest of the trip my heart was ministered to about the Power of Love, Eternal Life, and who the Christ is.  I’ll get into that in part 4, but for now I’ll leave you with this poem that captures the essence of what I learned.

To know Me
Tap into My Frequency
The Truth is in your face
But you don’t seem to see
The world you know
Isn’t what it seems to be
When the world calls you dirty
You are clean in Me
I know no darkness
I am One in Light
To know my Faith
You must lose your sight
No ear has heard
Nor eye hath seen
What is told in Silence
And beyond your dreams

To be continued…

Road Trip With God, DMX, and 23 Bottles of Water – Full Circle

There’s no way I can completely explain to someone who is “uninitiated”, the things that were ministered to me for the next 19 hours because as it says in 1 Corinthians 2, “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 

Now if you are a person that gets offended by the thought that you can’t understand something this isn’t for you anyway.  When I say the uninitiated, I don’t mean some special religious ritual that makes someone better than someone else.  I believe we’re all equal in God’s Mind anyway.  But for the purpose of understanding what uninitiated means as I use it, you have to examine your life.  Look at each of your “special relationships”, possessions, hopes, dreams, money, “fun”, romance, reputation, and every other thing in your world that means something to you.  If you have ever lost all of that or will willingly give it up for the love of God and your neighbor as yourself, then you are initiated and no one on earth can take that from you even if they took your body itself.  If you are One of these beings, then you have nothing to lose by the verse quoted above. 

You see in those last 19 hours God confirmed in me, what I knew in my heart all along–He is Absolute.  What does that mean?  It means exactly what it says.  Absolute means God is the All in all.  It means there is nowhere that is absent of God’s fullness.  In church we used to always be told that God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient i.e. absolutely powerful, absolutely everywhere, and absolutely knowledgeable.  Think about that.  I’m sure you’ve heard that before.  Now ask yourself if you really believe it.  Some of you will say you do, because the Bible told you so or your pastor said it.  Maybe your parents told you when you went to bed at night.  But that isn’t good enough.  Tell the Truth.  Do you really believe it? If you are still saying that you do, how do you know?  That’s what the Job story is all about.  Job had everything the world could offer him except the knowledge within himself that he really believed in the Absolute Power of God.  If you can get this, then you can see how losing everything made Way for the greatest gift that Job ever received in this world.  If that thought excites you, you’re in.  If you’re trying to talk yourself out of accepting this, then you have some work to do if you really have a desire to know that you completely believe in The Absolute. 

Let me clarify here that I am not saying that everyone needs to accept this or that this knowledge in some way saves you from something or someone.  First of all that is not my place to say something like that.  Secondly, the thought that we need to be saved from anyone or anything other than our own perception through self imposed limited egos, is contrary to my belief in the Absolute All-in-all-ness of God.  Lastly, in my belief, our apparent acceptance or rejection of God’s Being is our choice and adds or takes away from our lives according to our own perception while in no way enhancing or diminishing God’s Awesomeness.  Here’s my logic.  If God is Absolutely Everywhere then where can I go that He is not with me?  If God is Absolutely Knowledgeable, what can I hide from Him that He does not already know?  If God is Absolutely Powerful, what can I take from Him that He cannot take back–even my very soul?  And to take it a step further, peep this.  If He has even One of these attributes of Absolute Power, Knowledge, or Presence, wouldn’t He automaticly have the others as well?  If I was everywhere wouldn’t I know everything?  And we say knowledge is power, right?  So if I knew everything because I was everywhere, wouldn’t I naturally be all powerful as well?  Do you see  how simple yet profound accepting that is?  And I didn’t mention Him being Absolute Love on top of everything else. That’s exactly why I can’t say anything that separates us from God and one another and be serious about it.  In my heart and mind, me without you and Us without Him is the beginning of all lies.  That’s what I came to terms with on that road when I shut off DMX. 

But what I learned was that this act of shutting off X was not about him or the words in his music.  He was just showing me one of the many sides of my own illusion.  In some way, I saw that he was living what is written in Psalms 139:7-12 and I learned in the mix that I was too. Light/Dark–It’s all in me and is part of the Divine Mystery of God’s immutable Oneness. 

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
 9 If I take the wings of the morning,
         And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
         And Your right hand shall hold me.
 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fallon me,”
         Even the night shall be light about me;
 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
         But the night shines as the day;
         The darkness and the light are both alike to You. 

