Riding Dirty

Daytona Beach Sunrise
Daytona Beach Sunrise

Two weeks ago I was telling my Minister of Music, Lamar Willis, that the park at the end of my block which looks out on the Detroit River is the “New Belle Isle.” He looked surprised. I told him that since the State Police are now patrolling Belle Isle, which is a city park that sits as an island between Detroit and Canada, that I believe that some folk, not all folk, with expired licensed tags, expired drivers licenses, or no insurance, who once would congregate on Belle Isle, now gather at the park near my house. For the most part everyone seems well behaved. Some fire up their grills and cook out.   Some set up tents. Children play in the park and on the play scape. Some gather at the river and fish. Often the pungent aroma of marijuana wafts through the trees. Music is blasting, sub woofers pounding and everyone seems to be having a great time. Lamar had a two word response to my description of the “New Belle Isle” – “Riding Dirty.”

I nearly fell down. Laughing I asked him to explain “Riding Dirty.” He told me that it is an expression to describe riding in a car without your proper papers or worse, contraband. He also told me there is song with the same name that has been out some time by an artist named, Chamillionaire. Perhaps you know the song. If not, here are some of the lyrics:

They see me rollin
They hatin
Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
My music so loud
I’m swangin
They hopin that they gon catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
Tryin to catch me ridin dirty

Police think they can see me lean
I’m tint so it ain’t easy to be seen
When you see me ride by they can see the glean
And my shine on the deck and the TV screen
Ride with a new chick, she like hold up
Next to the playstation controller is a full clip and my pistola
Turn a jacker into a coma
Girl you ain’t know, I’m crazy like Krayzie Bone
Just tryin…

After checking out the words to the song and talking with Lamar I began to think about a theological response to the concept of “Riding Dirty.” In short, in the context of faith in God, to “Ride Dirty” is to be in a state of sin. All of us have fallen short of the expectation of God. Some people “Ride Dirty” and look dirty. These are the people with glaring and obvious sins. However, there are many others who look clean, or upright, but in actuality are “Riding Dirty.” They project one image, but when you look closer you realize they are living with terrible behaviors.

-You put on a suit an tie and seem respectful to the world, but at home you beat your wife, call her a “B”, and refuse to pay child support

-“Riding Dirty”

-You put on your dress, fix your hair, take your children to school, go to work, and then return home and get wasted on alcohol

-“Riding Dirty.” You have an image of a respectable member of society, you volunteer as a scout leader, mentor, youth advisor, but you dip in the cookie jar and misuse the children’s money…

-“Riding Dirty.” To “Ride Dirty” is to present yourself as one thing, hoping all the time that you won’t be exposed for what you really are

The flip side of “Riding Dirty” is that sometimes a person will look like a mess, look like a criminal, look like a jerk, but once you get to know them they really are good people. They look like they are “Ridding Dirty” but really they are “Riding Clean”

I promised Lamar that I am going to preach about “Riding Dirty” this Sunday. If you are free at 8:30 or 11 Am in the Detroit Area, I hope you will stop by my church at 600 E. Warren Ave. – The Plymouth United Church of Christ. The scripture I will be preaching from is below:

1 John 1: but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does the concept of “Riding Dirty” mean to you?
  2. How can we reconcile our sins to God?



God, help me to work through the inconsistencies in my life. Create in me a clean heart and renew within me a right spirit. Clean my thoughts that I might look at life the way you would have me to think. Clean my hands that I might do what is right. Clean me feet and order my steps that I might walk in a path that is consistent with you. Take away the pretense. Take away the fraud. Bless me. Keep me. Strengthen me in your Word. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III  – Daytona Beach at sunrise

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Hood at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about Nicholas Hood III Ministries at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (1 Jn 1:7–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.