White Guys Who Listen to Christian Rap and The Girl Named World

It must be hard to be a Christian rapper. I would submit it’s even harder than being a white rapper…or a black hockey player…or an Asian basketball player.

It’s even a bit difficult to admit that I am a closet Christian rap fan, as I am still discovering and weighing the implications of coming out and what it will mean to my family. Of course I don’t claim all Christian rap as thoughtful and creative, just as most alternative rock fans don’t claim Creed as legends of the trade.

But after reading Tim Challies recent blog about “The Strange Phenomenon of White Middle Aged Pastors Who Listen to Rap Music,” some accolades are due from me. Though I was a middle class white guy in high school with no street cred or entourage, Christian rap was a surprising beacon of light for me in those formative spiritual years. With contemporary rap groveling and bowing to a fallen culture, I found there were still a remnant of urban Elijah’s who had not bowed their knees to Baal. The lyrics of Christian rap were Bible saturating, Christ exalting, winsome and refreshing. I would submit to you, the reader, the depth of these men’s rap lyrics makes the current CCM’s “gospel” message look like a puddle of emotional Deism.

So my late great Chevy S-1o was my sanctuary during the high school drama cycle, as I bobbed my big white head (with hair back then) to the beats of “The Ambassador” and “The Cross Movement.” While Eminem and Lil Wayne were the dominating flavors for my HS counterparts, I was listening to the exact antithesis of whatever drug, women and thug experience they were peddling.

Here’s one sample of “The Ambassador’s” lyrical tirades called “Girl Named World” that helped spurn me towards re-evaluating what the world had to offer:

I used to date a girl named, “World.”
Sis was real glamorous arrayed up in diamonds and pearls
She was the baddest, the phattest, she was established
And with her universal status – she had me livin’ lavish
She knew about my sinful habits. She used to feed them
She offered me the fruits of lust (and yep) I used to eat them
She took my freedom. Warnings came, I wouldn’t heed them
And when I mentioned God she said, “Chill you don’t need Him.”
I second-guessed this but then she pulled out those dresses, tight
fittin’ ones made by Mercedes and Lexus
Her neck just exploded with the fragrance of passion
The aroma of fame, fortune, and fashion
Snatching’ my heart she romanced me, my plans be
Lover for life make her, make her my wife, I can’t see…
breaking’ up like I can’t see me in a S girl
This is dedicated to my ex-girl

This passage is dripping with biblical principle, namely this one: “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

The Ambassador concludes:

So don’t miss the crucial nature of the crucifixion
With diction I’ll stress this one
If Jesus Christ wasn’t nailed to a cross
If there was no blood lost we’d have to pay our own cost
Who can pay for their own sins
Next to God grown men become little girls with no ends
Daily my mind gets revamped
And on the Lord there’s more concentration than a camp
God stamps His divine approval
On the One who puts God the Son in the forefront on the usual
Fools will bow down to a dead president
And turn around and say there’s no God despite the evidence
I recommend we prepare for the reckoning
and dis the world cause you know she aint your friend

Repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:16-17). Sounds biblically orthodox and culturally relevant to me.

My love for Christian rap waned with my graduation from high school, and I haven’t bought any Christian rap for well over 10 years…until recently, a theologically reformed rapper named LeCrae broke that streak. LeCrae’s “Rehab” album brings me back to my “Cross Movement” days, where rap was both quality to the ears and convicting to the soul.

Now my sanctuary is a red Pacifica, and I’m still bobbing my big white bald head….but I’m doing it with my beautiful wife riding shotgun and two little white boys in the backseat. We’re all bobbing our heads to the beat, thankful that God is bringing all things under subjection to the Lordship of Jesus, even a culture that seems irreversibly broken.

Bryan Daniels

Try to rap along with LeCrae here to one of his best songs; if you succeed give yourself a hug:

“Don’t Waste Your Life” by LeCrae

Why You Should (Maybe) Stay Single

Marriage is a beautiful covenant to be shared with your best friend and children are a blessing from the Lord.

