So! Welcome to the original
the first ever
Ebony + Ivory Podcast
it was just exactly 2 weeks ago
in this very spot x2
that we had this brilliant idea
actually i can’t say it an idea
i definitely feel like it was meant to be… a prophetic happening
i don’t even remember how we got there
it was like all of a sudden, PODCAST: “the things we say are great, let’s record them”
I mean yeah i feel like thats the thing
its not talking about the things that
especially as artists, as believers in Christ
there are things we don’t talk about well… as a community
as diverse people of different races, backgrounds, growing up in different places
how do we tackle the things that are inherently going on in the back of our minds that we don’t realize we don’t have the answers to, and how do we fortify one another to find those answers…
so this is why we’re here
Who am I?
I am an artist who does not always primarily work as an artist. But I think that’s the language my soul speaks, and what I get very excited about within the church is where the arts… I’ve grown up in church my whole life… but in the past 4-5 yrs have started to very much question, what is the church? Why? How do we do church? and who decided this is the way that we’re doing it? Because a lot of times, what i see in the churhc is not waht i see in the Gospels… I’m usually convinced we’re doing it wrong. I went to a private liberal arts college in W. Michigan. Extremely White. Extremely churched area. I loved college… college was the best. Moving out to the west coast, bay area specifically, I think a lot of the things that started to churn around in my head, started to ferment a little bit more…
I’m trying to see within… where the arts, culture, multi-cultural diversity, actually the gospel plain and simple, what does community actually look like? Where are the ways that we’re actually doing that wrong?
I work with middle schoolers in EPA (East Palo Alto). I have just fallen in love with this community and these kids. they are just amazing…
You’re gonna be a great mom of boys!
This is Ebony the Extrovert, I’m Ivory the Introvert
… and I am very cerebral. This is gonna be a good exercise of getting my thoughts outside of my brain. when I first met Ebony, we very quickly had a connection. People didn’t know what to do with the two of us. I call her my disciple. partly because we break rules together. Our brains think mischievously below the surface in a way that usually gets us in trouble, but I love that about us! We ask questions and we don’t have a problem with being controversial in the midst of it. We are not conformists at all. which is awesome. anywho! I’m an educator, advocate, artist, choreographer, worshipper… I’m an empath (that’s a weird one… we’ll come back to on a different day) I’m extremely extremely intuitive, intercessor, discerning. So if you can imagine, I’m extremely emotional. I get swayed by many things… a lot of things affect me in ways that I can’t always communicate. I am working on being able to communicate things better because I believe God made me this way for a reason. (we’re gonna talk a LOT about this type stuff)
He made me the way that He made me because He makes things by design.
And if He made me this way, instead of just trying to change all these things that I’m uncomfortable with about myself, I want to master the person He has made me to be. That’s a new found discovery for me in my old age.
Why did we start this?
I think that this is going to be liberating for the two of us, but also, we both have encouraging hearts and I think there is nothing like being able to share things with other people. Especially in an “I Society” where everyone wants to be heard, be seen, (*parody*) I don’t actually care about any of that, I don’t think that’s our heart at all. We want to tackle real issues. So we’ll see where that goes…
Let’s Dig In…
E: I like… The Church… what does that look like… Both of us are people that feel very at home in church and very isolated and not at home. I think as artists and as dancers that is one of THE most isolating and debilitating place to be is in the Body of Christ.
I: One thing I’ve had a really hard time with and have struggled with my whole life is people saying “it’s such a shame, you’re so gifted, but you give your gift to the world, you don’t give it to God.”
To some degree I understand where the intention is coming from. People always assume that my dance is something that’s to be seen on a Sunday morning and not seen on a Sunday night. It’s only supposed to be seen in church. the reason I used to battle with them was partly because I knew God created me to create work that was His mouthpiece, an extension of His arms, whatever… whatever I was delivering was specific to the audience that was watching. And He said very clearly to me when I was young (I def had more zeal and didn’t understand the weight of what I was saying) He said,
“I came to seek and save the lost. And your gifting is for the world because it’s through your gift that you’re being able to speak to people in ways that they’ve not been able to hear before.”
You talk about our culture when it comes to the body of Christ, the church means so many things: it means judgement, it means I’m not allowed, I’m not accepted, I’m not LOVED. But #art is a tangible manifestation of our Creator. I feel artists have a different understanding of the value and the weight of what it means to be connected to God. It’s creating something from nothing! And really enjoying the process… the spiritual experience of creating movement… not knowing what it means… and then watching God translate it to me over time… it is just as much for me as it is for any and everyone to watch it. It’s hard, but I’ve come to accept it… I can share my work inside the church. I can show my work outside of the church. Just like… I’m a missionary. I can minister inside of my community. I can minister outside of my community. Neither of these are right or wrong.
F O O D B R E A K !
There is a whole episode in there about definitions of sacred and secular. There is a whole episode in there about… [That book… Culture Care (Makoto Fujimura, 2017)] He talks about that role we play in-between communities… he calls it “border stockers” … we see the communities around us and reflect and interpret those communities back on each other… we’re bridges between cultures that don’t understand one another. Which within that there’s just this inherent understanding that beauty has a value in and of itself. God created a world that is not simply utilitarian or simply practical or simply necessary. It is also just beautiful just because He felt like it!
look at the sunset fool, let’s just be real!
Look at the freaking ocean! which is why there’s oceans in heaven!
(that’s another episode)
… there is so much there in the soul of an artist. I think that extends beyond even just the arts as we think of them… that’s just the people who understand that creating something is the way that you more fully know yourself as someone in the image of God, who is the Ultimate Creator. What I have seen so much, in between the communities of artists and believers… I’ve seen artists who are SO good at opening their arms to one another… some of the most loving welcoming places I’ve been in have been [with] other artists, who probably are not also lovers of Jesus, but they have this inherent understanding of the beauty in me sees the beauty in you, and that needs to be welcome…
but pause… is that not an image of their Creator ultimately
that they may not have fully realized…
how are we missing the gap
exactly… there is something so beautiful that I’m missing in the church. You have the way the truth and the life but you’re not glowing in it. The church is missing out because they have ex-communicated so many artists, who then say, “that’s not where I want to be.” The church is missing this beautiful, important, necessary part of the body of Christ that we need. And the artists are missing the home that they should have. They should be most welcomed, most supported, most enabled…
not just living in their church but creating exactly how God made them to be.
I mean I honestly (not to brag) LOVE my church for that exact reason. I’ve never been amongst so many artists in one church… and so many people who are not artists but appreciate that art is a part… it’s an extension of my worship. I’m not worshiping the devil when I’m dancing and then worshiping God when I’m singing.
No, there is no separation.