Levity For The Weekend: Official Worship Signals

I’ve seen this snazzy little hilarious diagram floatin’ around the internetz this past week. For context: I grew up in a traditional Baptist church, currently attend a charismatic Methodist church body, and I follow the ministries of many Reformed Presbyterian guys. For reasons I may explain in another post, I loosely consider myself a “charismatic with a seat-belt.” I have seen, or can empathize with, all the “worship signals” in this model. I got a chuckle out of the Baptist warning at the bottom.

These signals are all courtesy of the brilliant comedic mind of Tim Hawkins. Here is my favorite skit of his. It’s a classic in my book:

Other body signals I have witnessed in my respective worship experiences: The Gaither family toe tap (has been known to cause turf toe in Southern Baptists). The reverse Running Man Pentecostal jig (has been known to be 2 Legit 2 Quit). The psych ward charismatic body rock (has been known to get you admitted to Shutter Island). One of my personal favorites is the massive youth conference Simon-Says-Standup game that happens after the first person leaves their seat during the beginning of a worship song.

Am I missing any pertinent motions you’d like to share?

I won’t be posting the next couple of days. With out-of-town friends visiting for the weekend, an all day away high school track meet Saturday, and Sunday worship and family time, I’ll see you peeps sometime next week!

God bless you and keep you til then…and don’t forget Sunday morning to:

Lift your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. (Psalm 134:2)

Bryan Daniels

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

Lil Wayne’s Incarceration: A Call to Freedom

In case you have been too enamored with election results to actually watch the “real” news, let me fill you in: rapper Lil Wayne is free at last!

Lil Wayne (Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.), was recently incarcerated for 8 months stemming from an illegal gun possession charge. As he partook in solitary confinement his album sales for I am Not a Human Being soared to No.1 on the Billboard 200.

Jeezy

Behind the mystique lies a heart-rending tale of modern times.

In addition to gun charges, Carter has also had multiple drug charges leveled against him.

To date, Carter has at least four children by three different women.

Even though he was an honor student, Carter dropped out of high school. (To his credit he is currently trying to complete an online degree)

At the age of 13, he accidentally shot himself with a .44 caliber gun.

Most of these events are just symptoms, pointing to a larger sickness. All of these circumstances have an origin in some way to the most tragic fact in Mr. Carter’s bio:

His parents were divorced when he was 2, after which his father permanently abandoned the family.

In a recent interview, Carter explained why he has dropped the “D” from his given name “Dwayne”, opting for “Wayne”:

“I dropped the D because I’m a junior and my father is living and he’s not in my life and he’s never been in my life. So I don’t want to be Dwayne, I’d rather be Wayne”. Asked if his father knew of this and Wayne replied with a smile, “He knows now.”

Behind the smile lies a little boy still needing his father’s affirmation.

The case of Carter is a case against our times. The prevalence of absent fathers is a scourge on our society.

As a father, all I can say is I don’t fully understand this tendency towards abandonment. I’d rather die a thousand deaths than miss my son’s first words, birthdays, football games, and other milestone moments .

I do know there are a litany of factors to consider: socioeconomic, educational, psychological, learned family traits, etc. But the prevailing factor behind it all can get lost sometimes in our philosophizing:

Sin. Sins of the heart.

Sin not only hardens our hearts against God and His revealed will, it hardens our hearts against people, even the people closest to us; our family. One of the first sins ever recorded in the Bible was a family feud that turned into premeditated murder.

It is cases like Carter’s that make me cling to one of the most compelling promises in Scripture. The very last written OT promise to the nation of Israel is found in the book of Malachi. It is followed by roughly 400 years of prophetic silence, until a carpenter’s son shows up on the scene to turn the world upside down.

It says:

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6)

In the NT, we learn John the Baptist came as a fulfillment of this prophecy (Luke 1:17). But there are also compelling reasons to believe there is a final “end times” Elijah that will be the complete fulfillment of this prophecy (Revelation 11:3-12).

Regardless, this prophecy hits at the root of the matter with an axe hammer. It’s a heart issue. All sins are.

Whether by overt acts of abuse, subversive attitudes of disappointment, or the act on trial here: neglectful abandonment. Apart from a turning of heart, all father’s are susceptible to this.

Children are not entirely innocent. This promise would apply to rebellious younger children, neglectful older children and children embittered by what they perceived as a rough childhood. Children must have a turning of the heart too.

If we want to see a revival in this nation, we must start with a reviving of families. It will start with broken families being broken and repentant before one another.

I long for the day when God fully restores broken families, even Lil Wayne’s. I long for the day men like him see freedom not in the context of a prison release, but in the freedom from sin found in Christ. True freedom that breaks every curse, and makes them the fathers, husbands and children that can revive a nation.

Bryan Daniels