Christian hip-hop: “Jesus, save the world from me”

I’m pushing the envelope regarding my Lenten blog fast, but I’m going to cheat and call this a sermon-related podcast (which I had decided to make exceptions for) because it’s a song that might be connected to a future sermon series. God has given me this word: we should not be asking Jesus to save us from the world, but rather to save the world from us. Hence this song is called “Jesus, save the world from me.” Lyrics are below. Are you subscribed to the podcast?

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Looking Back on 2012: Hip-hop and Piano Ballads

I wrote some songs this past year and posted recordings of some of the songs I’ve written in the past. I could use some encouragement if you think that any of this stuff is worth pursuing further. Because of the lack of response I’ve gotten, it’s remained on the back-burner as a sort of lonely hobby. My honest concern is with not wasting God’s talent and I haven’t yet made peace with what I’ve made not going anywhere. I did the wannabe rock star thing about 8 years ago, and it was exhausting trying to “make it” in the secular music world. Had a band, played out in clubs, made an album, and I’ve still got 980 or so of the 1000 copies that were produced. We actually got 4 reviews in college and regional magazines, but our band broke up soon after the CD release party. If my music doesn’t need to go anywhere, that’s fine; I just wish I had some closure. My problem is that I’ve written songs that I thought God gave to me for a prophetic purpose, so to play them in the privacy of my living room honestly feels like I’m letting God down. I realize that sounds diva-ish but it’s genuinely how I feel. I told God that if He wants me to reprioritize my life in order to pursue my music more aggressively, then I need some kind of sign. Anyway, here is a post in which I shared an album’s worth of hip-hop and electronica tracks. And here is a post in which I shared videos of some piano songs I recorded at Goodson Chapel during the Duke pastor’s convocation this past fall.

10 songs in 2 days on the Goodson Chapel piano

I had a bit of a creative explosion this week while I was attending the Duke Divinity Convocation so I wanted to share the fruit. Basically I wrote two raps and one praise song from Sunday evening to Tuesday afternoon. Then I played hookey from several of the lectures at the Convocation to sit down at my favorite piano in the world in Goodson Chapel and record these three songs and seven others with my iPhone propped on the music stand. The sound quality is actually not too bad. Because of time constraints, I did almost everything on the first take, mistakes and all, unless I completely shut down. So almost all the songs have two or three mistakes. Anyway I’m sharing them below. Some of them might sting a little bit because God is giving me a prophetic word to call out some things about the American church right now. As there’s always a mix of flesh and spirit, some of my cynicism and arrogance may have found its way in. That’s where I depend on you to call me out so I can refine this and make it more glorifying to God. So please critique and offer suggestions!!! (And don’t laugh too hard at the goofy expressions on my face on this page.) Continue reading

Legion (The American Exorcism): a rap

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post about a phenomenon I’m witnessing among American evangelicals that seems like a massive reenactment of Jesus’ exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac in which he casts a bunch of demons from a man into a herd of pigs who storm off a cliff and drown. As the tinfoil hat types among us get more and more obviously ridiculous and start racing towards a cliff, many of us are turning back in disgust as Jesus exorcises our demons. So this song is the rap version of that blog post, basically mixing imagery from Mark 5 with the parable of talents. Continue reading

#JesusIsMyCandidate: the rap

I made this piece while we were making Jesus trend around the world last night. Please share it with your friends if you like it. Luke 19:40. Isaiah 6:2. Isaiah 40:3. Joel 2:28.

Song: jesus is my candidate

Babylon is crumbling,
Social nets are tumbling,
Everyone is stumbling
Past Italian faces that misrepresent a Jewish king
Preachers writing books, getting bling
Who’s in the streets with Dr. King?
Did you only hear the one speech?
He had a lot else to teach
About the way we can each
Be a servant to the least of these
And I’m not trying to hate
Always eaten on a silver plate
Never lived the way that many people live
So I hope you can forgive me
‘Cause I’m willing to learn
Know that nothing I have is a grace that I’ve earned
And that pride is the way that people burn.

Now the fear of the Lord
Is the basis for love
And I’m not saying fear
Of some lightning from above
Because fear means awe
At the beauty of God’s law
Which is way more than rules
Setting boundaries for the fools;
But today our laws have been
Shaped by Charles Darwin
‘Cause we crush the poor
For the sake of the system.
If the world belongs to God,
What does “Thou shalt not steal” mean?
Is it Jean Valjean or George Soros & 5 Keatings?
But now not so fast
Cause we can’t scurry past
The fact that Jesus loved
That woman and her perfume flask
And Zacchaeus and Matthew
Who were both day traders
But they’re sons of David
And they loved their savior
So when the PC patrol heard about
Jesus’ vice: “So you eat with Wall Street?”
Jesus said, “Love mercy not sacrifice.”