In the Genesis account God creates Adam, the man, first and gives him the freedom to name and have dominion over the animals. When Adam is finished with this great task God turns back to him, the lone man, and creates the perfect woman to complement him, Eve. The account says the two lived “naked and unashamed.”

I don’t know exactly what type of marital bliss the two experienced with one another before the fall but the word “unashamed” assumes a few things: What they experienced as a couple was a guiltless, free, honest, open relationship void of any social constraint or embarrassed self-consciousness. Most importantly this was their posture with God before the inception of sin, total guiltlessness and free from the shame of sin. The Bible is not specific with how long the couple enjoyed this state, and in Genesis 3 we learn of a deceiver that comes in to their life to malign God’s word and destroy their covenant with one another. By their disobedience and taking Satan’s word over God’s the honeymoon comes to an abrupt end and sin’s children of shame, pain, and toil were birthed.

One point of interest is commonly overlooked here. The order of events in the Bible are not inconsequential. Look again at this: Satan did not begin his assault on Adam or Eve until they were a couple under the marriage covenant of God.

Now, I know singleness has its own unique set of challenges and insecurities. But a cursory look at the tabloids, facebook, shows, movies and music reveals a telling indictment on our culture. It’s one of our golden calves, an idol called ” the relationship.” It seems the only thing we fear more than death is loneliness. Everyone, unequivocally, wants to meet “the one.”

As the Genesis 3 account alludes, we run into a problem here. Marriage does not make life emotionally easier for the companionship seeker, in reality it makes life substantially harder. Satan’s greatest delight is in making the institution of marriage a deplorable scandal. If he does that he can also placard the covenant God has with his church in a similar manner (Ephesians 5).

Marriage is under attack, less in the political sense (to the chagrin of radio shock jocks), but rather in the more dangerous spiritual sense. It has always been under vicious attack from the very beginning.

The single person may have been “graced” by God with this singleness for a season. Again, marriage is a beautiful covenant to be shared with your best friend and children are a blessing from the Lord. But marriage is hard. Just as with Adam and Eve, Satan wants to destroy its participants. Men and women who are addicted to porn, facebook, call of duty, shopping and self in general need not apply.

It’s not a question of perfection, but rather projection: where are we going with our life and is Christ leading us there?

Men, if we can barely pay our own bills, have no savings, have an XBox addiction, live with our parents, know more about Steve Jobs than Jesus, and treat women like a hill to be conquered, DO NOT TRY TO GET MARRIED. I’m not saying God cannot purge you of those maladies while you’re married (because He has had to with me), I am saying it will be done with a lot more turmoil and heartache in the context of marriage. Those strongholds in our life don’t just magically dissipate with the signing of a marriage license. They die hard. 

With the prospect of marriage, you are saying you are ready to support financially, spiritually, and emotionally both a wife and children.

If we don’t have our life in some respectable order what makes us think we can add another needy soul (wife) or souls (children) to that mix without disastrous results? Multiply your current weaknesses by at least three when a child is added (as he should be in marriage) into the fray. Marriage with children is not for the faint of heart, it’s really another way to die to the flesh so your partner may flourish and Jesus be glorified.

Marriage is not for those with fanciful illusions of champagne and roses, it’s for those who wish to serve their “other” sacrificially the way Christ served the church. With forgiveness always outstretched even when the heart is wounded.

Twenty five year old Peter Pans with beards aren’t ready for it. Thank God for his grace and your singleness if that may be you.

Again don’t get me wrong:   

I am absolutely in love with my wife, Jessica, and our son, Josiah. Marriage is a beautiful covenant to be shared with your best friend and children are a blessing from the Lord. But before we start thinking seriously about it, let’s first put on our big boy pants (not those emo skinny jeans) and pry the Android out of our hands. Too much is at stake to do otherwise.

Bryan Daniels

The Daniels Family Legacy-My Son Speaks Flatulence

My two year old son has a curious acumen for attributing sounds with people. He’s done this since he was one, and it always gets a chuckle out my wife and I. The funniest occurrence of this gift is in the case of Josiah’s two grandfathers, Jack and Larry.

