There will come a time when Kanye West isn’t the name on everybody’s tongue, and I think that scares him so he does/says things that keep him in everybody’s vision. Well, this week he’s done it again. During a show in Seattle, Kanye brings out Jesus (an actor, obviously) on stage, has a dialogue with him about what Jesus has come to do then goes into the song ‘Jesus Walks.’
As you can imagine, Christians everywhere are in uproar. A concert goer can even be heard exclaiming “he’s gone to far” when the actor walks out. Prayer requests have been put in for him, he is lost, the devil has got his grip on dear Kane, night vigils will be held, etc, etc, etc. There is a lot of judgment going on but I have yet to see what exactly this man has done wrong.
Kanye doesn’t have a good rep among the Christian crowd, he thinks himself a god, he’s proud and arrogant, he’s part of the illuminati*, he’s sold his soul to the devil*, and so on, but most of all he’s too open and honest about his struggles, spiritual and otherwise. And Christians don’t like that. We say “come as you are” but have a long list of terms and conditions attached that most of can’t even fulfill, we like to pretend a lot, keep things underwraps, stay silent on things that we should be speaking up against, we feel shame very easily and Kanye doesn’t fit that. Kanye is proud and arrogant, but he is also bold – a characteristic that is actually compulsory if you’re a Christian – he challenges his & other’s way of thinking.
If you’ve followed his career from College Dropout to Yeezus, it’s easy to kind of track where he is in his career, he’s very open with his contradictions and questions. I was speaking to a friend about this last week, and Kanye is a walking contradiction, e.g. he made a whole song demonizing consumerism yet sold a plain white t-shirt for $200. The difference between his $200 plain white tee, and a £3 one from Primark is the label. We all have ideas and thought within us that contradict and that we wrestle with.
I haven’t listened to Yeezus in it’s entirety because frankly, I lost interest in Kanye just before MBDTF, for no other reason than I just didn’t find his music interesting anymore. From what I’ve heard, it’s not a great album but he addresses a lot of issues that he as a person wrestles with, religion, socio-economic power, consumerism, racial politics and relationships, and other stuff. A criticism about the album is that it is blasphemous, from it’s title, to the Rolling Stones promotional cover, to the song ‘I am a god’, to the tour poster. I agree that these things are blasphemous, and I am not excusing him however, bringing out Jesus on stage & having him basically quote scripture, is not. Especially if it preludes ‘Jesus Walks’, as opposed to ‘I am a god.’
The thing is, Christians assume that only we have a right to use/access God. You don’t hear any outcry during nativity or Easter plays, nobody is vex while watching the Jesus movie (the old school one where every single character looks like they rolled around in dust before the scene), some folk were upset at the Passion of the Christ but not because there was an actor portraying Jesus, so what exactly is Kanye’s sin here?
The message in ‘Jesus Walks’ isn’t unbiblical, what the actor says on stage isn’t unbiblical, so what exactly has he done wrong? I think it’s reached a point where if Kanye was seen entering a church building there’d be uproar, “how dear he, that evil-doer, be in the house of the Lord?!” We need to be earnest and careful in our judgments, yes we will know the righteous from the unrighteous by their fruits, but at the same time only God knows the heart, temptations, and struggles an individual faces. Nobody knows what Kanye is going through, and it is unfair to falsely accuse him when he hasn’t actually done anything wrong – in this case.
Kanye kinda reminds me of Cain, he’s a troubled man with a great hubris, him & God (seemingly) have a rocky relationship in which they may not always be friends, or he may misunderstand what God is really saying, and like Cain, Kanye still has a chance at salvation. I’ve seen many already condemn him to hell as though they have seen his name being erased from the book of life and the visions of his tormented soul and gnashing teeth.