To be honest I don’t think I have ever listened to Kanye West before. Give me 80’s and worship any time. I saw the whole awards thing with Taylor Swift a while ago, but that’s about it.
For me his kind of music ranks up there with jazz or opera. My sons love R&B, rap and hip hop. As I love my sons, I try to listen to the music they like when we are driving. So when I read about Kanye West’s new album I thought I’d give it a listen. You know what? I thought the lyrics were strong and the music blend was good. But I’m not writing this blog to share my unsolicited opinion about Kanye West’s music. Music is definitely a personal preference issue. I’m writing this blog because of what I’ve read about the album and what Kanye says in his lyrics.
On the song “Hands on” Kanye writes “Said I’m finna to do a Gospel album. What have you been hearing from the Christians? They’ll be the first one to judge me. Make it feel like nobody love me”.
I was chatting to my son this morning as we drove to school listening to this new album and I said, “Josh, this is a bold move. I wonder how people will react. ” Will his non-religious fans think he’s gone all ‘religious’ and will the Christian’s respond with acceptance or skepticism?
Well if you read the reviews they are across the board. Even Kanye knew that this would be the case. That’s clear in the lyrics I quoted above.
I can’t speak with the non-religious crowd as I am a Christian. Jesus is my King. But I can speak to the Christian crowd as I’m one of them.
Matthew 7:1-5 has had and continues to have a profound impact on me. I see in myself the quick tendency to evaluate hearts while all the time ignoring the sins in my life as mere struggles. I can so easily look at Kanye’s life and smugly think “I’m so much better. I’m a real Christian. ” I read some reviews, some say he’s a fake and he made the album to simply make money. Others I’ve read think it’s awesome.
If you read Matthew 7 we are commanded to look in the mirror and take care of our business and let that be our focus. So why do we lay that passage aside and act as though we know heart motives? That’s God’s job and He’s got it covered. I’m pretty sure Kanye isn’t going to email or text me to ask my opinion about himself. I really hope and pray God is at work and the lyrics certainly seem to indicate that. But I’m in no position to evaluate his heart. You and I can see his actions and his history but we aren’t God to know His heart motives so I think we should not be acting as though we can!
God does give us His Word to allow us to discern and we should all be doing that all the time for sure!! Is this album helpful, entertaining and God honoring? Does it encourage or hinder me? Those are great questions but the whole “I know why Kanye wrote this album…” is way beyond our pay grade so please knock it off.
If only we realized that the lost world looks at our judgments and hate and sees nothing but hypocrisy. Let’s use the opportunities God has given us to speak truth but let’s also bring an equal measure of grace and humility. Just like Kanye I am a sinner and just like Kanye I need God, just as much as he does!