Jessica’s father, Jack, rides a Harley and is in a Christian motorcycle outreach, “The Tribe of Judah.” The muffler to the bike sounds like a thousand grenades going off in a sewer pipe. Josiah has seen his “Papa” on it only a handful of times. But whenever Josiah hears another bike, car, or truck that vaguely sounds similar to Jack’s he will gasp and say, “Papa!”

Similarly, my father has a particular sound attributed to his name. Josiah’s “Paw” has a family tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. It’s slightly grosser and not quite as charming as the motorcycle story. Whenever Josiah hears any one, uh, “flatulate”, he cuts a sly grin (even a baby knows a fart is hilarious) and says in a drawn out tone, “Paaawww.”

Yes, at a very young age, before he could even form a coherent phrase, my son found that my father is the jack of all gastric passings. Even the minor vaporous expulsions in our house can be blamed on “Paw”, the proud patriarch of our flatulent family.

My son has observed what I also observed at a young age: My dad is the King of Cutting Cheese. This genetic medical condition has also been passed down in part to his only son.

Don’t worry, I don’t feel any shame in it. It’s a Daniels family legacy after all.

Bryan Daniels

The Best Day Ever (Almost)

Yesterday was almost the best day ever.

Here are my three reasons. I’ll start with the trivialities first and then work my way up the ladder of importance.

1. Mosley football won. No, more accurately, we dominated. We beat Tallahassee Rickards 24-0 for our homecoming game. Special teams and D-line had a great game, both of which I have a particularly vested coaching interest in. We have been on a three game losing skid against flat out bigger and talented teams but our kids have been resilient. The shutout was huge for the defense because after starting the season solid the last three teams we have played have hung an average of 46 points on us.

We improved to 5-3 (6-3 including kickoff classic) on the season and we have a decent chance to go 7-3 and win the county over arch rival Arnold.

2. God healed me. Around second period my stomach had become a contentious wad of knots and churnings. It felt like the beginnings of a similar 12 hour episode of less than a year ago that left me light headed and violently dry heaving. I saw it fit to pray to God for a few minutes specifically for the healing of any sickness that was coming upon me. I am not saying I felt a lightning bolt hit my bowels or some warm glow come over me, but I do know after a couple minutes the nausea had completely subsided. So much so I was able to fully partake in “Chicken Thursday” in the cafeteria right afterwards (trust me, “Chicken Thursday” is the one day you don’t want to miss).

You can either chalk it up as the God given ability of our body to heal itself, or as a unique supernatural instantaneous healing from the hand of God. I don’t care. I just know God healed me. The importance of this healing is highlighted by #3.

3. We are having a baby boy! Yes, by all accounts a healthy baby boy. Right after school ended yesterday I had a doctor appointment with my beautiful pregnant wife, Jessica, to find out the sex of our child. A nasty stomach bug would have kept me from that milestone moment. With our two year old, Josiah, sitting in my lap we discovered together as a family he was going to be a big brother.

All doubt was was done away with when Dr. Jackson pointed to a spot on the 2D image and said, “Yep, there’s the ‘turtle’!” I guess “turtle” is medical jargon for baby boyhood.

Gideon will be his name.

Do you see the turtle?

My wife will be outnumbered 3 to 1 in the testosterone department. It’s a good thing she likes boys. I look forward to adding another tag team wrestling partner to our Saturday morning octagon (bed) free for alls.

God has been extremely gracious to us as a family, and His mercies truly are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).

So it was a great day, indeed.

Of course, every silver lining has a touch of grey. After arriving at Chili’s late last night for our weekly post game “coaches meeting” I was met with a bit of bad news. My beloved Florida State Seminoles had just lost to NC State 28-24 in the waning seconds with a freak fumble on the goal line. Oh well, I guess I won’t be watching that game on Tivo after all.

I’m sure it’s the least of his worries, but because of a poor play action fake, Mr. Christian Ponder had kept me from celebrating the hands down best day ever. : )

God bless!

Bryan Daniels