Well, I gave my friend Lakisha a copy of Get Right Church for Christmas. She told me she was going to take it home and listen to it during a nice hot bath, where she could relax enough to concentrate on the message. Now, Rev. Cleveland knows how to raise the roof, so I was surprised she wanted to listen to jumpin’ happy music at such a time.

Anyway, we got on to the subject of the message. “I can’t stand to hear anybody sing about ‘before it’s too late,'” I said. “I can’t believe that you don’t go on learning after you die, so you could still grow enough to repent.”

“Well,” said Lakisha thoughtfully, “it depends on what we come back as. If you’re gonna come back as a ladybug, you’re not gonna learn nothin’.”

I had an answer for that, and it was interesting and possibly even wise, but also totally irrelevant to my sermon story tonight.

“Be exactly what you are,” said Rev. Franklin, “and let God work it out.”

Or, as an unnamed gentleman told me at a Friends of Negro Spirituals event I went to, “We each have to interpret these things in our own way.”

Maybe Lakisha doesn’t believe in reincarnation, but she was willing to entertain the idea. No, it was she, not I, who brought it up. I guess it was the handiest way for her to make sense of my idea, of learning after death.

But, you know, I was a Christian once, and I sure wouldn’t have stepped outside my belief system to carry on a conversation like this.

Mad props to Lakisha! And more Happy New Year!

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