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Read this book and be reminded, and encouraged, that while God has rhythm, God is love, and God's love carries us beyond our rhythms into a fuller, more fulfilling life. Few books about following Jesus suggest that God is a deejay, but spoken word artist Brown is just taking a cue from pop singer Pink, in a brief inspirational memoir and guidebook that charts the author s relationship with music as a metaphor for how everyone can find their own new God-centered creative rhythm.

Brown, who is also a freelance journalist, tells the story of being stuck in a job she didn t like and in relationships that didn t serve her as a way to help readers understand how breaking old habits, or rhythms, allows room for deeper faith in the divine. The extended metaphors work well for the most part, though some related to baggage and dancing nearly veer into trite territory. Otherwise, Brown s book is a refreshing read from a voice that is rarely included in faith and motivational circles, complete with a soundtrack that includes OutKast, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Fred Hammond.

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It's when you finally realize you can't stomach here anymore. Our irritation is rarely about our job, our relationship or any external happening. Irritation shines a bright light on something that lives in us all along. It is the ultimate truth serum, showing us the true underlying meter of our hearts and whether our pulse is truly aligned with God's. Maybe by switching up our thought patterns we can catch our inner voice off guard and gain the advantage over it. Learning from Bruce Lee hasn't given me the desire to pummel anyone.


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If anything, it has made me what to fight the things inside me: selfishness, pride, small thinking, my seeming inability to trust God with the things that worry me. No amount of rubs on the back or well-intentioned words can make you feel as if anyone really understands anything you're going through.

The loss of my grandparents within months of each other; moving, unpacking and losing old friends to make new ones; a career of traveling the same planes that used to shuttle me between the houses of my two parents; falling in love only to be dealt my deepest broken heart; pursuing my dream only to fail miserably at it--I'm sure we all have stories like these.

These are the places where life dealt us a swift but powerful blow to the gut, knocking the breath out of our very lungs and then focusing us to stand up, take it and continue to life. These moments are inevitable. The difficult part about when our rhythm is broken is that the breaking is out of our control.

What do you do when things you can't control change around you, leaving you broken, wounded and shaken? Why me? And then, why, God? Why do YOU do this to me? Yes, I whine, complain and throw temper tantrums. God can seem so silent when the rhythm is breaking. He seems suddenly mute in a time when I really need to hear him speak and explain to me why all of this is happening.

I want him to tell me what I'm supposed to gain from this and how I'm supposed to go on and live, to try and not give up.

Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God by Amena Brown

When the rhythm breaks you, it makes you want to quit and question everything you ever staked your life on. Anytime in life when I have experienced the beat down, my relationship with God gets very honest. And he always does And sometimes that doesn't look like immediately paying the bills or quickly sending a date or making my hips look like Beyonce's but he always helps. Whether it's helping me to remember that no matter how lonely I feel I'm not walking through anything by myself, that he's always with me; or whether it's him helping me to remember that it's ok when I'm weak because he is more than strong enough--not just strong enough for me, but strong enough to handle the weakness of the whole world.

The peace comes because, though you may not know what's going to happen or how the plotline of your life will unfold or if you'll ever find love again or if you'll ever be able to pay those bills piling up on the table, you do know one thing--one that you can be sure of. God knows all and sees all, which means he knows you and sees you. Times like these force us not to focus on our circumstances but instead to look at the One who knows and has control over them.

If we let it, the beat down can makes us stronger, can tell us what we really believe.

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Because it's easy to believe that God provides when you've got a steady paycheck, and it's easy to accept that love is patient and kind and available when you have someone else's hand to hold, when all the stoplights seem to be green, when everyday things seem to come together as planned and expected. But it's a whole lot more difficult to believe in God when things don't make sense, when loss and confusion crowd in. That's when we know if we really believe God like we say we do. Pink's metaphor was cool until I dug into it, realizing if God is the DJ and my life is the dance floor, then he is in constant control of the songs that play.

Sometimes right as I'm getting into the groove of a particular tune, Mr.

DJ of All DJs switches the cut on me, forcing me to find a completely new rhythm to dance to. It is most likely that I have allowed my pride, unforgiveness, anger, lies, unbelief, or sin to plant my feet in a vicious moonwalk that slowly and seductively dances me away from him. I could only get so close to the DJ booth, but there's always something we can do to get closer to God.

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Maybe it starts with being honest enough with him to admit we don't want to do what it takes to be closer to him and ask for his help. Maybe it starts with forgiving someone, letting go of a grudge. Maybe it means telling him we're hurt, angry, disappointed. He's waiting for us to dismantle our walls and let him mend us, in the same way a DJ can connect the beat and tone of two records.

