Madison | To Dance While People Watch


To dance while people watch:
Graceful as trained ballerinas
We are the great balancers
and each tipped toe is
Loud like Step
Stomping the battlegrounds
A haunting Haka that rattles all who oppose us

A dance that becomes second nature like taking a breath
We all learned once to breathe
and how rare it is to forget
yet our memory wavers when it comes to dancing

Learned and remembered through trial and error
is a dance that is synchronized to the heavens
every movement is made to undermine the devil

I want to live life as if it were a dance.
Because not everyone learns to dance
And even fewer can dance in front of an audience

-to dance while people watch



The Inner

It’s funny how everything can come together all of a sudden. Like compiling inspiration for art, our lives can seem to be full of random occurrences and then BOOM! it all comes together, you see the common thread throughout and your mind is blown!
“How did I not see this sooner?”,
Yeaaah, that’s me this month. Boldness is the theme for me. And the necessity for it in a world that waters down faith to the most common denominator. At church last Sunday I asked God what boldness is and He asked me, “what’s the difference between bold text and regular text?”.
I thought for a moment and came to an answer, “boldness is unafraid to be seen.”.
For most of my life I have been afraid to be seen. I’ve hid behind what I think other people expect of me. Trying to be what I think they think I am. I keep to myself. I do what I can to not be different. But that’s not boldness. And so it’s struck me as strange when people tell me (as they have quite a few times over the last 2 years) that I’m bold. I’m like “naaaaah man, I don’t see how you see that.” But there are certain things that I am bold in. Like art. I’m transparent with what I create, it’s a sacred space I occupy in communion with God and I share that space with other people. But in other areas of my life I’m afraid to share that with other people. What if they don’t like me after I say this? What if they disagree? God reminds me that the prophets weren’t responsible for being liked, or how they were received, they- like mailmen- were responsible only for delivering the message. The message is a God informed lifestyle. And I’ve hidden that message too long. I’ve been afraid to be myself with and without God. But that fear is based in past brokenness. It has no place in the new creation that I am in Christ. He has freed me. And He has freed you! Are you afraid to be different? Don’t be! Nothing about truly being a child of God isn’t counter-cultural! We are called to relate to the whole world in a wholly different way than everybody else.

To be honest, sometimes I feel like I need permission to do things. And so when I was processing this fear of being different, God the Father gave me permission to be different, and since then I’ve felt much more free to be myself and enjoy life in the way that God created me to! While it may seem small, I’ve danced while people watch. And that, for me,  reveals that I really am engaging with a freedom to be different.

The Outer

  • I am staffing Bible School for the Nations in Madison Wi from April 30th-November 2018. But our School has a single student, and will not be run if we don’t get more. Please pray for more applicants.
  • Leading Spark (arts elective in the Discipleship Training School) has been such a growing experience for me. I’ve taught 2 of the last 3 weeks on Healing thru Art, and the connection between Prophecy and Creativity.
  • I’m on a team on UW-Madison campus called Race & Faith and we held an event 2 weeks ago that prompted a lot of discussion and thought among those who came.
  • A couple weeks ago I spoke at a high school Youth Group. I spoke for a little over an hour long and the kids were so engaged! Afterwards one of them came to me and thanked me for coming and said that him knowing that I made it through what I been through he knows that he can get through what he’s going through too.



The Photos


Sometimes discipleship happens on hallway couches!
[Some of the current Winter DTS girls, + Nathan one of the staff and african travel-mate]

Phos House staff alumni! Megan is off to latvia! And David was in Asia for the last 7ish months staffing a bible school there. And we were reunited for a good 5 minutes before David headed to cali.

Me speaking at a Youth Group

Our Base sending off a family with gifts and prayer!

Future Fair! Our base setting up to recruit new staff to our ranks!

Dinner at Phos House! The Fall Discipleship Training School came to visit us and tell us about their missions trip!

Art can be used therapeutically! Art Therapists have war veterans make masks as part of their sessions and the veterans say that their treatment progress soars! So when I taught Healing Thru Art I had the students make masks of their own representing a trauma in their life. These are their creations!

For a date night my gf and I scouted out an art show that me and the Spark team (art elective in the DTS) were planning to take our students to! Justin Eccles (the artist) spent 13 years in Istanbul running an art gallery and using his art for ministry. What a great gallery! This is the backroom ft pieces that didn’t make the show.


Propaganda spoke and performed at the Kingdom Justice Summit I went to. I’ve never met anybody I admired before, so this is a treasured experience.

My favorite song. Cynical.


The Poems

I used to take up a single page in my journal, every day
no matter how messy my thoughts were
As if even in my most desperate and deprived I had to miniaturize myself
and fit all of my sorrow on one page

This fear of taking up too much space
colored the way I relate even outside of journal entries

-Shortchanged smallness, stigmatized existence


Author: matthew charles

A transracially adopted black man, matthew’s life has been both black and white but he knows that life is not black and white. An Activist, Artist, and Mystic, matthew pursues a life centered on the learning of LOVE as justice and mercy. Well traveled, his perspective is larger than it is limited- he has traveled and taught internationally in countries such as South Africa, Tanzania, and Germany. In the US matthew has taught poetry in schools, competed in the National Poetry Slam, and self published his debut poetry collection titled “You Can Not Burn The Sun”. A budding voice in the Baltimore poetry scene if you’re interested in booking him to speak/teach/perform email

3 thoughts on “Madison | To Dance While People Watch”

  1. I am always impressed with the depth of your expressions and the wisdom unearthed when you share. Thank you for embracing who Good had called you to be with all your heart and for living the King so well.

  2. I am so Proud of the BOLD young man you are becoming!@# I pray that you will walk forward in your own uniqueness…as a chick must struggle to break out if the confining egg in order to grow…you also are shedding the old confining wslls you created and moving forward to b the man God made you ti be…Congratulations!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on boldness. They remind me of a similar journey of my own. Striving to be what other people think I think they think is indeed a bottom morass! Move forward in your new found freedom.

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