In the News
Atlanta—As America tackles the tough problems of racial inequality and violence, rapper Lecrae wants fellow Christians to take action. The Grammy winner, an African American who survived a rough childhood and became a Christian in college, has gained a large following among evangelicals.
Lately, though, some Christians have been critical of Lecrae’s outspokenness about racial tension, which he calls a “festering wound.” Lecrae senses they want him to stay out of politics and “stick to the gospel.” But the 36-year-old rapper says, “Christians saying that ‘preaching the gospel is all we need’ ignore how sin affects infrastructures and societal systems.”
Lecrae says he’s hurting for every life lost—black men as well as white police officers—but maintains that the phrase “All Lives Matter” is selfish and insensitive. “When people are hurting, people are mourning, people are crying—that’s not the time to point out where you may disagree; that’s a time to listen,” he says. “People are crying out because they’re witnessing injustice, and they’re asking for people to listen.”
The musician, who recently signed with Columbia Records, believes humility is key to racial harmony. “It takes a great deal of humility to listen to a different person’s vantage point,” he says, “especially when you believe [yours] is correct. There is a minority experience in this country…that majority culture just may not be privy to.”
Lecrae, who calls himself “a rapper who happens to be Christian,” believes he must remain in the culture in order to influence and change it. Staying in the “religious ghetto” isn’t an option, he says.
Lecrae clarifies that he doesn’t view the injustice problem as black-white. “I’m not focused on race, exactly,” he says. “If blacks in America are treated equally, I’ll move on to the next group.”
Sources: washingtonpost.com, christianpost.com, billboard.com
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Discussion Starters for Student Small Groups
How do you feel about Lecrae’s crusade for justice and equality? Why do you think he’s speaking out so strongly, even though that’s causing some backlash from other Christians?
How do you feel about the “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” slogans and how they’re being used? How might your perspective change if you had a different skin color?
Should Christians step into the political arena and work for social change, or should we keep ourselves separate from that? Do you agree that the gospel—and preaching it—should be the top priority of Jesus’ followers? Do you think it’s all we should be focusing on? Explain.
How does Jesus’ message apply to the political and social challenges America is facing right now? Although the Bible was written thousands of years ago, how does Scripture give direction and solutions for what we’re facing in the 21st century?
In what ways can the gospel message guide our ventures into tough or controversial issues? How can viewing problems such as racism as the result of sin affect our efforts to find solutions?
During tense times, why is it often difficult to stop and listen to the other “side”? How can that be a step in healing our country’s racial divisions?
What does it take to be able to truly empathize with people who are different from you? What roles might humility and selflessness play in that process?
In what sense might you be in a “religious ghetto”? When is it good to be surrounded by people with similar beliefs and backgrounds? When is it good to step out and associate with people of other beliefs and backgrounds?
What are the risks and rewards of being vocal about issues you care about? Are you willing to challenge the status quo and make people feel uncomfortable, if that’s what it takes to bring about positive change? Explain.
What other divisions and injustices—besides blacks and whites—do you notice in our country and in your community? What role can you play in bridging the equality gap and working toward peace?
Scripture links: 2 Chronicles 7:14; Micah 6:8; Romans 16:17-20; Ephesians 2:11-18; Colossians 3:11-17; and James 1:19-20.