As many of you probably know, Kanye West released his long-awaited gospel album. Kanye, last year began a spiritual journey, which has led us to where he stands now: a self-proclaimed born again Christian and ambassador for Christ. Now, if you know the Kanye that I know… The Jesus Walks to Gold digger Kanye, the words Kanye and Christian are not synonymous. In fact, they are as far apart as can be.
So where do I stand? Where should we stand as Christians today? Here are some of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head over the past year:
I must admit I have been watching Kanye’s transformation very closely. When he first started doing his Sunday services I was extremely skeptical. Not because I thought the transformation wasn’t possible, but because of the way it was being implemented. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought they this was just another ploy by his famous family to get ratings or another breakdown of his mental health. The way his Sunday services were being implemented at the beginning of his journey, bordered on cultish behaviour in my personal opinion. ( in a dome, all dressed alike etc..)
Mind you, I made these assumptions long before I ever watched a full service. I saw clips of him taking secular music and mixing it with gospel music and right away my Jamaican Pentecostal upbringing had me denouncing it and him. Mind you, Mr Vegas ( a Jamaican dancehall artist) has a rendition of the gospel reggae track ” I am Blessed” that I had absolutely no problem with. (it’s been played at every single Jamaican CHRISTIAN wedding I have been at in the last 10 years lol) and I myself used to turn secular songs into Christian songs by changing the lyrics all the time! Why fault Kanye if I wasn’t going to fault Mr Vegas as well?
So finally I watched a few of the Sunday services in Atlanta Chicago And Detroit. And what I saw in place of Kanye the persona I knew, was simply a soul searching, seeking and trying to find its way home.
What I saw was Kanye’s heart. A man who is truly on a journey to find God and learn how to use his gifts to serve a greater purpose.
When I had this conversation with a group of peers, there were varied opinions. Many statements were made about being aware of false prophets. Which I think is a valid point. The bible does speak about this in 2 Timothy 4 where Timothy is encouraged by Paul to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ because there is coming a day where the people will not want to hear sound doctrine but will gravitate towards preachers or teachers who tell them what they want to hear. It also says that people will denounce the faith and will run after myths,( 2 Timothy 4: 1-4) and to be perfectly honest when you look at Kanye and the following he has and has garnered through this spiritual journey, it seems like he is a perfect example of the people Paul was warning Timothy about.
But honestly, after watching his services, and leaning into my own relationship with Jesus, Kanye is no different than myself or anybody who has made a choice to follow God, to be honest. Kanye is just at an unfair advantage because of the persona he has created for himself and because he has made such a drastic declaration, it is really hard for people who have seen him one way for so long to truly believe the change is real.
But y’all this is why grace is so powerful. It overshadows everybody’s perception of you. God sees you. The true you. He sees the willing heart even if the world isn’t ready to accept it.
So, like I mentioned before, Kanye released his album and one track in particular really spoke to and convicted me, “Hands On” which features one of my all-time favourite gospel artists Fred Hammond. On this track, there is a line that really made me check myself as it should many people who call themselves a believer and follower of Christ:
“Told people God was my mission/What have you been hearing from the Christians/ they’ll be the first one to judge me/ make it seem like nobody love me”
This is exactly what many of us believers do. We judge people by their past and the persona first forgetting that grace extends to everyone… to celebrities too. The same grace we live under is the same grace that Kanye has access to through Jesus Christ.
You may not know Kanye personally, but now is the time to pray for him! He is clearly on a journey and needs some guidance to keep him focused on the gift that is eternal life. This is a man who has had the entire world at his fingertips and is now in a place to give that all up in order to serve the one true and living God. To me… that’s commendable.
What the world sees as a plot or even as mental health issues, is really God taking back His child. Putting him back on track to walk in the purpose that he was created for which is worship…
I’m not God and I can’t say with 100 per cent conviction that this a true declaration that Kanye has made forever. But what I can say right now at this very moment, is that I respect the fact that he has so boldly declared his desire to serve God. All we in Christendom can do is pray for discernment and pray that God will align Kanye with good shepherds that will walk alongside him and guide and help keep him on the path of righteousness.
So I say, welcome home brother Kanye. I’m praying for you!