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I've had moments when I met someone at a party, at a conference or through a friend of a friend. We didn't know each ohter's life story, didn't grow up together, had no history, but we found common ground in the things we had survived or were in the process of surviving. This means a broken heart is never wasted.

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When you've had a broken heart, you know the damage that words like "Just get over it" can do. This is a chance to be more human and less holier-than-thou. When we hurt, when we suffer, the greatest thing we can do for other people is let them know they are not alone after all. This is part of what's amazing about Jesus: part of why he put on human skin is so he could demonstrate we're not alone. I wondered if the tension he talked about was a part of how our will and God's will work together. God gave humans free will so that how he relates to us would not be like having a relationship with a west noodle or a robot.

In turn, it is difficult to follow him when we are determined to have our way despite his way being better, when we are determined that we will not be led. The dance with God works most beautifully when we bring our will to him and let him turn us and teach us new steps as he sees fit. I thought he kept allowing me to feel lonely to hurt me After throwing a few temper tantrums, I discovered that punishment was not God's intent at all.

It was that in his God way he was using loneliness to show me that I was never alone, that there was this everlasting space that relationship with him was meant to fill. I could run to people, looks or my to do list all I wanted to, but no one and nothing would be as he is.

I've always got my phone on me, and half the time I'm carrying my computer. Social networking gives me the voyeuristic pleasure of eavesdropping on other people's lives while posting all of the ignorant, attention-getting things I can muster. Following God is an ancient practice that sometimes requires us to silence our modernity and unplug to plug in.

In that moment, how small I am when standing next to God becomes a stark reality. I realize I don't deserve to be there. I haven't been afforded the opportunity of going on stage because I'm awesome or eloquent or grand or amazing. I've simply been afforded the opportunity because God has allowed it. I stand in his name and reputation. And that is enough. Then I think about how much God loves me. I think about how much my little brain can fathom of his love, about how much I don't deserve this either, but he lavishes, pours, gives his love anyway. Jan 05, MayFlour rated it really liked it.

As her first book, it was a good read. I enjoyed getting to know Amena through her stories and consider how God might not fit in the Box and Beat I have had Him in before. Her best work is her spoken poetry check it out live if you can!! Made me consider taking dance lessons, ha! May 19, Blake Atwood rated it really liked it Shelves: signed. Amena Brown is an absurdly talented spoken word artist, fearless of speaking the truth through arresting rhymes and wordplay.


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  • In her first book, Breaking Old Rhythms , she's written an honest, humorous, engaging work that encapsulates her passions for music, dance, her husband, and, above all, God. As a drummer, I especially appreciated this line: "Watching the interplay between an upright bassist, a keys player and a trumpet player—the way they listen to each other, riff off one another's notes Amena Brown is an absurdly talented spoken word artist, fearless of speaking the truth through arresting rhymes and wordplay.

    As a drummer, I especially appreciated this line: "Watching the interplay between an upright bassist, a keys player and a trumpet player—the way they listen to each other, riff off one another's notes and complement each other's solos—echoes Jesus' humility to me, the mystery and holiness of the Trinity, and the way prayer is a dialogue between the infinite and finite. Breaking is a recommended read. Mar 05, Regine Darius rated it it was amazing.

    Young or old, woman or man, anyone can see similarities between their own life and the story Brown has woven in this book. Brown echoes the worries and doubts that everyone has and shows them that no matter the luggage, no matter the moves, no matter the lack of rhythm, you can approach God and He will be waiting for you, eager to step in and dance with you, right wher Music is an universal language and Amena Brown uses it profoundly in Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God.

    Brown echoes the worries and doubts that everyone has and shows them that no matter the luggage, no matter the moves, no matter the lack of rhythm, you can approach God and He will be waiting for you, eager to step in and dance with you, right where you are.

    And that's a message that everyone needs and wants to hear. Apr 13, Karess rated it really liked it. Amena Brown's "Breaking Old Rhythms" is a very refreshing read. First off, I appreciate how she writesit's like she has a rhythm as you read on, and she invites you to dance with her as she tells you her story. I also found her stories very relatable and close to home. I appreciate her honesty, being humble enough to expose her mistakes and mess-ups. If you would like to know more about our creative God and who He is, go get a copy of this book.

    You won't be disappointed! Jan 28, Rebekah rated it it was amazing. I'm just so thankful I picked up this book. We often talk about how each of us are unique and have a special voice to bring to those around us; this book allows that truth to grow in my heart. I loved the story of how God used her unique interests to reveal his love and truth to her heart. I loved that she shared it with us.