Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Holy Hip Hop: Bad Idea

"Don't judge a book by it's cover" is an old saying that we have heard all of our lives and to back it up, the bible says that "God judges the heart" of man. We read this in the account of David being anointed King and how he didn't appear as good as Saul did for the job. But There are many instances in our lives where the outer appearance of a person is vital!

One can judge a lot about what is really going on inside of a person by what the outside is looking like. Homosexuals and Lesbians have used outer signals to relay messages to each other for years. 2 earrings on a man has always been a sign of bisexuality. One earring on a man has always meant "player" or "stud". A nose piercing on a man means gay as well as lip or tongue piercing. An eyebrow piercing on a woman means lesbian, and so forth. Outer appearances can signify behaviors as well. Gang members wear rags to show allegiance. Prisoners wear cornrows and sag their pants to show homosexual behaviors.
Prostitutes show their body parts in an explicit manner to flag Johns for potential tricks. It's all over. People respond to the appearance of others when they are signaling through their outer appearances.

God has ALWAYS been concerned about his people's outer appearances because men have to interact with other men and must represent God to others to get his will accomplished. If we read the old testament of the scriptures we will see that the outer appearance of God's people was very important to him and he had rules and laws that governed their style and appearance. God was very particular about the garments and even the mixing and matching of certain materials that made up the garments because he wanted strict differences between his people and the false god worshippers. He wanted explicit differences between the men and the women so their appearances could aid in their identity. God wanted differences in his people's behaviors, rituals, and even music, so that a person could never be confused as to what was sacred and what was profane! These things cannot be ignored today and we must understand that God wants there to be a noticeable difference between men and women, and between the church and the world!

The Hip Hop subculture says that people can look, act, and feel anyway they want. And because this demonic movement has bled over into our churches, the general flavor of most youth ministries nowadays is to "come as you are" and wear what you feel. And many take this to mean that they should be able to look and appear any way they want in church. This is not the case. There are a few things I would like to explain to you so you can see why it is not a good idea to have an "anything goes" type ministry just to welcome all people in.

1st, this is not a real world approach to the real world. In the real world, people are judged based on appearance and they are selected for things based on first impressions. With this stickler in place, we must prepare our young people to succeed and have success in life by first guiding their appearances and have them conform to the images that we deem positive. We must keep our young boys, first, looking like MALES! I cannot tell you how many young boys I see in our churches that you cannot tell are boys. They come to the alter and in some cases, I have to ask the Holy Spirit what gender they are! They have long braids, sometimes with beads or just plain old cornrows and because their voices have not changed and they have a soft demeanor, you will be inclined to believe that they are girls. This is sad because when I approach young boys that have had these issues, they usually are saddened by people receiving them as the opposite sex. In many cases, they will accept the label of being a girl and begin to respond with girl like tendencies. This leads to a life of not knowing who they are and experimenting with both sexes. This is what the scripture in Deuteronomy was explaining. It was an abomination for a women to wear men's garments and men to put on women's garment. This is not necessarily talking about women wearing pants because women didn't wear pants in this time, both men and women were draped with garments. But the material and the positioning of the garments were different to denote male or female. God did not want the wrong label put on the wrong gender. He wanted a difference made that was definite and everyone could see by their outer garments who they were.

We now have grown men with female hairstyles and effeminate appearances. Earrings, cornrows, and the like are all things that were once considered no no's in our churches and communities. Only pimps, homosexuals, and prisoners used to look this way but now, it's popular for preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to pierce their ears, wear braids, and even cornrows in the pulpit. Gospel recording artists now exemplify the worlds styles by men wearing piercing and long braids, even ponytails and buns with the braids? This is something that real men should stand against, but because we have so many flaming homosexuals in the pulpits and the Gospel Music industry, these men are now welcomed to come in our churches and show our kids how to fashion themselves after the world and still serve the living God. This is sending the wrong message, but who cares, it's the way it is, right? WRONG! If a person is not concerned about how they are perceived by others when it comes to their appearance, then this person is not concerned about the people! They are more concerned about how they look than how IT looks, and these are not true men of God because God was concerned about the perception of his Gospel to the point where he laid down rules for his representatives to follow when it came to fashion. Sure we have liberty, but come on people, there is line, and we must make it visible or we will have no proper way of appearing!

