Lecrae’s done it again, and I’m glad I’ve seen less frustration and criticism this time out. Maybe it’s just that he’s managed to keep saying Jesus as he performs, well, everywhere. But just a quick reminder, for the naysayers. I reported this same bit before, but it bears repeating. Here’s an excerpt from a post Lecrae wrote when the first Church Clothes was released:
We limit spirituality to salvation and sanctification. As long as we are well versed in personal piety and individual salvation, we think we’re good. But most Christians have no clue how to engage culture in politics, science, economics, TV, music or art. We tend to leave people to their own devices there.
We subscribe to views like, “Politics and movies are evil or of the devil,” and we don’t touch them. Leaving them to be dominated by non-biblical worldviews. Or, since we don’t have a philosophy or filter, we do it the way culture says to…chasing vain ambition.
Most professing Christians have no idea how to direct their careers with biblical lenses, but instead of praying for and offering solutions we usually just shake our heads and dismiss these “sellouts & compromisers.”
We are missing out on the gospel’s power of redemption and glorification in all things.
Since then, he’s actually managed to avoid controversy. People loved Church Clothes, more-or-less loved Gravity, and have eagerly watched him interact with fame. Between 106 and Park appearances, interviews with secular media, and performing for BET, Lecrae’s really had a whirlwind year.
The closest he came to controversy was when he put out a song written to his younger self. In it, old (“Rebel”) Lecrae argues that new (“Rehab”) Lecrae has sold out, and is sacrificing the Gospel for the sake of fame. But Lecrae rebuts his own argument, claiming the maturity allows him freedoms he wasn’t able to embrace when he was a newer Christian.
It’s an admirable view, and mature Lecrae has definitely given us another good mixtape. You can download it for free, here. I haven’t been able to give it enough of a listen to provide a solid review.
We should definitely spend some time working through what it means to engage culture, whether that’s hip-hop, music more broadly, politics, film, alcohol, or anything else. I’ve found Brett McCracken’s book Gray Matters helpful in this regard (you can see my review here).
If you find yourself critical of this mixtape, so be it. If you don’t like the artistry, I’ll perhaps be surprised. But if you want to say that Lecrae’s made a mistake working with secular artists, promoting himself on secular media, and generally presenting a “walk with you” rather than “preach against you” attitude, I’ll leave you with this conclusion, that I wrote when the first Church Clothes came out:
And, finally, let’s remember that Lecrae shouldn’t be the end-all of our involvement with those listening to his music, believers or otherwise. If he is offering us words of encouragement, or perhaps a gateway into the lives of non-believers, let’s remember that we have our part to do as well. A corollary to this is that Lecrae isn’t the end-all influence in his genre. Just because one member of the body expresses things a certain way does not mean all members should. I’m grateful for Lecrae’s music, and I’m grateful for music from guys like Shai Linne, Swoope, and KJ-52. They all have different sounds, different focuses, and different purposes. But they help weave a tapestry within the genre that more accurately represents a holistic Christian lifestyle.