Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: This week I am addressing a group of African and African-American pastors/bishops at their national conference. One of the topics is the influence of hip-hop and how African immigrants and African-Americans disagree on its use. Here’s a helpful interview with an African Methodist Episcopal pastor who leads one of the healthiest congregations in Texas
Article by Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, May 30, 2017
I really believe that hip-hop serves as a vital theological conversation partner for our present-day work. Hip-hop is without peer in terms of its cultural influence.
It is a global phenomenon, and there is an entire canon, an entire text, that the church has yet to explore. It really speaks to me like the narratives in Old Testament history that speak of communities under oppression facing marginalization and trying to identify where God is at work to liberate them in the midst of their struggle.
So when I hear Tupac, I hear St. Paul, and I also hear St. Augustine, as they struggle with issues of soteriology.
Q: Some church leaders may think of hip-hop as a way to connect to youth. But it sounds like you are talking about something deeper than that.
We can no longer talk about hip-hop solely as a youth movement, because hip-hop as a cultural artifact is now coming up on its 44th anniversary, from August of 1973(link is external). Some of the founders of the hip-hop movement themselves are approaching mid-60s or early 70s.
So we’re really talking about something that is far deeper than just young people in high school.
We’re talking about how generations interact with the world. It has articulated their hopes and dreams as well as their pain and despair.
In many ways, the church in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in the westernmost portions, is dying. But I still believe that there are persons who long for community. They long for deeper faith and spirituality.
I think we have to shift our way, our mode, of connecting with individuals.
I think, biblically, of the apostle Paul in Acts when he goes to Athens and goes to the [Areopagus], and in that space, speaking to Stoics and Epicureans, he speaks to the unknown God. And as he begins to preach in that space, he does not draw his authority from the Torah.
He draws his authority from Athenian poetry, and he uses their conceptions of God as a means of presenting the Christ to them.
I believe we have the same opportunity in terms of engaging hip-hop, using that as a cultural artifact to bridge the gap between the culture and the church.
So we can provide a greater conception of who God is and of who God has called us to be.
Read more at … https://www.faithandleadership.com/michael-w-waters-church-should-embrace-hip-hop?utm_source=NI_newsletter&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=NI_feature