As someone who was really into contemporary worship music in his teenage years, I was a big fan of Chris Tomlin, one of the biggest stars in Christian music. One of my particular favorites of his was the song “Our God’, a triumphalist anthem proclaiming the power and strength of the Lord, but sadly a live performance of “Our God” recorded on an album was ruined for me as, towards the end of the song, Lecrae, another big name in Christian music, bursts in and starts rapping. To this day I have not forgiven him for that, but I think that instance seems to be an accurate portrayal of Lecrae’s behavior when it comes to his engagement with white Christians. Which is, to burst in an announce that:
a. He’s black
b. He’s a rapper
c. He’s Christian
d. He’s disappointed with white Christians
To which my response is,
a. I don’t care
b. I think rap music is nauseating
c. So am I
d. I still don’t care
In case people have no idea what I’m talking about, Lecrae is a Christian rapper/hip-hop artist who in the past several years, following the publicized deaths of black men at the hands of police officers, became more and more vocal about race issues.
Now I don’t fault him for wanting to take action, he believed the media narrative that these deaths were part of a systemic problem of racism within the American police force and he wanted to help. But fighting for a cause that doesn’t have a basis in reality doesn’t help anybody. Now Lecrae is not stupid, if you listen to him in interviews, aside from his views on race which I disagree with, he’s a fairly well spoken and moderated person, which is why it frustrates me that despite him being a smart guy, the views he holds and the way he often articulates them are downright childish and idiotic. For example, on July 4th, 2016 Lecrae tweeted out:
My family on July 4th 1776. pic.twitter.com/R9DzWkqDWc
— Lecrae (@lecrae) July 4, 2016
Showing a photo of black slaves picking cotton with the caption, “My family on July 4th 1776.” Now regardless if he’s correct, this is what I’m talking about when I say he bursts in to criticize white Christians who didn’t ask for his opinions and were just trying to live their lives and celebrate our independence. Tweeting this photo does nothing but anger many of his white followers, bring up once again the false narrative of the Left that America was always a racist country and still is, and further divide people by race.
Then, when many of his followers were reasonably upset and asked him to stop talking about race constantly, he doubled down and proclaimed “I won’t calm down, I have a black son” in an Instagram post where he blasted the alllivesmatter response to blacklivesmatter, and droned on about systemic racism. The problem here is not that Lecrae believes that racial injustice still exists in America, that’s something I’m happy to disagree with, but the fact that he holds that belief isn’t what angers me. What ticks me off is that Lecrae’s response to perceived injustice seems to be to exclaim to both his white Christian fans, and to the broader “White Evangelical” (his words, not mine) community that they aren’t doing enough to fix the problem and because of this he’s distancing himself from them.
Most recently, in October, 2017, on the “Truth Table” podcast, a podcast centered on black Christian women, Lecrae expressed that he was “loosening ties with white evangelicalism”. Again, what Lecrae does is, say he’s upset about racial injustice in front of his white fans, and say that they haven’t done enough, then say he’s walking away from them. First of all, what does “loosening ties” even look like? Is he not going to allow white people to listen to his music, is he not going to talk to white Christian leaders? Or is he just going to continue to whine about things people he’s never met aren’t doing? Just complaining about a perceived problem doesn’t fix anything. If Lecrae actually wants to help black people in this country, than lay out the specific problems, and specific actions that should be taken to address them. Sort of like what he did back in 2011 and 2013 addressing fatherlessness in the black community.
But what he’s doing now is not the behavior of an adult who actually wants to fix problems, it’s the behavior of a spoiled child. Lecrae is acting like a child who tells his friends that the Moon is made of cheese, and then when they tell him he’s wrong, he throws a tantrum and says he’s not going to be their friend anymore. But what makes this ten times worse is that Lecrae and other black Christians who want to incessantly talk about race is that he is encouraged by leaders in the “white Christian” community.
Individuals like John Piper who wrote an article for Christianity today expressing why he’s so very pleased with Lecrae’s complaining that “white evangelicalism” is not up to his standards. In the article, Piper, a well-known Christian author and apologist, says his response to Lecrae is “mainly thankfulness and hope”. He goes on and on for most of the article about how great Lecrae is and why him talking about race is the best thing ever. Then something interesting happens, he almost understands why supplicating and appeasing the progressive narrative on race doesn’t work.
Towards the end of the article, Piper says,
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”firstclass” size=”16″]“Some things Lecrae said in the interview make me cringe. The reason I have put “white evangelicalism” in quotation marks throughout this article is that it puts too many whites in bed together. John Piper and a few million other supposed natives didn’t vote for Donald Trump. We don’t think unrepentant leechers should be president. We don’t think Robert E. Lee is a simple embodiment of nobility. We don’t think the confederate flag can fly with impunity. We don’t think kneeling for justice desecrates the other flag. We are baffled that Philando Castile’s shooter walks free. We are dismayed at the nationwide resurgence of manifest racial antagonism. We don’t think “systemic” is an unintelligible word. And a few of us, believe it or not, are impenitent five-point Calvinists (how else can you survive?). Is that “white evangelicalism”?”.[/perfectpullquote]
It seems that Piper almost gets it, he almost sees that no matter how much you prostrate yourself to political correctness, no matter how many articles you write about diversity, and condemning the Confederate Flag, it’s never enough. But the interesting thing about this is that this is a lesson that Evangelical Christians like Piper fully understand when it comes to sexuality. When progressives demand Christians change their beliefs about marriage, while the mainline Protestants folded, the Evangelicals stayed strong and have the correct response which is to not care what progressives call you. So it’s confusing to me that Christians understand this so well when it comes to sexuality but completely collapse any time the left says they aren’t doing enough about race.
Over the past several years, white Christian leaders like Piper, Russell Moore, Ed Stetzer and others have been relentlessly pushing the progressive narrative on race, saying Predominantly white Churches need to be more diverse while black churches don’t, saying we must support letting in refugees regardless of the danger they pose, and reprimanding any Christian who dared voting for Donald Trump. At the end of 2015 at the College evangelical event Urbana, black lives matter shirts were worn by members on stage and Michelle Higgins, a black Christian activist gave an almost 30 minute speech about race in which she lambasts the white attendees for being part of white supremacy.
This endless stream of crap that Christian leaders have been pushing on white Christians is not only despicable in its own right, implying that if you voted for Donald Trump, want to secure the border, and don’t think that institutional racism exists today, you are a bad Christian. What makes this worse is that these ideas, and the individuals who keep promoting them like Lecrae, are not criticized by any leaders in the Church, because any disagreement with the narrative is taboo. What is desperately needed more than anything else in the Christian community, is leaders who are willing to put their foot down and tell people like Lecrae “I don’t care that you don’t think white Christians aren’t fixing a problem that doesn’t exist, stop acting like a spoiled brat”.