Bags of Bran


Yo, Christian Rap Fans!
December 26, 2013, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Destined to get me in trouble | Tags: ,

In your insistence that your opposition provide proof-positive examples of moral and immoral music, don’t let’s get ahead of yourselves. I know, it’s easier to attack a perceived weakness in your interlocutor’s argument rather than present your own, but you still have some explaining to do.

You see, it’s not just Christian rap that you have to defend: it’s the whole menagerie of banality that Christianity, Inc. has trotted out for the enfeeblement of the sensibilities over the past 50 years.

In other words, you have to make sure you have enough wagons in your defense of “there is no such thing as moral music if the words are Christian” to encircle this as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-NOZU2iPA8

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5 Comments so far
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Let’s be fair. The issue much like your post about the conversation about art is about the artists intention and their expression. The video is a group who seeming have good intention but like do not meet the quality standards of any of the proponents of Christian Hip Hop.

Here’s an invitation to hear some of this Christian Hip Hop artists talk about their intent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAdmMn4Ukro&feature=c4-overview&list=UUqa9g2Y24wuPP6uFhrTfoFg

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Comment by Lotus

Lotus,

I think it would be fair to say that the Golden Calf was a well-intentioned episode. So were the altars at Dan and Bethel.

The issue is obedience. If you think the rappers are being obedient, then you have to defend them, which is what you’re doing. Bravo.
However, you have to defend ALL well-intentioned Christian entertainers with equal vigor. If the only box on the checklist is intention, then you can’t be all “separate but equal” about it. That’s my point here.

The problem with watching more YouTube videos where people say that their good intentions place them above criticism is that I don’t believe it. I don’t think Christian Hip Hop people are being obedient. I don’t think their wares are above criticism, no matter how many “trusted voices” think otherwise. I don’t think that hip-hoppers have finished repenting, as it were, so to hear them talk about how they want to glorify God, it sounds a little thin.

That’s why conservatives will never agree with you: taking a medium that is really really super good for self-aggrandizement and/or denunciation and trying to use it to teach doctrine? If they want to do spoken-word poetry, awesome! They do it well when they want to. But to make it sound like the stuff that people listen to before they shoot each other in my neighborhood? Why?

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Comment by christopheram

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. The issue that I have is with the statement made here: “But to make it sound like the stuff that people listen to before they shoot each other in my neighborhood?” This type of generalization is over the top considering the listening audience of hip hop music is actually overwhelmingly non violent. They are NOT shooting each other. That is the part that is not fair. That is the stigma that the subgenre has to overcome for sure but it is not what is actually going on at every event or is it even the norm. I think the core issue here is what social norms should be the standard for Christian living. And on what basis are we judging the Christian rapper’s repentance. Do you think it even possible for them to be in good standing with God while rapping?

The issue of quality is another thing that is completely subjective. I believe the song you posted to be of poor quality. I have actually had this discussion with close friends who invited me to their church. A local artist “ministered” in the form of rap that I thought was poor quality (though better than the link you posted). The congregation however loved it. In this case I would defend the right of that artist based on their content but not on their quality. Their audience is the local body in which they serve, not mainstream media outlet. I actually advocate for more pastoral involvement in helping their ministers/laymen discern the quality of their art along with the content. I think healthy local churches are key helping properly develop the Christian artist’s artistic expression.

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Comment by Lotus

I think this is the point of divergence. Why were the Israelites commanded to not marry pagan wives, not worship in the high places, not adopt the ways of their pagan neighbors, etc.?

Anyways, I’m planning to explore this idea a little more and along a different track. I don’t intend any definitive answers but invite reflection.

To your question, which is a good one: can rappers be in good standing with God while rapping? I dunno: can I be in good standing before God when taking the Lord’s Table? I can’t keep track of my every sin. God is a gracious heavenly Father whose mercy will endure forever. If Reformed rappers are brothers in Christ, which I presume to affirm, then it’s sad to think that they’re inadvertently trivializing good, true, and beautiful things. But even if God is angry at them, like He is with me when I sin, it is restorative anger, not punitive. They aren’t Balaams; they aren’t false teachers. In my thinking, they’re patently ineffective teachers who succeed only because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Same as the Power Team.

Was every Israelite guilty of treason who genuinely worshipped in good conscience at a high place? I don’t think so, but think how much better it could have been.

This is only my perspective, and I thank you for being gentlemanly (assumption re: gender) in your quisitions.

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Comment by christopheram

Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

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Comment by Lotus




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