Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Should God's People Utilize Hip-Hop and Rap Music in Worship?

I visited a new church last weekend. At least it was new for me. I arrived late, I'm sorry to admit. The lights were out in the church sanctuary since the audience was viewing a film made by the teens. I love to see the young people of any congregation express their talents in declaring their love for God. The video displayed a lot of the teens performing a rap song. I guess it had to do with God. I couldn't grasp the entire message.

Afterwards, many individuals who stood at the podium were loosely using hip-hop lingo and hand gestures when they spoke. It was strange and out of place.

I know, you're probably saying to yourself, "Louis, you're getting old and are no longer with it." I wish I could chalk it up to just my age. Rather, I am especially sensitive to the hip-hop generation after reading the book Enough by Juan William, radio and TV commentator.

In his book Williams hits hard on the hip hop and rap culture. Most of the rap songs exalt crime, illiteracy, a low view of black women, violence and derogatory language about black people. Over and over I have heard the "N" word blasting out of the car speakers of a white teenager while he listens to rap. I've heard rappers refer to black women as "bitches" and "Hoes." Juan Williams points out the danger of rap music and the negative message it portrays for young black and white people.

I won't allow my fourteen year old to listen to rap in my car, our home or on his iPod. In fact, it is my hope that the rap industry - which is fueled by white music moguls using black rap artists to say the worse things about black women so young white teens can buy the music - dies a quick death Please read Juan William's book and learn these things yourself from a black author.

So when a church starts using rap music and employing hip-hop lingo in God's house, I often want to know if the pastor spends any time exposing the debilitating effects of this style of music on young people's thinking. Personally, I think rap music is one of the most uncreative forms of music. You can stop listening to rap for three years, then start listening to it once more and it sounds exactly the same. Once in awhile a few creative rap artists come along like Kanye West.

I really don't want to see the hip hop culture invade the house of God. The focus of a congregation is on God not our culture.. Followers of God need to be exposing the dirt in our culture not rub it on our faces and display it in a sanctuary. Some may think they can clean up hip-hop and rap and use the form of it in a church setting. However, the style of rap is angry and belligerent. That same feeling comes across when a rapper raps about Jesus.

You can clean up a car that badly needs a paint job. Regardless if you wax that car until it glistens, it still needs to be repainted.

Parents, if your kids listen to rap, sit down with them and read the lyrics. In a few minutes they'll become too embarrassed to utter the curse words and demeaning comments made about women in front of Mom and Dad.

Contemporary and classical music belong in a worship service. However, the line has to be drawn when we pull in music styles that go against the fiber of what the Bible teaches us about being respectful to others.


ethan said...

I think you are over generalizing rap music. You are mixing secular rap with gospel rap. That's like saying 50 Cent and LeCrae are the same. They both rap, but have you ever even heard LeCrae? What about Flame? Or 116 Clique(A christian rap group) They are using rap to reach people from different cultures. I'm not blaming this on your age but your close mindedness. Look up some Christian Gospel Rap lyrics. They are some of the most amazing lyrics ever. If you don't know any search up "Joyful Noise" by Flame. I love listening to that song and singing along and worshipping my Heavenly Father. How can you say rap shouldn't be in the church? Psalm 98:4 "Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!" ESV

That doesn't say "BUT you can not sound like this music or this or this." Honestly if it weren't for Christian rap and hardcore music I wouldn't listen to Christian music at all. I believe true Christian music doesn't depend on how it sounds or what genre it is, but rather what are the lyrics? Are the lyrics glorifying our Father in Heaven? I say yes, true Christian rap/hip hop does.

I would like to discuss this further with you if possible. My blog, www.half-retarded.com, has my contact information on it.

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