Kanye’s new album Jesus is King will drop this Friday along with an IMAX movie. If you’re like me, you might be tempted to hide your inner excitement behind an outward shield of cynicism. To be honest, Kanye’s 180 degree power slide of a life change first struck me as either Damascus-style miraculous or totally unbelievable. But I’ve never known Kanye. I just know of Kanye. I loved his track, “Jesus Walks.” But I’ve treated the rest of his music with absolute indifference.
Ten years ago, I gave up on Kanye and rap music in general because most of it was either positive and cheesy, or it was inventive and insulted women/overtly glorified the sex, money, drugs lifestyle. In the last few years though, thoughtful rappers with a Christian worldview made me believe in hip hop again. I hope Kanye’s new album further reinforces my leanings.
Regardless of how his album sounds or what message it conveys, I think it’s a mistake to make any judgments that condemn or glorify Kanye as a person. For me, Kanye West could easily be just a conversation starter or a Facebook post. To Jesus, Kanye is a human- a human worth all of God’s love, blood, and sacrifice. For that reason, I want to share 6 ways I’ve been tempted to respond to Kanye’s conversion in order to help you avoid the same pitfall. It’s easy for me to try to act as the judge and the jury, but in those moments, I hope I always remember Kanye’s new album title, Jesus is King. And fortunately for Kanye and everybody else, I’m not.
- When the prodigal son came home, the Father did not say, “Well, we’ll see if this sticks.” The Father ran to His son, embraced him, and threw a huge party. Whenever someone comes home, instead of protecting myself with cynicism, I want my reaction to be, “Let’s throw a party.” The kingdom of God is one big, continual party of sinners coming home. It’s not a Father who’s watching and waiting for us to mess up.
- Kanye can’t validate or invalidate Christianity. He might make it more acceptable in pop culture, but pop culture is like shifting sand. If I live by the trends recycled by Kanye or any other famous or non-famous human, my life will constantly crumble in earthquakes of bipolarity.
- I won’t go there. God knows Kim. I don’t. Like me, like the rest of us, she’s a prodigal our Father has or gladly will welcome home. It’s not up to me to swing the gavel and sentence her to “godlessness.” No matter what she says or wears, I’m not her judge. Remember, Jesus is King.
- Am I? I have a hard enough time remembering to pray for my family and friends. Chances are I’m probably not spending very much time praying for Kanye. I don’t want to say, “Praying for __________” unless I actually am praying. “I’ll pray for you” is like a church version of “Let’s do lunch.” Unless I write it down right then, it’s probably not going to happen.
- Kanye needs God’s forgiveness exactly as much as I do. Not more. Not less. We’ve all fallen way short of God’s glory. If Kanye needs more grace in my mind than I do, I’m severely underestimating the depth of my own depravity.
- First of all, a swear word doesn’t disqualify me or anyone else from God’s love or from being an active follower of Jesus. Whether or not I use the “S#!+,” “D@=~,” or “F^(#” when I stub my toe or write a song lyric doesn’t provide others with enough evidence to condemn or exonerate my soul. It only shows whether or not I’ll be considered for Christian radio.
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