Saturday, October 07, 2017

A Response To Lecrae, Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile And Anyone Else Who Cares To Listen

As pretty much everyone knows, evangelicalism and especially conservative evangelicalism is a mostly White thing. Apparently that is a negative.

According to this fairly baffling post from John Piper, 116 Been Real, Lecare Moore, who simply goes by Lecrae, kind of like Cher and Madonna, is distancing himself from "white evangelicalism". I don't know much about Lecrae and I don't listen to his stuff but he has a fairly large following among white evangelicals, especially of the Reformed type.

Based what Piper is saying, he listened to the interview and I just don't have the time, Lecrae is distancing himself in part based on three "experiences", as listed below from Piper's article.
- First, Lecrae’s friend, Tyree Boyd-Pates, the Curator of History for the California African American Museum, told him, “You have said some things that were poignant and provocative for black people, but the phenotype of your music was not black . . . sonically it wasn’t resonating with our soul. . . . It’s like [the] ‘I have a dream’ speech over a rock record.”
- Second, the Washington Post called him an “evangelical mascot.”
- Third, he went public with his dismay over the Michael Brown shooting, and woke up to the reality that this “white evangelical” world did not feel what he felt. “The visceral attacks that came my way were like a shock to my system. That did some identity work.”
Based on this, Mr. Moore is going to "turn (his) back on white evangelicalism"
If I turn my back on white evangelicalism, who am I? If we disagree on . . . Black Lives and social justice, and I’m not getting pats on the back from John Piper, then who am I now? . . . For years that had been what was shaping my identity. . . . If I’m not the evangelical darling, who is Lecrae? . . . 
Getting  a pat on the back from John Piper? How patronizing and insulting. Maybe Piper helped expand Mr. Moore's audience because he appreciated his music and what he had to say but to then reduce it to Piper humoring Lecrae and giving him a "pat on the back" is nothing less than spitting in Piper's face. Then Piper goes on to say this:
Do you see yet why I respond to Lecrae’s “identity development work” with thankfulness? I know young men whose disillusionment with “white evangelicalism” was not as painful as Lecrae’s, and yet they threw the brown baby of Bethlehem out with the white bathwater. They’re done with Christianity. Done with the Bible. Done with Jesus — except the one they create to fit their present political mood. That could have been Lecrae. It could be you. 
Um, so I guess we are supposed to be glad Lecrae has embraced his black identity, something Piper would no doubt condemn in a white person publicly embracing their white identity, because at least he didn't leave the faith totally. Would Piper say the same about a white singer who espoused kinism after the shooting up of a church by a black man in Tennessee a few weeks ago? Piper doesn't seem excited about a lot of what Lecrae says in his interview but he also seems overly focused on "White evangelicalism" being synonymous with support of Trump and opposition to the neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter movement. I sort of don't think Piper understands the subject he is talking about here, either Lecrae and his dismissal and distancing himself from white evangelicalism or what exactly it is that white evangelicals care about or why we do what we do. I might go further and say that Piper seems a lot more concerned with "creating space" and "extending grace" to Lecrae than he is to his fellow white evangelicals and that to me is problematic.

The main problem I have though are with Lecrae's three "experiences" and why those are leading him to distance himself and create barriers between himself and white evangelicals.

Like a fine Beretta double gun I am going to let loose with both barrels.


Disclaimer: I don't listen to rap of any sort and haven't since a brief flirtation with Ice-T and N.W.A. back in high school in the 80's and I generally don't listen to "Christian" music at all so you might think I don't have a dog in this fight, with apologies to Michael Vick. However I do like John Piper and I also happen to be one of those lame, awful White evangelicals (although not one that voted for Trump) and it turns out I am sorta tired of being hectored, harangued, scolded, finger-wagged. I am endlessly told I need to feel guilty, that I need to apologize for my phantom "White privilege" and that I am a part of the group that somehow is collectively to blame for every ill, even the obviously self-inflicted ills, of an entire race of people that I have had very little interaction with of any kind in my life. So yeah, this article was like a matador waving a cape in front of me and I freely admit it made me pretty grumpy.


On the first "experience"... 

Lecrae being told his music isn't "black": "You have said some things that were poignant and provocative for black people, but the phenotype of your music was not black". So I guess his rap was too white? And that makes it therefore illegitimate?

Lecrae seems to have fallen victim to the cult of “authentic blackness” where some blacks get to determine for all other blacks what they are allowed to think, say, sing, wear and believe in order to qualify as authentic. I am not black so I don't understand it but it seems unaccountably powerful. Step outside of orthodoxy and the cult leaders rain down on you like the wrath of God, you become an Uncle Tom, are accused of trying to be white, etc. Like I said, I don't get this. No one says to me that if I don't like Polka music that I am not authentically Polish and I have never heard anyone say that the phenotype of any Polish musician, whatever that means, was not white. It is a very strange cultural phenomenon and if I may be so bold it seems to be a control mechanism for those who want to keep blacks from straying from black racial orthodoxy.

