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Letter to My Sister, Erykah Badu

April 16, 2010 1 comment

Sister Badu, I’ve been a fan of your music since you have been on the scene since Baduism. You were representing D-Town (Dallas) when no one else dare to and for that I am extremely grateful. I even heard stories about you being a rapper before you were a singer from people who knew you from the North Dallas Area. (Even D.O.C. wouldn’t represent Dallas, but you did!)

I woke up one Monday morning, to read an article in an online paper concerning the video for your song “Window Seat.” I must confess that I had not viewed the video (for reasons I will share later) until after your response to my tweet. I apologize if it seemed as if my tweet purported to be fact and I wanted to make sure that you knew it was my opinion.

Here was my original tweet:

Let’s call it wht its: @fatbellybella stripped 2 sell records & get attention. (sic)its wht its… Have a gd morning ths morning!

You responded with this tweet:

sir, I make ZERO dollars from saling (sic) records you are ill informed and Jesus would not like it one bit .u leading the people wrong

You also tweeted this after I asked for more clarity:

peace I meant you were being quite judgemental w/out a bit of proof nor truth and led the reader to believe u were an authority

After looking at your tweet, I thought about it. By the way, your tweet was hilarious and it made my day. I agree with you that my tweet may have come off as fact. I sincerely apologize if I offended you by not stating that is was my opinion. Although I still stand by the content of what I said, I think I should have made it more clear what I actually thought.

After some thought, I decided to view the video, so that I could see what your work and respond with more insight. I also read the interview that you did on this blog: and found your response to be enlightening. This is my take on the video:

My Observations of Your Video

In the video, I saw your angle about “groupthink” — that people shouldn’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary. I also saw how you were assassinated, died and were “reborn” a new person. It reminded me of another person that happened to: Jesus Christ.

The JFK angle was an interesting touch. You shot the video on the “grassy knoll” outside the library. In the beginning of the video, you jumped out of a 60’s style white town car, sort of like the one JFK was riding in when he was assassinated.

There were multiple messages including death and rebirth, being an individual, and the bondage of groupthink. It was just like you said there were multiple messages and people could have taken a lot out of the video. Even the filming of the video of itself was new and cutting edge. The video was different from a lot of videos made today.

The Goodness of Art

Sister, I believe that all art is created by God and through Jesus Christ. Gen 1:1, John 1:2. And when God created Art he created it good. Gen. 1:31, John 1:1. Good art is beautiful and reminds us of the beauty of God.

When Satan came in the garden he corrupted what God had created, by tempting man to sin, which Adam gave into. Genesis 3. The very creation that God had beautifully declared to be good was marred and disfigured by sin. Marriage was distorted. Relationships were distorted. Music was distorted. Art was distorted. Because of Man’s sinful nature and the influence of Satan, art created pure and for his glory has been defiled.

“Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.” – Tim Keller

How does this relate to art? When art or anything else becomes the place by which we build our life and gives us meaning, it becomes a God thing. It takes us farther than we ever really wanted to go and it morphs from a good thing to something that we worship — a God thing, as Marc Driscoll would say.

I believe that your video had many messages that were good and thought–provoking, but I think it crossed the line from a good thing to a God thing, when the body that God gave you to glorify him was used to glorify Art. Sister, you are a beautiful soul, but your body was meant for the view and enjoyment of your husband. Part of the reason why I was so reluctant to watch it was because I didn’t want to look at what did not belong to me. God loves the fact that two married lovers can enjoy each other’s body. So your body wasn’t wrong, it’s just the purpose you used it for was wrong. The ironic thing is that the potentially good messages that were portrayed in your video were devalued and even demonized by a good number of males, because they were staring at your buttocks.

If I had to shorten my statement, for some people the video became pornography. For proof, look at some of the YouTube message boards. They were filled with men lusting after you and fulfilling their selfish desires with your body. They missed the message and you became the object of their affection and worship. As one who has struggled with porn, I know. Porn has destroyed many of my relationships, and it helped me to view women as objects of art to be worshipped, rather than a human being created in the image of God.

Does that mean art is bad thing?

