“What Kanye is doing is blasphemous. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing deceiving. Matthew 15:8 NKJV. These people draw near to me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.”
“Kanye West isn’t a Christian.”
“Kanye West’s “Jesus is King” is Fake Christianity At its Finest.”
These are some of the responses to Kanye West announcing his new-found commitment to the Christian faith heralded by the release of his ninth studio album, titled “Jesus is King”. These reactions lend credence to Kanye’s statement on one of the songs off his album, “Hands On”, in which he says “What have you been hearing from the Christians? /They’ll be the first ones to judge me/ Make it feel like nobody love me/ Make you feel alone in the dark and you’ll never see the light.” I have been wanting to share my opinion on this conversion story as I have been drawn to it for a number of reasons. Firstly, I think there is something happening in the world right now where celebrities are becoming more vocal about their search for God. Just last week, NBA superstar, Lamar Odom, who nearly lost his life last year, announced that he had been baptised. Weeks before that, singer-songwriter, Demi Lovato did the same. In recent times, both Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have shared vulnerable thoughts on their lives in connection to their faith. People are seeking fulfilment in something, or rather someone, higher than themselves and I am excited that Kanye has joined the party as he too is seeking and being vocal about his search. Secondly, I listen to a lot of Christian music and I now curate playlists to share with you, so I am thankful to Kanye for providing me with content. Lastly, I have been thinking about why the release of this declarative body of work has been clouded by a number of negative reviews. I read a particularly scathing Op-ed in NBC that nearly discouraged me from writing this piece. Yet, I decided to pen this to communicate a few thoughts, based mainly off of my personal opinion which you are allowed to agree or disagree with.
I believe that Kanye can and should be welcome to the Christian faith. Why? Why not? I have not read a single tweet, article or commentary that bears a tangible reason why he should be turned away. In the first tweet I include in this write-up, the writer quotes the Bible to imply that the artiste’s faith may be more lip service than heart service. How do we know what is in Kanye’s heart? The same Bible that the writer attempts to borrow supportive evidence from says, in 1 Corinthians 2:11, that no one knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person that is within them. People are questioning the genuineness of Kanye’s heart but the truth is no one knows what is in anyone’s heart save for God. So if we have accepted others-friends, family, preachers, celebrities, who proclaim their faith, what makes Kanye any different? Perhaps this is an answer to my question-people have called out his past actions, comments and in an unsurprising plot twist, his wife-Kim Kardashian’s past, and have used these to suggest that he cannot possibly be Christian. So in other words, they are saying that he is unworthy? I believe that we are all unworthy before God. While Psalm 130:3 says “If you Lord, kept a record of sins, who could stand?”, Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. If Kanye is too unworthy to stand before God, then so are we, and if we are welcome before God, then so is he.
I hope you know that we are all welcome. I hope you know that the invitation to build a relationship with God is being handed to us at every point in our lives. We do not have to wait to be perfect, as naysayers of Kanye’s story suggest, before we go to God. That is a fallacy. We find perfection in God, when we go to Him. The person of faith you are when you first start that walk would not be the same person you will be a year later. You will learn and grow. I watched Kanye’s interview with veteran radio-host, Big Boy, and he talked about how “The Life of Pablo” was supposedly a Christian album but somehow, there was still a scantily clad woman on the cover. He was laughing at himself, at the fact that he thought that was okay. I was happy to hear that because to me, that represents progress. When you’re starting out your journey with God, you may not always be in the right. In fact, you will never always be in the right. However, if you remain in God, fighting for that functional relationship with Him, He will continue to redirect you so that even when you stray, you will find your way back. Even when you feel most unworthy, keep going back because with open arms, God will welcome you.
Today, we’re praying for anyone who feels too unworthy to start or continue a relationship with God. May God inspire their hearts to know that He loves and will always welcome them with gladness.
RELEVANT BIBLE VERSE
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” .