Then Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.”
An impromptu post about a pop culture event is not what I usually write about because current events don’t require extended form analysis, everything is expedient. Let me first clarify what this post won’t be about. It’s not a music review of Kanye’s “Jesus Is King” album, I don’t know enough about music to make an intelligent critique. It’s also not about how much I am convinced of Kanye’s faith and whether or not this is merely a venture, “You will know them by their fruit.” What this post is about is analyzing the message in the album as it relates to Christianity.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go over every song of the album, just the ones where Kanye is trying to get a message across separate from praising God. There’s a lot of quotable lines in this song, one of the few that stood out, “Before the flood, people judge. They did the same thing to Noah.” The idea here being before things reach their darkest depths, the pushback or resistance is met with not merely criticism or disagreement, but disdain and judgment.
Closed on Sunday
“Stand up for my home. Even if I take this walk alone. I bow down to the King upon the throne. My life is His, I’m no longer my own.” If I were to determine if Kanye is a sincere Christian, this line gives me confidence. Most of the Christian doctrine that is not talked about is the idea of daily sacrifice. Some people are drawn to Christianity or religion in general in the hopes of gaining God as an ally. A transactional sort of religion, where one does good in the hopes of earning God’s favor in an upcoming job interview or other self-interested gains. The sum of Christianity is to surrender one’s life to Jesus because of who He is and what He has done. Not so that we may achieve financial success or be looked upon as noble by our peers. “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
“I can’t keep it to myself, I can’t sit here and be still. Everybody, I will tell to the whole world, it’s Him.” Perhaps here we see Kanye’s motivation behind releasing this album. The fire in a new believer is always an encouraging thing, and seeing where this journey leads Kanye will be interesting.
Nearly the entire song is quotable. The standout line here is, however, “What have you been hearing from the Christians? They’ll be the first one to judge me.” This will forever be a challenging stereotype to dispel. Because people suck and Christians are people, therefore, Christians suck. Not Christianity sucks, Christians do.
Christians are to hold themselves to a higher standard. What ends up happening is because Christians claim to be beholden to a higher standard, they think they’re better than everyone else. To truly be beholden to a higher standard is to be humbled by that standard. Before we boast about the new standard we’ve set for ourselves, we must recognize the standard proves we are from dirt and have fleshy monkey brains that can’t think when we miss a meal. And therefore have absolutely nothing to boast about.
All in all, this album is a good worship album. I am excited to see where Kanye’s faith will take him musically. A final takeaway is Kanye is clearly on a journey where he is learning what it means to be a Christian, and it’s a lifelong journey. He will face more obstacles and criticism than most because of his fame and because of his famous family. He has more influence than most, and because of that he will face more backlash than most.