…let no man put asunder. (Matthew 19:6)
There is a popular disco song that Mary J. Blige remade with the release of her 1999 album, Mary. A lot of people don’t know that the saying is biblical in nature. If God brought it together (specifically referring to marriages and has deeper meaning to everything else), man CAN NOT tear it apart.
I’ve been saying that I was going to blog under many of the pseudonyms that I have written under and for a while, when I was graded for the content in my blog under the JaroldImes.com brand, I did. I had made a decision two years ago that I would no longer write under that name because originally, I wanted to focus on my Christ-centered street tales and I wanted to expand my offerings to other genres. Also, I planned on doing more non-fiction work under that name since I had become just as known for my controversial views on publishing as for having one of the very few teen series written with our young black men in mind. As a result, when you go to JaroldImes.com now, you will find a couple of business blogs about my experience as a self-published author and the articles correlate with the topics given to me by my graduate professors and very little content on the ten books I published under that name. My blogs for my “adult content” as some would call it are still up, but I couldn’t commit to them on the regular because spiritually, God was moving me in a different direction.
I originally started this blog/website over a year ago so that I could blog about my faith-related issues and promote the fact that I was the equivalent to a gospel rapper. I was born into a family where we didn’t go to a physical church every Sunday so fellowship with Christians was almost nonexistent. We were more of a Joel Osteen/Fred Price type of family. I moved around a lot, so communication with people on a regular was a challenge. It wasn’t until I discovered writing by ghostwriting rap lyrics for classmates that I found that I was a strong communicator with the pen. I found the power and the vehicle I was looking for.
When I began the audacious task of self-publishing my teen series after losing the deal I had, my way of seeking help for things I didn’t know was to bring my thoughts, opinions and facts to what I did. I can’t lie, my connection to an urban literary magazine, coupled with my becoming a graduate student in an education program gave me many of the connections I needed to make my teen series a success. But I noticed that something Kanye West said was right in the realms I was seeking attention, “they say you can rap about anything except for Jesus.” I started talking about Jesus in my works and then promoted the publication of my first Christ-centered novel and eyes started rolling and tongues started flapping. I was confused because while my teen characters had flaws, many of them boldly professed that Jesus Christ is Lord throughout their works. Some teachers didn’t like that—neither did one of my former employers. How could my characters be Christians if they were caught up with “worldly problems?”
The answer for me is simple…Christians aren’t perfect. We were brought together in union with God so that we can do one of his ultimate commandments “go out into the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). So my reasoning for writing Christ-centered street stories (or street themed Christian books) is because many in the African American literary world are reading street fiction and they either have something positive or something negative to say. Also, I can count on one hand how many of these authors talk about Christ positively and I want to add to the number. I had been running from this assignment for use, but this is what God brought me to do and no matter who well I succeed by the world’s standards, I will not part from this.
I can identify with prostitutes, drug dealers, murderers, homosexuals, pimps and other “worldly people” who have a hard time gaining acceptance. So my first novel, now titled Love Him Like I Do talks about a former adult video star who gives his life to Jesus to go out into the world and make disciples. He can’t tear away from his past, but he is working to make sure that the rest of his days are Christ-centered and dedicated to his mission. He refuses to let man pull him apart from his ministry by reminding him of his sinful past. I would be a more powerful writher if I were able to do the same thing—stick with Jesus no matter the consequences or alienation I may feel because of the audience I’m trying to reach. And maybe—just maybe, Kanye can change the lyrics to being “able to rap about everything including Jesus.”
Print version coming January 2012