2nd - In Hip Hop, everything can be questioned! I cannot tell you how many folks I get emails and comments from that want to take the time to tell me "I disagree with you!" My answer? SO WHAT!!!! (I had one HHH rapper that I said so what to, get so upset that he called all the pastors of my engagement itinerary to try to get them cancelled.) I cannot believe that this new culture of youth feel that their opinion of what God has given me really matters. But the major problem in our churches today is the positions that people take against the pastors and leaders. You see, in the myspace era, people create identities that they feel are unique and important. They feel that their personal wants and desires are so important that the whole world needs to hear about them. Their zodiac sign, their favorite song, their pictures and images, their thoughts and ideas are all so important to them, that they will put it up on a space and try to connect with others so they can be received and made to feel validated. They want the validation of the world to replace what they didn't get from mom and dad. Well, what this does is promote people that feel their opinion and personal feelings dictate what is right and what is wrong. This makes it hard for them to receive discipline or rebuke! So, it makes it almost impossible for them to read or receive the bible because they may or may not agree with what it says. And because of this, we have tons of religious organizations that take parts of the bible and reject the parts they don't want.

This has created a generation of those that heap upon themselves teachers that will teach the parts they want to hear. The bible is now being picked apart by people's opinions and personal feelings rather than being preached in season and out of season. It is now "radical" to preach the whole bible and because people can pick and choose, they now can decide what is right or wrong based on their own ideology rather than the absoluteness of the world of God. It's hard to do youth ministry these days because Hip Hop has infused our youth with the idea that their opinion matters and their personal feelings are more important than truth. This means that if we allow them to be validated by their opinions then their opinions will be their guide! Because of Holy Hip Hoppers pushing their agenda and opinions in the church, It has really created youth that were once receptive young people desiring to be changed but are now opinionated youth that desire to be seen.

3rd - Hip Hop has created hybrid Christians that looks like thugs but serve God? You see, my grandmother taught me, that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it's a DUCK. How can you look like a gang member, talk like one, act like one, carry a swagger like one, and be a Christian? Well, the world says it can't be done. Hip Hop is about realness and real hip hoppers say that there can be no Holy version of Hip Hop. The founders of Hip Hop say that it is already Holy the way it is. So, why are the Holy Hip Hoppers saying they are a redeemed version? That's simple. They don't believe in Holy Hip Hop themselves and I will prove it to you. When Ambassador, Da Truth, and others Holy Hip Hoppers refer to what they are doing in their music, they don't refer to it as Holy, they just call it Hip Hop. The reason is that they know Holy Hip Hop is a counterfeit of Hip Hop and they don't want to be representatives of it. They know if they go to the ghettos and in the streets saying "Holy Hip Hop", they will be ridiculed and laughed at.
They know if Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc heard them say "Christian" Hip Hop, they would get ejected from the sub culture and labeled foolish because there is only 1 kind of Hip Hop and that's Hip Hop. This is why in all their music, they say Hip Hop and not Holy Hip Hop. So, if this is true, then why are churches and pastors buying into something that the rappers themselves don't promote? Easy answer here folks: If they look gangster, swagger like a gangster, promote gangster music, then what are they? We have a set of DVD's that will help you answer that question! Get them here.

We have a problem in the church and this problem is that we don't consider the cost until it's time to pay! If we let our youth dress and look any way they want, then we can't train them to look good and presentable. If we let our youth listen to any kind of music they want, then we can't teach them that some music is corrupt. If we allow our youth to express themselves and walk with swagger, then we cannot teach them self denial and walking by the Spirit. If we allow our youth to accept Holy Hip Hop, then we cannot teach them the evils of Hip Hop itself because it's all the same thing. Holy Hip Hop is Hip Hop!

1Sam. 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Deut. 22:5 ¶ The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Ex. 32:18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

2Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Titus 2:15 AMP Tell [them all] these things. Urge (advise, encourage, warn) and rebuke with full authority. Let no one despise or disregard or think little of you [conduct yourself and your teaching so as to command respect]. Titus 3:1 REMIND PEOPLE to be submissive to [their] magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work,

With God's Authority,
G. Craige Lewis