Solomon Burke “King of Rock n’ Roll Soul”

You may not recognize the name, Solomon Burke, but chances are you have heard his music. The singer/songwriter has forty plus albums to his credit and worked with everyone from The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan, Tom Waits to Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton to Allison Kraus, and more. He is even in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has been dubbed the “King of Rock n’ Roll Soul.” We interviewed Burke in 2007 and talked with him about his faith upbringing and how he responds to people that dislike him.


Burke opens up on if he has ever had atheistic thoughts.


“Impossible. Impossible. Born on top of a church. My grandmother who is my spiritual mentor, my joy, my salvation, my physical angel on earth, has given me nothing but the satisfaction of life through her prophecies, and I’m still living them today. She prophesied that I would be able to speak to the world without opening my mouth. She said I would talk to millions and I would not be there. Now, of course I realize that is by television. As a messenger, I have not yet completed my journey. There’s ups and there’s downs and there’re children we worry about- children that worry about us, grandchildren we are worried about. I have seven children and ten grandchildren that have served in the United States Army, Air Force and Marines. I have two grandchildren and one son-in-law in Iraq. I have a grandson who served three terms in Iraq and came back without a scratch on him.”


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3


Burke shares how he responds to people that dislike him and how he stays optimistic.


“Prayer, a lot of prayer. I think there’s freedom in love. I think the more we love, the more we understand what freedom is about. When death comes to our families, why? What was the reason? Was it time? Were you ready? Did God give you notice? Can you correct the wrongs? Did you ask that person to forgive you? Or did you ask God to forgive you? We fail to understand that the ministry is not Daniel in the lion’s den or Jonah in the belly of the whale or Ezekiel seeing the wheel. It’s about what’s happening now and what the Lord’s will is. We can raise an offering right after this. [hard laughter]…Life goes on and it doesn’t stand still. What you see yesterday may not be here tomorrow, so enjoy it. I make it work for me by living it The master word in life is love, love that you are, love who you want to be, love the one you’re with.”


Risen Reflections

Take your thoughts captive. If you have questions about your faith or God, don’t be afraid to ask them. Ask a pastor or small group leader to help you find the answers. Remember that it might take some time to figure out the answers. Pray and ask God to reveal His truth to you too. Evidence That Demands a Verdict, A Case for Christ and More Than a Carpenter are all great resources too to help you discover answers to your questions. Both Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell were atheists and wanted to disprove the claims of Christ but they later discovered that Jesus was who He claims to be.


Pray for your enemies. If you have someone in your life that has wronged you or caused you harm, take time this week to pray for them. Ask God to help you forgive them. When we forgive others, it doesn’t mean that we are condoning what they did. Ask God to help you to see them through His eyes and to help you to love them like Christ would love them. If you need to have a conversation and ask for forgiveness or try to reconcile ask God to help you. It might be something where you ask a pastor, mediator, small group leader or trusted friend to be a part of a conversation that is set up for mediation.


Stay positive. It can be easy to get caught up in the negativity of our culture. From putting people down to watching the news and seeing all the terrible things happening, it can be difficult to be positive. Take time this week to pray and read the Bible. If you don’t have a regular Bible study, ask a pastor or small group leader to help you find a daily devotional or Bible study guide that can help you grow in your faith. When we daily get in the Word, it can help us with our outlook for the day. God wants us to stay connected to Him through prayer and reading His word. Each of us has the opportunity to bring life to others through our words.


To read our entire interview with Solomon Burke, click here.

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