24 March 2012

Christian Rap

Downloading some books on Writing from "free-ebooks.net", I saw a book entitled "1 God". The description of the book was: "522 pages of poems depicting the Omniscient Creator, irrefutably proving that there is only one Creator who created this whole universe...". Needless to say, I was hooked! Like a car flying to the finish line in the last stretch of road I was headed for the download button with my mouse. And then I saw the name of the author -Nikhil Parekh.


Well, that 'car' headed for the download button came to a screeching halt for the author was Indian. This brought questions in my mind as to which deity this book spoke of considering that India is a deeply religious nation with at least 8 major religions and a million 'Gods'. The comments on the book confirmed my hesitation with comments such as "The writer really needs to sit and think about everything that is right and not mix up faiths, as was done in the front pages."

I know of at least two powerful Indian Christian-make that three-Yahweh serving preachers and so it wouldn't have been so fat fetched that Nikhil Parekh would happen to be of a Christian persuasion and that his book would be about Yahweh, however in my mind Indians are synonymous with the worship of thousands of deities other than Yahweh and so I hesitated.

I have a similar problem with Christian Rap.

I think rap has established itself in our day as musical art, a force to be reckoned with. Whether you accept it or not, or like it or not, rap is a musical genre. One of my most favorite preachers bashed it as a none creative form of music but I disagree. Rap music can be very well crafted and presented. I have heard and enjoyed a few rap songs which have appealed greatly to me, even non-Christian in fact although I do not particularly enjoy the genre.

However, I cannot accept Christian Rap in a church I attend. I can accept it at a concert (in extremely limited measure -I cannot bring my self to attend a rap concert) or in my mp3 player (a song or two) but not in the Sunday church service. This is not because of Christian rap itself but because of the things rap is associated to in my head. My mind associates rap with certain things. I associate it with Tupac, Jay-Z, Eminem and so on. I cannot worship aright in a church service with such connotations and associations going on in my head. And so for the weaker brother, in this case me, I will be a member of a church where fellow weaker brethren are.

Some churches do not suffer from such associations and connotations and so accept rap in their meetings. I have no problem with that, but I cannot manage to be a member with them, I can probable attend one or two services and survive but that's it. Indians are to idolatry as rap is to Tupac -its a connotation, an association, a perception in my head and as wrong as they may be, they do exist.

Having said that I do feel that rap can be used to the glory of God. I feel it would be an invaluable tool in winning the unregenerate of my generation (I am one of them but I am not of them, I'm old school :-) ). It would be meeting them where they are and at their level. It would be speaking to them in a language they understand. However, the Christian rappers have a lot of work to do, in redefining the image of rap. And I do not see enough effort on this issue from the Christian rap society.

The only thing that seems to have changed are the lyrics. The mannerisms, gestures, dressing, body art, chains etc, are all the same. Surely, it must be different. No wonder I struggle still. Someone at a concert comes up to rap and other than the lyrics everything else is the same. The so-called Christian rap concerts have the same aura and wildness of worldly rap concerts. No wonder the unregenerate feel right at home at those concerts rather than challenged and convicted. That is the challenge that Christian rappers face today. God help them.