Art shapes and directs us as we observe voices that differ in opinion and worldview.
Typically, I find myself listening to music which is comfortable or gives me positive emotions on my ride home to curb my road rage tendencies. The diversity in my music playlist is often flat and rarely encourages me to critically think about any aspect of my life. I find my practice to differ in other areas of entertainment, though. When it comes to TV and movies I am much more inclined to be engaged and challenged. Shouldn’t music be the same way? With an art form that has been around for millennia, and is just as expansive, we should bring ourselves to become better listeners to the multitude of voices.
Recently, I have challenged myself to listen to music that is not in my wheelhouse. On this journey, one album has stood out to me: Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper. Through the lens of a rapper, he voices his joys and trials about faith. Chance professes to be a Christian and discusses his faith and how it has impacted his music in the article below.
This article follows a conversation that I find truly inspiring. Chance uses his craft to not only critique the music industry but modernize perceptions of Gospel music. Lowe comments, “How Great is Our God,” is like “new church,” which Chance responds to saying, “That’s the whole process of this thing, it’s like putting God back in our hands in everyday life.”
As Christians, this should be our day in and day out goal. Sadly, I think often congregations and church leaders try to sanctify the Gospel and worship services by keeping it in the hands of those they feel comfortable with. As a minister, I am frequently guilty of this. Sometimes it is hard to trust teens and those we teach in class to lead, teach, or speak in the name of Christ. What if they do it wrong? What if they do not have enough knowledge of scripture? What if it looks bad and reflects poorly on my ministry?
But I believe Chance is voicing the opinion of most here. Everybody wants and needs the Gospel “in their hands.” The retention rate is too few as we suggest students to sit in a pew on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights and consume rather than participate in this message. I want to use this opportunity to take a lesson from Chance and put the message of Christ back into hands that are calling out for it.
Join the discussion below!
The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other. —Thomas Stallkamp