My Soul's Been Anchored

Overview

Rev. Beecher Hicks Jr. knows that great preaching and great storytelling go hand in hand. He believes in the power of imagination to teach us about God and about life, and he knows that nothing can spark the imagination like a story well told. In My Soul's Been Anchored, he presents vivid portrayals of the biblical truth shining through people he has known and experiences he has had. Family, friends, church members, neighbors. . .well-loved faces peer from these pages. In their warm humanity they illustrate ...
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Overview

Rev. Beecher Hicks Jr. knows that great preaching and great storytelling go hand in hand. He believes in the power of imagination to teach us about God and about life, and he knows that nothing can spark the imagination like a story well told. In My Soul's Been Anchored, he presents vivid portrayals of the biblical truth shining through people he has known and experiences he has had. Family, friends, church members, neighbors. . .well-loved faces peer from these pages. In their warm humanity they illustrate simple, profound lessons that touch us all. You'll meet "Uncle Mugga," a woman poor in money but rich in love for neighborhood children. Reverend Jones, whose dentures flew out over the pupil in mid-prayer. Mother Jackson, everybody's mother at Second Baptist Church. Wilson McCray, who ran his shoes off praising God. Each person is a unique, creative snapshot -- sometimes funny, sometimes poignant -- of a living faith that helps us overcome obstacles, love God and each other more effectively, and make this world a better place. Dr. Hicks' stories read the way his sermons preach -- full of life, feeling, and beauty. My Soul's Been Anchored captures in print the oral tradition of the great African-American preachers -- the cadences, the rhythms, the passion, the urgency. And the vision. Dr. Hicks says, "This is a time to rise above our limitations and set our sights on those things that the world believes are beyond us." He encourages us to reach for purpose, to put our faith in motion, to never give up on our potential or God's promises. Here is storytelling at its finest from a gifted writer and preacher, with universal truths that speak to every culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310221364
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/1/1998
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,448,000
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

H. Beecher Hicks Jr. is the senior minister of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington D.C. Designated one of the fifteen greatest African-American preachers by Ebony magazine, he is president of Martin Luther King Fellows, Inc., and Kerygma Associates.
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Read an Excerpt

Foreword

by Maya Angelou

The African-American preacher is a poet because he has had to be a poet. It was never sufficient that he study the religious canon, or put to memory its precepts and then distribute its laws intact to a willing congregation. From the days of slavery, he (and later, she) had to take the biblical stories and relate them to the present life conditions of the congregants. Thus, in the songs "Go Down Moses," "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel," and "Deep River," there is evidence of the use of the Old Testament and New Testament stories as metaphors for slavery and its aftermath of discrimination and inequality.

The preacher has had to use persuasive declamation to convince the nonbeliever and to enhearten the faithful. Few listeners are able to withstand the pull of the good Baptist preacher's voice as it cascades over the congregation and comes to rest in the attentive ear. The mellifluous musical sound can console the broken spirit and soothe the irate heart.

When the sermon is inspired by more than musical talent and grandiloquent language, the result is poetry with a purpose. And so we have it here in H. Beecher Hicks' unusual book, My Soul's Been Anchored.

A third-generation African-American preacher, Hicks sets out on the same journey his grandfather took decades ago -- that is, "to save the world." Hicks has lived a life ministering to flocks from New York to Texas to Washington, D.C., and his reputation informs that his aim remains the same as that of his ancestor and he has pursued his intent with this volume.

Here he has used prose and poetry to awaken or reawaken faith in his readers. He admonishes and cajoles, warns and promises. He remembers growing up with devout and devoted parents who employed love, well-worn adages, and the occasional "strapping" as necessary implements in the raising of a child.

Humor has long been an important factor in the African-American community. Whether it is used as a disguise, "I laughed to keep from crying," or for its rich release alone, there is no level, class, no state of African-American life without humor.

Hicks uses a subtle turn of phrase or an outright comical situation to lighten the load of this book, heavy with its intent to "save the world."

African-Americans have survived an unspeakable history of horror with the passion and purpose of good preachers and committed ministers.

When I read Hicks' My Soul's Been Anchored, I picture a man slave in the early 1800s cutting cane in the devouring fire of a summer sun, his back glowing with a heat which cannot be shifted even when the dark comes.

When I read Hicks' My Soul's Been Anchored, I imagine a Black woman during America's depression who had by hand laundered another family's dirty linen and scrubbed another woman's floor, nursing another's babe. I imagine her leaning against a wall or resting against a tree until dark comes.

When I read Hicks' My Soul's Been Anchored, I envision a politician in the 1990s duly elected, yet whose small temporal power so threatens the power structure that vast machineries are erected to topple the leader from the earned perch in full view of a scornful world, especially as dark comes.

Hicks wrote:

And in those moments when the night comes . . .

and there are no friends to be found

when the night comes . . .

and your head is "bowed beneath your knees"

when the night comes . . .

and the tranquillity of your home is disturbed. . .

the state of your health is suddenly imbalanced

your future is grim and your fortune has slipped

through your fingers . . .

your ship has come in with no cargo on board,

when the night is upon you

and it is "blacker than a hundred midnights

down in a cypress swamp,"

you and I need . . .

in that moment . . .

a night light, a light in dark places . . .

Our ancestors, yours and mine, were much smarter than are we. They knew that their survival and that of generations to come would depend upon the availability of a night light. That's why they said so often, "Jesus is a Light in Dark Places."

I cannot escape the reality -- nor do I wish to -- that I cannot endure the anxiety of the darkness of this world without a light. What is needed is more than a night light: The Light. I thank God that there is a Light:

"And the city had no need of the sun,

neither of the moon, to shine in it;

for the glory of the Lord did lighten it,

and the Lamb is the light thereof."

