Christian Rappers, Challenge the Elemental Structures

LeCrae makes a godly plea, I think, to turn away from what moth and rust destroy – for even wives and children will one day go to the ossuary – to the Lord of heaven and earth, who offers life eternal. Thus, ‘don’t waste your life,’ a message God knows society must hear. But whereas LeCrae in commenting on society makes his appeal to the individual, Talib Kweli takes on institutions.

As long as Christians are skittish about the City of God being more than pie in the sky for those who have been evangelized and converted, we’ll always be wary of challenging the very existence of the institutions that undergird the society we live in. YHWH, however, saves us in resurrection. So we confess in the Heidelberg:

That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.’

With body and soul, in both life and death, I belong to Jesus Christ. He has physically given his precious blood to be shed on a cross; he so preserves me now that not a hair can fall from my head without the Father’s will; he assures me of eternal life, to which I will be bodily raised at the Last Day. The point is that he has done physical things to save us physically as well as mentally, and socially as well as subjectively.

But even writers of courage, such as Yu Jie in Beijing, hold to separation of Church and State as commonly conceived, because of the way they conceive of purity. We fear mixing faith with politics even more than we fear blasphemy, and we fear the temporal powers where things seem to us not to concern eternal salvation (and by ‘eternal’ we usually mean ‘not dealing with earth and matter’). Our ‘Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie’, then, concern themselves neither with temporal order in liturgy nor with the king’s governance (or the president’s), and libertarianism’s the name of the game.

One reason, ultimately, is what the rest of the post-Enlightenment world thinks in response to the dissolution of united Christendom, both between countries and within them. Indeed, the modern order as practised has created libertarian myths, myths that support the status quo. But hey, if Muslim rappers can challenge the structural status quo, so can we, without fear.


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