When I was growing up, my pastor at the time used to say, various forms of “Fake it til you make it.” This quote came up in an article about sleep, a quote I’ll share with you in the next blog post. When my pastor said it, it was almost always a way to encourage the church to move toward what was lacking in life so as to keep moving and not be stuck.
I have good memories of the many ways Bishop Trotter used to preach this message, drive this point, tune this into us. I miss hearing him because I’m not there anymore, but I imagine him preaching in strength and it’s inspiring to an old part of me.
As a son in the faith to him, I know better than most that this was one of Bishop’s most enduring slants. He would call himself, when I was serving there on the staff, “an encouragement preacher.” That shows his inclination, his method, and his motivation. He preached themes of encouragement as a matter of vocation. There’s what he did and there’s what I did with it.
Like everyone in his audience, I had to take in and do something with that overriding message. This homiletic device became troublesome for me. It became a way for me to resist engaging with the specific ways I needed to be true and not fake. I couldn’t negotiate with being fake and being real at the same time. Many can’t to my way of thinking.
I’ve held the memory of that message and its intent. I’ve added to it, my message after the period. So it’s more of a story I tell, with part of the story being that historical fake-it-til-you-make-it sermon and another part being about truly pursuing what’s authentic to me, what’s honest, what’s true.
I’m on a life hunt to be honest, to be truthful, to un-do the deceptive people and systems that cause the unhealth of my people. My image for years from Jeannice and Kwabena sits on my desk. It’s a Ghanaian horn-blower, a truth-teller. It’s true as I see it. Fake it til you make and create the supportive communities that help you make it. Like Bishop and his image, I have this one.
Of course, the beauty in Sweet Holy Spirit was and is that the community enabled God’s people to regularly, consistently, and persistently make it. May we keep the ascents where they need to be for each successive emphasis.