Apparently Kanye West has had a conversion or transformation or renewal or…something. I know it’s been in the news and has been embraced by white evangelicals and panned by folk on other parts of various spectra. But I know nothing about hip-hop, West, or popular music in general. I am militantly irrelevant. Nonetheless, I found one of the hours of On Point yesterday informative in this regard. You can find it here: https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/10/30/kanye-west-jesus-is-king.
I listened to the selected cuts offered on the pod and found them theologically vacuous and musically insipid–but what do I know? So I pursued a few opinions for further reflection. Shane Claiborne adds to the conversation in his 10/30 article found on redletterchristians.org ( https://www.redletterchristians.org/is-jesus-king-of-kanyes-bank-account/) . Andre Henry has an interesting and useful op-ed on the RNS.org site as well (it’s linked on the Red Letter Christians site– https://www.redletterchristians.org/why-trump-not-jesus-is-at-the-heart-of-white-christian-love-for-kanye/ . The dual embrace of a shallow prosperity gospel and playing up to white, evangelical, mega-church gnosticism (my description) seems to drive these reviews.
There are days when unrelated podcasts provide such interesting juxtapositions and contrasts. The Zeitcast with Jonathon Martin featured a video presentation from Martin and colleagues at “The Table” in Oklahoma City to one of Professor Brad Jersak’s classes in Canada. The episode was entitled “Jesus and Justice in the 21st Century with Malika Cox and Cece Jones-Davis.” ( http://www.jonathanmartinwords.com/the-zeitcast). It was an excellent and impassioned primer on the subject matter in the title. The last bit of the episode was a particularly searing and important conversation about the Tulsa racial cleansing atrocities of a hundred years ago. It’s worth hearing for that alone.
On October 22 Charity Nebbe interviewed Katherine Hayhoe on The Talk of Iowa on the subject of “Bridging the Gap Between Science and Faith.” Hayhoe is a climate scientist and a Christian who brings the passion of her faith to her work as a scientist. I found it a worthwhile listen and a second perspective on the relationship between following Jesus and living in the real world here and now (https://www.iowapublicradio.org/post/bridging-gap-between-science-and-faith). I continue to be astonished at the range of guests and topics Nebbe brings to this show–from gardening to global politics and everything in between. And I am always impressed with Nebbe’s gently fearless and formidable skill as an interviewer.
The third pod is the Kanye West info referenced above. It’s no wonder people have a struggle figuring out what it means when we say we follow Jesus.