Kanye West: Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Photo by NRK P3

Kanye west has been wading through Hollywood and the media for almost two decades and has learned a thing or two.  I don’t think he is making his decisions on a whim or one single experience.  He stands for several things as a black male artists and it seems that his family of four children has been what is grounding his pursuit of Christ. 

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I think God is entrusting him with something because to whom much is given, much is required. I think he is seeing the fruit that comes from declaring the truth and is facing immense persecution through all of it. His latest record has taken all of his talent and collaboration efforts to their best.  It’s worship, it’s art, it’s gospel music, and it’s some sick beats and rhymes.  

How is the conversion of Kanye different then other celebrity star lights over the past several years? It’s in his message and it’s in his delivery.  Every interview over the past week since the release of his album “Jesus is King,” has shown a very different version of Kanye then we have seen before.  He has heart, he has some sound words of doctrine and wisdom.  He has surrounded himself with a choir of what sounds like Angels. He has a pastor who is mentoring him. He is not your stereotypical Christian because he has always been the one creating the new norm. 

We can’t place him in our preconceived box of how a conversion is supposed to go because his story is unlike any we have seen in our lifetime as it is played out in front of the world stage.  I don’t want to place him on a pedestal, but what he has done for music, fashion, blacks and whites he is doing to Christianity. He is taking his best but now he is openly and boldly giving it to God.  

Is Kanye a pastor? No, he isn’t claiming to be. Is he trying to speak truth? Absolutely! Does he say the word “damn” in a worship song he wrote? Yes, but it fits with who he is and his perception of language. He said himself that there is no swearing on this album, so when he says “This ain’t ‘bout a damn religion, Jesus brought a revolution,” maybe what he literally means is a religion that is damning people, instead of showing them God’s grace. 

I’m praying for his marriage the most. This is where he can either find great support and a team or face difficulty to add to this life change. He can become an even more amazing husband and father than he already is, we all need room for improvement.  

The Last Day of Regret on display at Fuller Alumni Library

I hear him continually mentioning his family.  Focusing on a family is a monumental panacea to our society’s problems. The breakdown of the family over the past thirty to fifty years is devastating generations of people.  Kanye cares about single moms, Kanye cares about prison reform, Kanye cares about black empowerment, the kind that wants generations of black men to be fathers and black people to pursue their dreams as any other citizen of the United States.  

Kanye cares about the inner transformation of his soul. It’s as if he has found what his heart has been longing for. 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 

In his interview with James Corden on the Late Late Show, he is asked, “How would you respond to people that do not believe this is true.” Referring to his change in beliefs and lifestyle.   

Kanye responds by asking Corden if people who are asleep realize they are asleep until they are awake. He is saying that people who are asleep are unbelievers until they wake up. 

“People who don’t believe are walking dead. They are asleep and this is the awakening.”

Kanye West

It says in Ephesians 5:13-14, “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” 

May we all remember that the world is asleep and in darkness until the light of Christ awakens us. 

Let us not forget Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. He was a murderer converted into the most influential author in the New Testament.  God is in the business of taking the worst of us and showing His best in us. In the words of Kanye, “God is just showing off.” 

Here are two verses to keep in mind before we are quick to shoot the messenger. 

Philippians 1:15-18 

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” 

Mark 9:38-41 

“John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” “But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.” 

Authors Side Note: There is a hint of the prosperity Gospel within a lyric or two and even in his interview. However, he hasn’t stated it or may even not know what it is. Again, time will tell, but what we need to keep in mind is that Jesus is being preached. 

In Truth & Love,
Matthew J. Diaz

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Looking forward to your addition to this dialogue.