No, art can be redeemed. It is why Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth. More than assassinated, he was appointed by God the Father to die. It was Jesus Christ destiny to die at the hands of his Father. The bible declares that it pleased God the Father to crush his own son? Isaiah 53:11. Why? God must punish sin, and instead of taking his wrath and vengeance out on us, who have no righteousness, he took it out on his own son. Romans 3:10 What happened to Jesus was more than assassination— it was atonement. He died for us ungodly human beings. Romans 5:8. Jesus then rises again in three days in a new, glorified body, never to die again. John 21. In fact, He is now in heaven as the Man. Acts 1:8,9 His resurrection is the beginning of a New World Order full of love and peace that will see its fulfillment when he comes back again. This old world is quickly dying.

How does this relate to art?

Well Jesus isn’t only going to redeem people, but he is going to redeem his creation and that includes art. Romans 8:21‑39. Jesus will rule with his redeemed people on this redeemed earth. People will be changed by the glory of their Savior. 2 Cor. 4:4‑6. Some of these changed people will then begin to take back and transform that which the devil has corrupted — like art.

In various art forms and genres, God is precisely taking those art forms and reconciling them back to Him for his glory! For instance check out Sho Baraka and his video, “We Can Be More.”

When Christ-followers view or listen to anything artistic, they should ask the question: does this work of art bring fame (glory) to the name of God and to his Son Jesus Christ?  I Cor. 10:11. No, everything that gives God glory doesn’t have to say his name. A beautiful sunrise declares his glory. I also believed that some of your songs do that as well.

Sister Badu, am I asking you to change what you do? Actually no, I’m not. I’m a Christian preacher and I have learned that telling people to stop sinning that may not be Christian is pointless. No sister, I’m looking deeper.

In your video, you died and were reborn a queen. There was a part of you that you felt died while shooting this video. I think this is similar to what God is calling us to do. He is calling us to die to ourselves and our desire to run our life, and follow Christ. That’s death to idolatry, to sin, and ultimately to our selves and our right to exist outside of the plan of God. On the flip side, God raises us up in new life with Christ so that now we have freedom. We are now a kingdom of priests – a royal priesthood.

I don’t know if you believe that Jesus Christ is your Master and Savior, but God leaves you with a decision to make. It will be the biggest decision of your life. If you repent from your sins and trust that the Lord Jesus rose again from the dead you shall be saved. Romans 10:9. The result of you making that decision will be new life with Christ Jesus forever. If you say no to Jesus, you are essentially saying to God, “I’m fine, I will bear your wrath, myself.” Embrace the Love of your life. I John 4:10. Sister Erykah, I desperately want to see you in the “Next Lifetime.”

With much Love and Affection from your brother in this life and, God-willing, the next,

P. Ngwolo

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Porn-Again Christian

January 27, 2009 Leave a comment

 

pornagain

Struggling with porn isn’t easy.  These days it’s not just men, it’s women too. More money is spent on pornography in the United States than in all the major sports combined.  It’s crippling a lot of people’s lives Christians and non-Christians.  That being said, Marc Driscoll, pastor of Mars-Hill Church, has an excellent book out called Porn-Again Christian.    I’m thinking about leading a weekend small group discussion through this thing.  Its a FREE resource and you can find it here.

Dying to Live Free: Day 2 – Why is God so Mad?

January 23, 2009 2 comments

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Kinfolk, here is a wrap-up from bible study this week:

Romans 1:18-32 lets us know why we need God’s Good News.  We need Good News because of the bad news.  The bad news:  God is angry at man because when God revealed himself to man through all the stuff he made (sunsets, fearfully and wonderfully made people, animals, mountain ranges), man tried to forget him and chose to sin.  Creation was supposed to point us to God who is eternally powerful, all-knowing, and worthy of all worship.  But instead of giving him the credit for the created things we see around us, we begin to worship the created things rather than the creator.  In ancient times, they chose to worship animals, trees, wooden idols, and insects.  In America, we worship cars, clothes, money, education, success, and our ourselves.  Our minds become oblivious to the things of God and we become “intellectual” in our thinking.  This makes God so angry that instead of fighting people he just gives them over to what they want to do.  

