Last Saturday night, the Anyabwile 5 loaded up the SUV and drove a few short blocks to see the Poets in Autumn Tour featuring Janette…ikz, Preston Perry, Jackie Hill Perry and Ezekiel Azonwu. My kids didn’t know what to expect. As it turns out, me and Mrs. A weren’t quite ready for what we witnessed that night either!
If you like good poetry, if you want to be spiritually edified, if you don’t mind a good challenge to live in holiness, then you need to check out this tour! Let me give you ___ reasons (I would make it a poem, but I ain’t got those kind of skills!).
From the opening pieces through all the headliners, we were treated to real life. This is poetry meets brokenness. I never quite clicked with the poetry of my high school literature class because it always seemed to be about subjects, people and places far away from my small town life. But these artists and their wordcraft walked right down my little street, telling me about life the way it really is. And it was powerful!
I guess this is an extension of the point above, but it kinda needs its own comment. It’s one thing to be “real,” but it’s another to put reality on naked display. There’s a refreshing rawness in this show. Not the lewd “rawness” of Hollywood films teetering on obscenity and irreverence, but the transparent rawness of people who have suffered serious brokenness and by God’s grace live to tell about it. The poetry is infused with a sense that playing and acting do more to ensnare and enslave than simply admitting the whole truth about ourselves. The testimonies of abuse, molestation, and sexual sin brought us face-to-face with demons and nightmares many people try to suppress and flee. It’s raw in the best sense because…
The tour was also redemptive. There was not celebrating of sin and brokenness. They weren’t poetic “shock jocks” trying to build a reputation by reveling in their past sins. Sometimes Christian testimonies boast more of former sins than they do of our freeing Savior. Not so here. Running throughout the show in poems and testimonies was the Good News of Jesus Christ. Held out to every attendee was the promise that faith in Christ will not disappoint but deliver. Again, not in clichéd terms with escapist overtones. But with this intense and insistent proclamation that Jesus is real and so is His redemption. Really the entire show was a study in biblical and deeply applied theology. We were allowed to eavesdrop on the first couple at the Fall. We heard Satan’s ruminations and defeat. We got a glimpse of the church’s hypocrisy and Christ’s love, of our struggles for a consistent prayer life and pure sexual witness. And it was all redemptive.
By the way PIA, thanks for coming to a spot in our side of town! If you haven’t gone, check out the tour dates and swing by a venue near you. You will not be disappointed!