The remark is made in an old spiritual, "My soul looks back and wonders how I got over." We have "got over," are getting over, and shall get over, with the passion and persistence of preachers like Hicks who have taken as their charge that they are here to save the world.

They have offered us Jesus Christ to help us carry the burden of inequality, poverty, and racial discrimination. They have given us Jesus Christ as a light unto our path, on the rocky road of lynching, of being the last hired and the first fired.

They have given us the healing thought that we live in the imagination of God.

And there we are, free at last. At last, even when the dark comes.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Foreword by Maya Angelou
Preface by Allen Dwight Callahan
Introduction
Part One: Imagine Beginnings
In a Lonely Place
Living in the Imagination of God
The Place of Beginning
The Ministry of Uncle Mugga
A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off
The Lost Chord
Graham Crackers, Ovaltine, and Absorbine Jr.
“A Credit to the Race”
Part Two: Imagine the Faith
A Lawyer Who Has Never Lost a Case!
My Rockin’ Chair, My Walkin’ Cane, My Leanin’ Post!
My Light in Dark Places
My Help When I’m Helpless
My Clothes When I’m Naked
A Way Out of No Way
Part Three: Imagine the Church
Communion
Pass the Newspaper, Please!
An Easter to Remember
Wilson McCray’s Shoes
The Preacher on the Porch
My Soul’s Been Anchored
Part Four: Imagine Death, Imagine Life
The Death of Imagination
The Death of Failure
The Phenomenon of Flight
D’reckly
Notes
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First Chapter

Foreword by Maya Angelou
The African-American preacher is a poet because he has had to be a poet. It was never sufficient that he study the religious canon, or put to memory its precepts and then distribute its laws intact to a willing congregation. From the days of slavery, he (and later, she) had to take the biblical stories and relate them to the present life conditions of the congregants. Thus, in the songs 'Go Down Moses,' 'Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel,' and 'Deep River,' there is evidence of the use of the Old Testament and New Testament stories as metaphors for slavery and its aftermath of discrimination and inequality.
The preacher has had to use persuasive declamation to convince the nonbeliever and to enhearten the faithful. Few listeners are able to withstand the pull of the good Baptist preacher's voice as it cascades over the congregation and comes to rest in the attentive ear. The mellifluous musical sound can console the broken spirit and soothe the irate heart.
When the sermon is inspired by more than musical talent and grandiloquent language, the result is poetry with a purpose. And so we have it here in H. Beecher Hicks' unusual book, My Soul's Been Anchored.
A third-generation African-American preacher, Hicks sets out on the same journey his grandfather took decades ago --- that is, 'to save the world.' Hicks has lived a life ministering to flocks from New York to Texas to Washington, D.C., and his reputation informs that his aim remains the same as that of his ancestor and he has pursued his intent with this volume.
Here he has used prose and poetry to awaken or reawaken faith in his readers. He admonishes and cajoles, warns and promises. He remembers growing up with devout and devoted parents who employed love, well-worn adages, and the occasional 'strapping' as necessary implements in the raising of a child.
Humor has long been an important factor in the African-American community. Whether it is used as a disguise, 'I laughed to keep from crying,' or for its rich release alone, there is no level, class, no state of African-American life without humor.
Hicks uses a subtle turn of phrase or an outright comical situation to lighten the load of this book, heavy with its intent to 'save the world.'
African-Americans have survived an unspeakable history of horror with the passion and purpose of good preachers and committed ministers.
When I read Hicks' My Soul's Been Anchored, I picture a man slave in the early 1800s cutting cane in the devouring fire of a summer sun, his back glowing with a heat which cannot be shifted even when the dark comes.
When I read Hicks' My Soul's Been Anchored, I imagine a Black woman during America's depression who had by hand laundered another family's dirty linen and scrubbed another woman's floor, nursing another's babe. I imagine her leaning against a wall or resting against a tree until dark comes.
When I read Hicks' My Soul's Been Anchored, I envision a politician in the 1990s duly elected, yet whose small temporal power so threatens the power structure that vast machineries are erected to topple the leader from the earned perch in full view of a scornful world, especially as dark comes.
Hicks wrote:
And in those moments when the night comes . . .
and there are no friends to be found when the night comes . . .
and your head is 'bowed beneath your knees'
when the night comes . . .
and the tranquillity of your home is disturbed. . .
the state of your health is suddenly imbalanced your future is grim and your fortune has slipped through your fingers . . .
your ship has come in with no cargo on board,
when the night is upon you

and it is 'blacker than a hundred midnights down in a cypress swamp,'
you and I need . . .
in that moment . . .
a night light, a light in dark places . . .
Our ancestors, yours and mine, were much smarter than are we. They knew that their survival and that of generations to come would depend upon the availability of a night light. That's why they said so often, 'Jesus is a Light in Dark Places.'

I cannot escape the reality --- nor do I wish to --- that I cannot endure the anxiety of the darkness of this world without a light. What is needed is more than a night light: The Light. I thank God that there is a Light:
'And the city had no need of the sun,
neither of the moon, to shine in it;
for the glory of the Lord did lighten it,
and the Lamb is the light thereof.'
The remark is made in an old spiritual, 'My soul looks back and wonders how I got over.' We have 'got over,' are getting over, and shall get over, with the passion and persistence of preachers like Hicks who have taken as their charge that they are here to save the world.
They have offered us Jesus Christ to help us carry the burden of inequality, poverty, and racial discrimination. They have given us Jesus Christ as a light unto our path, on the rocky road of lynching, of being the last hired and the first fired.
They have given us the healing thought that we live in the imagination of God.
And there we are, free at last. At last, even when the dark comes.

Read More Show Less

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