 

 

26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. (Romans 1:26-27)

 

 

We begin to slide into more and more sinful stuff.  Pornography, fornicaiton, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, are just some of the stuff we fell into as humans.  But Paul also says that God is mad at folk that are:

 

 

filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

 31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful   (Romans 1:29-31) KJV

 

Wow, if you didn’t see yourself somewhere in this list, then you are probably a liar, and so you made the list by default. 🙂  The point is that everybody, including you, is under the wrath of God, a wrath so great, that he pushes those who choose to do wrong into doing more wrong, because they want to anyway.  It’s as if God is saying, “Oh, you want to do your own thing, you won’t acknowledge me and worship me, fine, let me push you off the cliff since you want to fly!!!”

So whether you are a dope fiend or you just like to tell lies, whether you got drunk one time or you murdered somebody, whether you practice homosexuality or you got caught stealing a Now & Later from the neighborhood grocery store at 9 years old, because of our sin we are all under the wrath of God and it is why WE NEED SOMEONE TO SAVE US FROM GOD’S WRATH.  Guess who did?  Jesus.  Only Jesus righteousness is good enough for God and only people who wear Jesus’ righteousness, who trust him for their salvation are “good” enough for God.  Not because they are good, but because Jesus is good.

 

Some other thoughts about bible study:

* Jeanique shared a powerful testimony about how God has delivered her from lesbianism.  For a few minutes, all eyes were on her, as she began to share herself with us and give us insight as to how this sin gripped her and how God’s power delivered her.  Let’s continue to pray for Jeanique as she continues to walk in the Spirit and resists temptation.

*There were lots of questions some we got to and some we didn’t.  I will do a better job next week in getting your questions in. POST SOME OF YOUR QUESTIONS HERE!!  I promise I will respond.

*Homosexuality is not greater or lesser than any other sin.  The wages that God pays for all sin we commit is death and eternal separation from him.  God is angry at all sin and can not be around any of it, that’s why he kicked Adam out of paradise for the one sin he committed.  He wants perfect righteousness or nothing at all.  The trick of the enemy is to get people comparing themselves to one another and looking down on one another, and not realizing that your self-righteousness is like filthy menstrual rags to God.  (Isaiah 64:6). Humble yourself to see the sin that offends God in your life as well as the next person.  Speak the truth in love to those that you know are in sin and be careful in how you treat them lest you fall.  If you call Jesus your Lord, God loves you in spite of you, not because of you!

*Romans 1:18-3:20, is one big unit dealing with the guilt of the whole world (Jew and Gentile/religious folk and non-religious folk) and really should be read as one unit.  We will get to the second part of that next week, as we deal with it, under the theme “God is Angry at Churchfolk, Too!”  Read Romans 2 to get ready for the next week.

*Erica Soltero won the prize from last week.

*God is mad.  And only the shed blood of Jesus can satisfy him.  Pass it on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AIDS: Are We Awake Yet?

July 29, 2008 5 comments

I am fully persuaded that pushing condoms in schools, community clinics, and churches isn’t going to stop this deadly disease from spreading.  It is amazing that the public-at-large is being duped into believing that somehow convincing people to use condoms will somehow prevent this disease from ravaging communities.  Look at the latest from this CNN article regarding HIV in Black America.

AIDS in America today is a black disease,” says Phill Wilson, founder and CEO of the [Black AIDS] Institute and himself HIV-positive for 20 years. “2006 CDC data tell us that about half of the just over 1 million Americans living with HIV or AIDS are black.”  Although black people represent only about one in eight Americans, one in every two people living with HIV in the United States is black, the report notes.

Folk, the War on AIDS will not be won by pushing condoms and 6th grade sexual education classes, but by preaching the good news of Jesus Christ in schools, communities, and churches.  Reportedly, AIDS in Black America is approaching the rate of AIDS transmission in African countries.  There are various physical, psychological, and social reasons why people — particularly black people — are having casual, unprotected, and illicit sex.  Until the eternity-shaped void in people is filled with the love of Jesus, HIV will continue to wreak havoc in communities.  In the next few posts, I want to discuss some of the reasons AIDS is so prevalent in the black community,  and how we might possibly fix the situation.  Some of you will disagree.  That’s fine with me, tell me how you feel!

In the next few days, I will post:

*The Absence of Fathers
*Stop the Music!
*Condoms Don’t Work
*Abstinence Doesn’t Work Either
*The Up-High and Down-Low Effect
*Using Man-Sized Solutions for Jesus-sized Problems
*The Cure for AIDs.

On deck,  The Absence of Fathers…