So, I was walking through the bookstore the other day. "Just browsing" and having a nice quiet, relaxing time. The lovely thing about bookstores is that they can make you think as much or as little as you want. Looking at all the books, each expressing different ideas is inspiring to me. One book in particular caught my attention, it was entitled "The Hip-Hop Church."
Naturally I was intrigued, so I picked it up and flipped through it. The first things the summary talked about was how "It [Hip-Hop] is a culture familiar with the hard realities of our broken world; the generation raised with rap knows about the pain. They need to know about the hope." I completely agree with that, 100%. But what they said next threw me.
"Enter the hip-hop church. Like the culture it rises from, the hip-hop church is relevant and bold... Hip-hop culture is shaping the next generation. Ignoring it will not reduce its influence; it will only separate us from the youth moving to its rhythm. How will they hear Christ's message of truth and hope if we don't speak their language? And how can we speak their language if we don't understand and embrace their culture? Hear the beat. Join the beat."
Ok, I kind of get the "understand their culture" part and they make "speak their language" sound very convincing. But embrace their culture? Join the beat? I didn't get it. After reading this I laughed out loud and put the book back on the shelf. I didn't think about it much the rest of that day, but later I couldn't get it off my mind. I felt a deep sadness over it. I couldn't help but grieve over the lost, deceived people who live without hope. I wished that I had bought the book so that I could maybe see a glimpse into what I face in my ministry to people who have been immersed in the Hip-Hop culture.
I want to love them and show them hope through Jesus Christ, but I don't believe embracing a sin-saturated lifestyle is the way of going about that.
I hadn't made up my mind to commit to writing about this until I was scrolling through my Pinterest feed and saw this quote: "You will never influence the world by trying to be like it."
I have seen that quote many times and I've always liked it, it carries a lot of truth. But this time, I saw it in a slightly different light.
How can we be showing someone hope by showing them the thing that has showed them hopelessness?
Why become a Christian if it’s the same as living in the secular world?
If there is no difference between us, then we hold no more hope than they do.
There is no need for Christians to compromise. We hold the one and only timeless truth in our hands every time we open our Bibles. God’s truth alone is powerful. We can’t water it down and expect it to retain that power. Trying to change the principles God has given to us is blasphemy.
We could never, ever improve what God has made perfect. We are only going to drain the life changing power that God has miraculously created and used to change our lives.
I decided to become a Christian because I saw how amazing the love of God is. He sent his only son, to die for me. (John 3:16) He died for me while I was a sinner. (Romans 5:8) But He didn’t just die for me, He died for everyone. He died for me just as much as He died for the person who mocks Him and ridicules His name openly.
I chose to follow Christ and put my trust in Him. But my own desires were still there, and that had to change. I was becoming a new person. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
(2 Cor. 5:17)
The old me had no hope. The old me had no desire to do right. The old me was self-centered. The old me didn’t know love. I am glad that God gave me a new life. One that’s different from what I had before.
God didn’t give me what I thought I wanted, He gave me new desires.
God gave me hope.