On the second "experience"....

The far left Amazon.com/Washington Post which hates all things Christian called him an "evangelical mascot".

That is a pretty cheap and clumsy and obvious shot and Lecrae seems to have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. If I may be super un-PC, if you are a prominent black man and you are going to leave the PC plantation, you better expect to get some backlash. Nothing is less permitted by our culture overlords than a black man who doesn't parrot leftist orthodoxy (see: Thomas, Clarence).

Pardon my French but how much of a fool do you have to be to get so easily sucked in by such an obvious and blatant cheap shot? I don't know much about Lecrae but I would think he would have more wisdom and discernment than to be led around by the nose by the WaPo. Standing for the truth means some slings and arrows and if you aren't wise enough and man enough to stand up to that, well that says a great deal about your character I am afraid.

On the third "experience"....

Lecrae expressed his opinion on the Michael Brown shooting, an unfortunate event but a justifiable shooting, but was apparently shocked when not everyone and especially not his white audience agreed with him. Wow, I hate it when I say something and not everyone agrees with me. According to the interview this caused "some identity work". So let me get this straight. A fairly complex case that got a lot of attention but it was a pretty clear case of justifiable use of force, caused Lecrae to do some "identity work", a phrase that smacks of some pretty heavy racial identitarianism. Even Jonathan Capehart, a member of the leftist Washington Post editorial board and a contributor for similarly left-wing MSNBC wrote: "(The Justice Department report) also forced me to deal with two uncomfortable truths: Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and Wilson was justified in shooting Brown." (emphasis mine).

I don't get why the Michael Brown case has become the bellwether for alleged police brutality. What exactly is it about a huge, probably very strong guy attacking a cop and getting shot for it that is a racially dividing issue? As I recall, Michael Brown was 6' 4" tall and weighed around 292 pounds. That is about the size of a college or even pro football offensive or defensive lineman. During my year of college at Ohio State, my roommate had a class with a center for the football team and one day his classmate stopped by our dorm room. He was enormous but he was probably not quite as big as Michael Brown. Sure Brown was not "armed" but believe me a 6'4", almost 300 pound adult (he was 18) is plenty dangerous especially when he apparently is attacking a cop and going for his gun.

As a relative nobody that has made a career out of going against the grain, you kind of have to have a little spine and thick skin. If people don't agree with you, taking your ball and going home is not going to do a darn thing to change anything and done on a large scale in this context it simply increases racial polarization. If that is the goal, and while I don't think it is for Lecrae it certainly is for many in BLM and similar groups, then at least be open about it.

That raises a question and comment for me. Why is it OK for Lecrae to self-identify within the church based on his race and openly choose to identify himself with that racial subset and reject or at least “distance” himself from people of other races but if I do the same thing I would be labeled a bigot and racist? Or do we operate under two sets of rules in the church when it comes to race, whites have to reach out and seek to be more "diverse" but blacks can self-segregate and that is OK?

If you think this is OK from Lecrae but the Alt-Right and White nationalism is a problem you are either naive or ignorant or both.

That is why the post from Piper seems so confused and schizophrenic and I don't understand it so I am chalking it up to the general disconnect when we talk about race. I don't think Piper would tolerate this coming from a white evangelical but he seems to sort of tolerate it coming from a black evangelical. Piper seems sincere and he has a track record to back up what he is saying. I just hope he doesn't stumble down the Russell Moore path where virtue signaling engulfs his public ministry because Piper has an important voice and I would hate to see it lost in political correctness like Moore.

We are seemingly as far away from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of a nation where men are judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin as we were in August of 1963 when he gave his speech but ironically many people who claim the contemporary mantle of King are the ones who judge others on their skin color. This is only exacerbated by the Trump Presidency. Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile and others seem bent on flogging white evangelicals for the sins of Trump in a way that I don't recall anyone doing the reverse of during the Obama presidency. Thabiti openly expressed that he supported Hillary Clinton over Trump and no one is more a fan of seeing dead black babies than Hillary. Many black evangelicals seem to be doing what so many accuse white evangelicals of, putting their racial self-interest, misplaced though I think it is, over their Kingdom allegiance.

There has never been a time when black Christians are more in need of the words of Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth where he wrote:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Black Lives Matter is a pagan, ungodly, anti-Christian organization that thrives on causing racial discord. Those who choose to associate with and show affinity toward it rather than "white evangelicalism" are absolutely no different from those who espouse kinism and white separatism in the church. If white evangelicals making common cause with the GOP and Trump is unequal yoking, how much more so is it when black evangelicals make common cause with BLM?

If you want to associate with me in the church because of our shared redemption in Christ, then cool. I welcome that. If you don't want to associate with me in spite of our shared redemption in Christ because of my skin color and my affiliation with "White evangelicalism" and you prefer to elevate your racial identity above your Kingdom identity, then I can't help that and if I am being totally honest I really don't care or have any interest in working up much concern. Just don't act like your racial separatism is somehow noble and principled while that of Richard Spencer or Jared Taylor is evil.

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