The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today's Thoughts- Which Turned Into A Longer Entry Than I Desired

Ah yes, the great challenge to connote deep meaning concisely as possible. At least this may force me to use bigger words.

Today's thought of the day is about engaging in culture. Perhaps another way to express it is this- should Christians strive to separate from the culture of unbelievers, or Christianize the culture of unbelievers?

For instance, rap music. All I ever heard from rap music lyrically was debauched. Sin, sin sin, sin, and more sin. Sometimes it was very heinous sin too, like raping someone's mother, or murdering someone just because you don't like them all that much.

That lead me, and many other Christians I think, to come to the conclusion, "Rap music is bad, there is no such thing as holy hip hop; anyone who tries to be a Christian and rap is going to bed with with world's music. Rap music, by its very sound and nature, appeals to the sinful flesh."

In other words, rap, and probably rock music too, has often been viewed as sinful. Just the "sound" of rock music and rap music takes your mind to sinful places, or gives you an unclean, impure feeling. Therefore, rock and rap should be avoided at all costs. That was probably my mindset for a good while, even though I didn't really outwardly express it, and I think others have/have had a similar view on things.

Then I heard Lecrae and Shai Linne and other Christian rappers, and I went to the Baptist Student Union at UNC-Pembroke where they actually played Christian hymns in a more contemporary, rock type fashion, and I realized my sin. Rock and Rap, and really any form of music, is not in and of itself sinful, no more than facebook or eating potato chips are. I really believe the reason it has come to be regarded as "unclean" is because it is the popular music of the unbelieving, sinful world of today, and therefore, the lyrics are going to be crass and crude. The reason our minds can go to sinful places or give us a feeling of sinfulness just at the sound of rock or rap music isn't because rap or rock has some mysterious sinful power to it, but because we have grown so accustomed to the sinful lyrics expressed through this genre of music that it has become a mental knee-jerk reaction to think of sinful things and to perhaps even feel unsafe, uncomfortable, and sinful.

This is getting long so I have got to close. I have incrementally come to the position that we need to both engage the culture as it is, as in infiltrate it and produce Christian musicians and artists and film makers who do not go out of the way to try to create some sort of "Christian" genre. In other words, Christian rap and Chrsitian rock is absolutely fine, as long as the lyrics are biblically and theologically sound, and that starts with a solid presentation of the gospel and the sinfulness of man. Lecrae, Shai Linne, Tedashii, and other Christian rappers are an outstanding example of this.

Yet, is it not ironic how those who can't stand classical music or traditional artwork and architecture or old-school film styles (you know, back when it wasn't packed full of action and acting actually mattered) on the grounds that those things have resulted in traditionalism and lack of variety have actually created a new type of traditionalism, which is the very thing they have claimed to want to escape?

We need variety. We need to be creating new styles of music and art and film and so on as Christians. Yes, do what the culture does today, make it better. Yes, go old school and try to recapture the power and glory of it. And also, be innovate, be inventors, create the next great style of film, artwork, architecture, book, or music. We need it all, because different styles are more suited, and better suited, to display certain aspects of God's glory and particular attributes, than others. Just as we are all part of the body of Christ, but not all the same, each with our specific roles, so is different styles of culture- each brings something to the table that we as Christians need to advance and master to glorify God.

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