In January of 1999, I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Athletes in Action Super Bowl Prayer breakfast the morning before the Super Bowl. Several members of the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos (the Super Bowl XXXIII teams) were present and the Athletes in Action Christian Character award was presented to Eugene Robinson of the Falcons. As a sophomore in high school, it was a thrill to meet an NFL player – especially one who lived an exemplary Christian life. I immediately became a Eugene Robinson fan.
I woke up the next morning to the news that Eugene Robinson had been arrested overnight for soliciting sex from an undercover cop. Eugene Robinson – Christian by day, womanizer by night. I was crushed. Were there no genuine Christian players? Were there no Christian celebrities? Robinson gave the award back. I immediately decided to cheer for the Broncos.
Time and again, we see celebrities espouse Christian beliefs only to drop them later. Very few people in the spotlight claim a Christian identity and even fewer live it. So what are we to make of Kanye West’s recent proclamation that Jesus is King?
I was skeptical and cynical. I assumed Kanye West wanted to sell an album. I believed he experienced something, but I was unsure whether it was genuine faith in Christ. I was sinful in my attitude.
I listened to Kanye’s album. I don’t typically listen to him (or any rap artist for that matter) and the music isn’t my preference. I tried to listen to the lyrics, but I struggled to pick up the meaning. (While I love the Chick-fil-a reference, I have so idea what the song Closed on Sunday mean. Someone help me?) I will say two things about the lyrics: they are clean and they repeatedly tell of Christ’s saving love.
One song in particular hit me. No, it didn’t hit me. It convicted me. Hands On has these lyrics:
Said I’m finna [sic] to do a gospel album
What have you been hearing from the Christians
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me
Did Kanye West just call out my sin? On his public album? When Kanye said he was a born again Christian, I didn’t believe him. When he said he would produce a gospel album, I thought it was for publicity. I was the first one to judge him.
Is Kanye West a genuine believer in Jesus Christ? I guess to answer that question, I’d have to ask another question: can Jesus Christ save Kanye West? Yes and amen! When someone confesses Christ publicly, our response should be rejoicing. Whether you’re convinced of Kanye West’s conversion or not, you should at least honor his request at the end of the song Hands On when a chorus pleads, “Somebody pray for me.” I’m praying for you, Kanye. God bless.