"The scholar with a camera!"
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Thursday, July 9, 2020
The Source of Your Power: When You Commit the Power is Released
“In other words, given the yielding of the nerve center and the active release of the Spirit of God in a man’s / woman’s life, a radical reorientation became possible. This was indeed assumed to be the essential meaning of the experience of commitment itself.” p. 25
Disciplines of the Spirit by Howard Thurman
He said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
Commitment. Yes, commitment.
To do a thing you have to commit yourself fully to that thing and embrace the possibility of success.
It isn’t the fear of failure that hold us back but rather what happens if I actually do this thing.
We then get caught up on how I am going to do this. Here is the good news you don’t have to do it.
All you have do is commit to the doing of that thing that God is calling you to do and then take the next faithful step.
When you yield to that which God is calling you to do God will give the power, the will and the way. We spend too much time trying to plan and figure out everything from start to finish.
All God calls you to do is to heed the call to start. After you start and begin on your way you will see what is next. The Spirit of God will act like a Holy Ghost GPS and guide you
As you do the work, the work will speak to you, guide you and show you the way.
Yield to spirit. It is not by might, nor power, nor your great plan but rather it is by God’s spirit.
Commit to that thing! Commit to starting that project, that book, that new body of work, that trip, that documentary, that vlog, that blog! Commit to that thing that is calling you.
You have soul power and you will get it done if you will only start and yield to the power of the Spirit of God which lives inside of you.
Ralph Basui Watkins
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
What is the Key to Unlocking Your Creative Potential?
The Creative Door: Asking, Searching, Knocking
Let me start with a few questions:
What door are you knocking on? What are you searching for and who are you asking?
“The vast creative mood of existence is creative and not chaotic…Man (woman) co-operates with the Spirit of God by making him or herself open and available to it”
Howard Thurman Disciplines of the Spirit p. 22
Matthew 7:7 Jesus said:
7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. NRSV
The Spirit of God is the key to unlocking your creative potential. To be in touch with God’s Spirit you must open yourself up to it. You do this by asking, searching, seeking and knocking?
I hear ya, how do I do that? You do that by creating that which you were created to create and be willing to follow the whims of your creative energies.
When a project idea comes into your head don’t reject it, don’t judge, don’t ask if others will understand it or you, just pursue it.
Start making that work that makes you.
Get in your studio and start creating. To create is an act of asking, seeking and knocking. See, the Spirit led you to this creative moment and the Spirit will guide you in the creative process if you open yourself up to the spirit.
To unlock your creative door requires a work ethic. Artist who produce the best work, actually put the work in. They find inspiration in doing the work. They find inspiration in creating bodies of work that open doors their creative possibilities. They work hard and consistently, they are always in the studio, always making work, putting the hours in!
The spirit will lead you to the door but you have to knock, seek and ask and the Spirit will answer you in the work you do in creating. What door are you knocking on?
Ralph Basui Watkins
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
What Brings You LIFE? Your Way, Your Truth, Your Light
What Brings You LIFE? Your Way, Your Truth, Your Light
“But the basic fact remains. If life is to manifest itself in a particular form, it poses the conditions, the discipline, essential to that end. A particular form of life is committed to a way of survival, a way of keeping alive. When this no longer operates, when the line of communication is broken and the organism is cut adrift, death is automatic.”
Howard Thurman Disciplines of the Spirit p. 16
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” NRSV
Sometimes the life we live can sap the life out of us. This happens when the life we are living is not that which we were created to live. We have a job, we are paying the bills, we are making a living but we don’t have a life. You are not created to pay bills you were created by the creator to create that which the creator gave you the gifts and tools to create.
Life is about having the discipline to do that which you were created. Life is about finding that thing(s) that lights you up, gives you life, makes you vital and keeps you going. It may not be what you majored in, in college but is it what you need to major in if you want to have life
Jesus came and he said he was the truth, the way and the life! As Jesus said this he says this to us: “If you want to find your way be true to yourself and have the courage to live the life that will keep you alive.” By alive we don’t mean simply this side the grave but we mean doing that which brings you satisfaction, brings joy and allows you to live your truth. Yes, your truth is being true to yourself and telling your story through that which you create and share with the world.
Talk to yourself, listen to yourself and be true to that conversation. Commit to your way, your truth, your light and your life! What brings you life?
Now go and create something beautiful!
