January 8, 2014

Does God Listen to Rap - Book Review

Does God Listen to Rap? Christians and the World's Most Controversial Music by Curtis Allen was a very interesting book.  Once I picked this book up, I devoured it... At 110 pages, I still had it read by the next day.

The topic itself, though there are many on both sides of the argument that would agree requires conversation, is usually approached poorly. For myself, I have no patience, whether in book or in blog post or in person, for those who simply want to air their opinions. No offense, but I don't have time for most opinions, not even my own.  I want truth, and when it comes to God and what He wants, I want the truth from scripture. I liked this book because Curtis Allen, as best as I believe anyone could, comes to the table with this truth.

To approach this topic from a Biblical perspective, since the Bible doesn't actually talk about Rap (or any musical style for that matter), the author also describes a correct method to handling and applying scripture to various areas of life.  And he does this in true rapper style, by inventing a word:
"So far right now the issue is not rap at all. Rap is just our immediate context for thinking about the character of God and how he relates to music. As we do this, I'm going to take what I call a theomethodosophical approach. This is a method that starts with and remains grounded in good theology but throws in some basic logic and philosophy where needed. It's not too different from what somebody else might call common-sense speculation. But look, I'm a rapper, and sometimes rappers just go ahead and invent words. It's what we do." 
"I'm taking this theomethodosophical approach because Scripture obviously doesn't speak directly to everything we are curious about. When that happens, we are biblically free to consider possibilities as long as we remain true to Scripture and don't put our conclusions on a par with Scripture."
That is precisely where many go wrong. They come up with conclusions, and quite often about musical styles, and they hold their conclusions up on the same level with the Bible. What naturally follows is a condemnation of any who don't abide by their conclusions or who don't come up with the same conclusions.

I need to add though that one of the most fascinating parts of this book was the first few chapters that dealt with the history of Rap. I learned about "Kool Herc and the Birth of the DJ", "Grandmaster Flash", and "The 1977 NYC Blackout". Before reading this book, my understanding about the beginnings of Rap music went only as far back as RUN DMC performing with Aerosmith... Yes.  I am a white boy from the midwest.

If you have had any struggle with developing a Biblical understanding of music or if you have come to some conclusions that you have help up on par with Scripture itself, then I would love to recommend this book to you, if for no other reason that to hear a level-headed, Biblical approach that might be different than YOU.

The Kindle version of this book isn't very pricy. Feel free to click on through and snag this book. You won't regret it.