Remember from Road Trip… Part 1, my plan was to “fuel my anger by listening to my two DMX CDs for the whole 39 hour drive until I was thoroughly exorcised of any punk that was left in me.”  But look how it turned out.  Instead of going the way I thought in my mind, God used DMX to Give Me A Sign.  Like I said, God knows everything, is everywhere, and has all power.  It’s All His.  I tried to take the soul He created and mess it up, and He used what the world calls “grime” to clean it.  Now like Paul said in Romans 14:14, I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  In Truth, I know that DMX–like–Tupac comes with the Elijah-like Spirit calling out in this Wilderness to those who have become hard of hearing.  And even though I haven’t listened to much mainstream music after that trip, it wasn’t because of what the world may hear in the music, it was because I heard what I needed to hear and I moved on.  It was now time for me to say my piece.  These words from The Prayer by DMX pretty much put it in perspective. 

Plenty of times You sent help my way – but I hid
‘n I remember once You held me close – but I slid
It was something that I just had to see
that You wanted me to see
so I could be what You wanted me to be
And I think I’ve seen it – but I don’t feel the same
matter of fact, I know I’ve seen it – I can feel the change
It’s strange – almos’ got me beating down Your door
but I’ve never known love like this before. 

–DMX 

I guess that I should finish this by saying that this acceptance of The Absolute God did not make me special in any way.  The opportunity is the Gift we’ve all been given. What it did was help me to respect my place in creation and  to honor the Mystery of Life unfolding. When I originally envisioned this trip, it was supposed to be me and my boy Terrell flying up and partying down.  In fact without the thought that he was going to be with me, I don’t think I would have ever bought the ticket.  I kept trying to get him on the phone to see if he was buying his ticket, but couldn’t get him.  Right after I bought my one-way non-refundable ticket and told my former wife to be I was coming , he called to tell me he couldn’t go that week.  My best friend Carlos who was into DMX and the light rock hits from the 80s as much as I was happened to be gone too leaving just God, DMX, and what was left of me to ourselves. It’s not the trip I would have planned, but it was the trip that I needed.  Since that trip, I keep myself in check by reminding myself that if I truly believe that God is Absolute and provides for All of my needs, then I can only want what I don’t need.  I can’t say that I have it down, but I am trying and I promise that I will never stop no matter what it looks like. 

Amen

PS

Keep DMX in Prayer.  Like each of us, he’s holding up a lot more than can be seen on the surface, for a lot more people than you could imagine.

DMX and the Ballad of the Brokenhearted

Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone who has been truly brokenhearted? Perhaps you have and they were your very own eyes? If you have, then you’ll likely agree with me that despite what romantic entertainment will have you believe, there are relatively few people who have been completely brokenhearted. To give you an idea of how I am using the word, I submit Jesus as King of the brokenhearted. This the heart of a person who despite being despised and forsaken did not let his heart get corrupted by his suffering but rather chose to love through the hate many showed him even unto death. How many of us can say we’ve done that?

Even when we call ourselves being “head over heels in love”, most people hold back in their relationships for fear of getting hurt or “looking stupid”. If we don’t do that, we take our pain out on others who had nothing to do with our prior relational disappointments (whether from family of origin or some romantic relationship gone sour). On the contrary, like the light of the sun that will give its light fully until the day it is extinguished, those who love enough to get their heart truly broken by this world  time and time again will pour and pour out their being until they are no more. It takes a special kind of fool to keep putting themselves out there this way and the rapper DMX is that kind of fool. I can say that with authority because it takes a fool to know one.

When I first heard DMX’s voice, I could hear in it the resonance of someone who has cried out in anguish as he wrestled with his own sanity trying to reconcile a God of Love with a world that was the context for so much of his pain. In that voice, is the tension of one who is holding justification at bay–struggling with the choice to not give the pain he experienced back to the world.

If you don’t transform your suffering, you will transmit it. ~ Richard Rohr

There was a time when I had to make the choice that I would rather die or be destroyed than give the suffering to others that I had experienced. To get to that point, I had to choose to let my heart be broken to a point where I thought I might never be able to recover, rather than close my heart to love–what many would consider a fool’s choice. This didn’t come without a whole lot of resistance on my part until, from my experience, God snatched me up from the fruitless path I was headed down.

As a recipient of grace, I feel great compassion for DMX’s situation. When I read his autobiography, I got deeper insight into the suffering he is transforming. With the early life he had, he could be doing a lot of intentional harm to others or dead by now. Instead he seems to be doing what many of the brokenhearted eventually do–they destroy themselves in their efforts not to cause harm to others. Unfortunately, this does not work in God’s realm of Oneness.

If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. ~ Paul of Tarsus (1 Corinthians 12)

God of the Brokenhearted,

Rather than pray for healing, I pray for transformation. Rather than being understood, I pray to be understanding. May X and all ministers to the Broken use our experiences to be compassionate and may the world receive that compassion for our mutual benefit.

Amen

Categories: Christ, DMX, God, Peace

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