Ralph Basui Watkins
Friday, June 12, 2020
Walk in the Light: A Sermon / Mediation in memory of Mamie Till-Bradley and in honor of Darnella Frazier
1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,
2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
Lets title this: Walk in the Light
This text is one my favorite text in the Bible
It is one my favorite text because I am a photographer and photography is all about light
Photo means light
Photography literally means writing with light
The first thing God does is God writes with light
God separates light from darkness
God does this because darkness covered the face of the earth
God knew that Adam and Eve couldn’t do their job if they didn’t have some light
See they couldn’t walk in darkness
The old song writer said…walk in the light, beautiful light
Come where the dew drops of mercy shine bright
Shine all around us by day and by night Jesus the light of the world
See God has a track record of bringing light into dark places
When the Israelites left Egypt God gave them a pillar of by day and fire by night so they could walk in the light
The Lord said through the Prophet Isaiah
6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
7 to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
Jesus said..in John 8:12
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
See light, brings life and it enables us to see through the darkness
Light exposes what is done in the dark by shinning on it
To put it another way…
Light helps us see what we don’t see
When you study light as portrayed in the scripture..what you find is that…
Light represent the love of God
Light represent the justice of God
Light represents the righteousness of God
Light represents the power of God
Light represents the presence of God
Light represents the way of God
Light represents the path of God
Walk in the light
See when we walk in the light we see where God wants to take us
When we walk in the light we see what evil does not want us to see
When we walk in the light we shed light on injustice while simultaneously calling out to justice
When we walk in the light we see what God is doing
When we walk in the light we see what God is doing in the world in liberative ways
When we walk in the light we see evil, we expose it, we confront it and we cast it out
In the1960s America choose to walk in the light
It was photography that shed the light on evil so that we could see
Leigh Raiford is clear in her book: Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle
She convincingly argues that it was photography that changed the world and made us see the struggle
The images of Bull Connors Dogs in Birmingham, Alabama
The images of a bombed out 16th Street Baptist Church
The images of water hoses released on peaceful protestors
The images of peaceful marchers being attacked by police at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama.
The images of Emmet Till the teenage boy who was murdered on August 28, 1955 in Money, Mississippi
Emmet Till murdered by two white men allegedly because he had been to friendly to a white woman
Emmett Till had been sent to Money Mississippi from Chicago by his mother Mrs. Mamie Till for summer vacation
They wanted to have his funeral in Money Mississippi but his mother did the unthinkable
She said, no,
His mother, said, send his body back to Chicago and instead of grieving privately as any mother would naturally want to do
Mrs. Mamie Till Bradley grieved publicly and invited the world to grieve with her
Mrs. Till called on them to send her sons body back to Chicago
she said I want the world to see what they did to my boy
Mrs. Till secured the services of the Jet Magazine photographer David Jackson
And in September of 1955 her sons beaten and battered body was returned to Chicago and David Jackson was their to take pictures
The images of this teenage boys body and the images of the open casket funeral flooded news outlets around the world
And as a result of these images, the world had to see what they hadn’t seen or choose to ignore
See what the images did, was they made the world see what
African Americans had been experiencing for years
The images shed light in darkness
The images made the world stop and see..they saw the evil that was alive and well in our world
The world couldn’t turn away from these image
As result of making the world look at these images, and the evil they exposed, the modern Civil Rights Movement was born
When the world saw what was done to Mamie Till’s boy, millions of dollars poured in to Civil Rights Organizations
And to top it all off on December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery Alabama
It is reported that Mrs. Parks said, I couldn’t get up out of my seat because I couldn’t get the picture of that boy out of my mind
In the 1960s We saw the light
And as children of God we are to see the light, shine the light and testify to the light
In John 1:6-12 the writer penned these words:
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.
11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,
We are the children of God
As children of God I believe we are called to testify to the light
We are called to bring light into dark places
We are called to make light shine on that evil that has hidden
We are called to shine shine light in dark places, where the lights off and where they don’t allow cameras
We are called to turn the light on
We are called to turn the cameras on and let the light shine in the darkness so that evil will be exposed
It was Darnella Frazier a 17 year old teenager who was the light in Minneapolis Minnesota
As officer David Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for over eight minutes
Darnella Frazier took her cell phone out, cut on her camera and she brought the light
We were horrified by the evil that we saw and the world is reacting because they had to see
We only saw, what African Americans have been experiencing for years, because Darnella Frazier was willing to walk in the light
I think that’s all God expects of us
I think that is all God expects of us
To walk in the light
The beautiful light
Some where the dew drops of mercy shine bright
Shine all around us by day and by night Jesus the light of world
My sisters and brothers go and walk in the light
Bring light into dark places that we might see
So that we might act and make this world a more just place
Walk in the light!
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Protest and Vote: March to the Polls
Frederick Douglas put it this way:
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lighting. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
What Must You Let Go Of to be Free to Be What God is Calling You TO BE?
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
The Creative Calling Series #3: The Energy Source for Life: Living the Abundant Life
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
The Creative Calling Series #1 Navigating the Turns in Life: Four Essential Questions
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
- How do I propose to get it?
The Creative Calling Series #2 : What Is God Making of YOU?
The Creative Door: Asking, Searching, Knocking Let me start with a few questions: What door are you knocking on? What are you searching f...