Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Dirty Gospel of Reverend Vince Anderson

I was recently asked by a reporter from a popular New York City publication about my thoughts regarding one of my MySpace friends, Vince. Well I had to respond back, “uhhhhmmmmm excuse me, but I have a number of friends named Vince, which Vince are you asking about?” She quickly replied, “The Reverend Vince Anderson.” Well to say the least, I got this great big smile on my face. You see one of my favorite folks at MySpace I have gotten to know, even if only a little, is the Reverend Vince Anderson.

Reverend Vince Anderson you see is an icon in the Brooklyn New York area. He is an assistant pastor at The Revolution Church in NYC. His record label is titled, Dirty Gospel, which is what he calls his style of music. Reverend Vince has four records on that label, which I regret to say I own none, but I listen as much as possible to his music on his page, as well as his YouTube videos. I may just have to remind my wife, and children, that a Reverend Vince CD would be a most excellent Christmas present.

Now I know from the get go, a lot of people will be critical of me paying tribute to someone like Reverend Vince, but I have to tell you, the man makes me think of ways we should be sharing the message of Jesus with folks out there. He made the commitment some years ago to take that message to the bars and taverns around NYC, and over the years has been able to take that message all over the world to various places. Now his methods may be unorthodox, but for some reason, I can’t help but think that his methods bring a smile to the face of Jesus. While many Pharisees will be critical of the approach of going into bars, I know from my own experiences years ago, for those who love Jesus, for those who want to share Jesus with those who aren’t religious, there just isn’t many places better and Reverend Vince is doing a fantastic job of taking his music to the places people need to hear it the most.

While some may not like his methods, I have to ask, is getting people to think about the person of Jesus Christ have benefit? I think it does, I think that if truth be told, Reverend Vince may have gotten more people who aren’t in church to think about Jesus than most any pastor I can think of. You see, the same old methods of the church reaching out to those who aren’t in the church just don’t work. The church has this position that those who don’t know God, don’t love Jesus will come to the church while we are in the process of putting those people down, condemning them to hell and on and on. Well if you ask me, those methods of yelling at, chasing away, and so forth don’t work with dogs, they sure won’t work with people. Reverend Vince in that regard has a concept that works.

I have to tell you, I don’t care much for how the top friends and all are used at MySpace. I personally have my top friends set on random and love it as it prevents me from having to pick out my so called favorites, but ol’ Reverend Vince has his set up the old fashioned way, he has his top friends ordered. I know pride is a terrible thing, but I kind of have this sense of pride in knowing that Reverend Vince, for whatever reason, has had me on his top friends list for some time. I don’t know why that is, but it is and to tell you the truth, I kind of find it as a badge of honor. A man I respect, a man who is doing a lot of things right who understands, values, music and Jesus for some reason sees something in me. I only hope it is Jesus, I know when I look at Reverend Vince, I see a lot of Jesus. For those non religious, spiritually truth seeking folks out there, who happens to love a good measure of blues music laced with organ and horns, check him out for yourself, you will see real quick, he is different.

I have never had the honor of meeting Reverend Vince; have never had the opportunity to visit his church. I hope to someday, I know there will be things we disagree on, I also know there will be things we agree on, we will agree on a good tune laced with the blues, a good friend who many will consider a sinner, and a good savior named Jesus. In the process, we will also agree on the importance of letting people, all kinds of people, know that God does in fact love them. Our methods will likely be more similar than not, and there will likely continue to be many Christians who disagree with the approach we use, but in the long run, I know the methods work. I know they work because there are people listening, just as I am still listening to the music of Reverend Vince Anderson.

Here is the question I would ask each person reading this, are people still listening to you? Is your life, your music intriguing enough that people want to know more? There is this old fashioned, almost Pentecostal concept presented by Reverend Vince in the song, Water To Wine, the concept that “miracles don’t stop!” Yet for many who follow after Jesus, for many who seek spiritual truth it is almost as if we believe that Jesus is somehow different today and that his miracle working power of reaching those in bars, in taverns, the smoker, the toker, Jim Bean lover, sexually addicted, Atheistic, pornographic loving, three pieced suit wearing drug dealing gang banger don’t exist anymore. Well let me tell you, I disagree. Jesus and those who follow him should still be accused of being drunks, gluttons, partying, heathens because of those they hang out with. Not because we are under their influence, but because we are using the influence of Jesus of Nazareth, and his Holy Spirit to share God’s love with a world Jesus came and died for.

Jesus came to earth to give of himself and share his love; surely we can find it in ourselves to go to the places across town where the “sinners” live that need to hear that message of love and forgiveness. Now that song of life that involves sharing Jesus love might be laced with the blues, but it is concluded with a victory party that ends up in heaven. A party I can’t wait to participate in, a party that God is reminded of every time folks like Reverend Vince, Pastor Dave at Third Day in Fresno, David Bruce from Hollywood Jesus, and hopefully I and many others like Reverend Z engage in! In those moments we experience life and do the things we love. We know others can be touched if we do what we do out of love and out of obedience of doing the things Jesus told us to do. We know we have to take Jesus' message of love and salvation to all corners of the earth, not just the fancy smancy, suburbs and theaters of worship filled with gold hungry, pride seeking people in the places often called churches. God forgive us of that sin, and the sins of being critical of people like Reverend Vince who is doing, somehow, and in some ways, the very things I think Jesus would have us all doing.

I hope you enjoy some of the music of Reverend Vince Anderson.

Just click on the following videos, if the video don’t appear, just click on the provided link;

Dorothy’s Song

Abide With Me

Live from Black Betty’s in Brooklyn

Live at Black Betty’s, Water Into Wine

Dear Lunatics

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