As a believer whose faith was greatly impacted by Lecrae's music and Reach Records artists, this book was a much needed read. I was first introduced to Lecrae's music during a summer long church internship. While participating in this internship, I wasn't allowed to wear ripped jeans, watch R rated movies, or listen to "secular music". This was my first introduction to the idea that some songs are inherently holy and others are not. I couldn't stand the constant worship music, but thankfully someone introduced me to "Christian rap". My life changed from that moment on, because I fell in love with the new genre of music, known as Christian Hip Hop. I would spend 3 years after that listening to only CHH music, I didn't even allow people to listen to secular music while in my car (It was that serious). Over the years, exposure stripped away that rule based way of thinking, but I struggled with guilt. How could I allow myself to listen to secular music that didn't uplift my spirit but glorified sex, drugs and material things? This book gave me clarity on the topic, and introduced me to the idea of having a Christian world view.
The term secular is defined as an attitude, activity or thing that has no religious or spiritual basis. But there is nothing on the planet that God isn't ruling over. Everything a believer touches and uses in a way that honors God is, in a sense, no longer secular. We all bring our secred calling into a world that God created and called "good" and that has been tainted by sin, but where God wants to use us to impact for His glory. - Pg. 193
Lecrae starts off the book telling us a story of his experience around world famous artists like Jay Z, Rihanna, Kanye and Niki Minaj. He touches on what it feels like to be an outsider in the midst of the the in crowd. He goes on to give us a detailed recap of his life growing up with a single mom in a low income environment. He struggled with the pain and void left behind by his fathers absence. He also suffered sexual abuse from a babysitter, physical abuse from his mom's boyfriend and it all lead him to live an angry, reckless and promiscuous lifestyle. I loved his honesty because revealing the truth about his journey to becoming a Christian is important, so that his fans to see that no one is perfect and we are all a product of God's grace. It was refreshing to read the realness of his shortcoming and mistakes because I could relate to him more and remove him of off the CHH pedestal.
At a conference in Atlanta young Lecrae gave his life to Christ, but that spiritual high didn't last long, and he was back to his old self in a few months. His attempt at being a Christian was based on religiousness. He even threw away his precious rap collection in an effort to prove how righteous he was (just like I gave up 'secular' music). Years later, he went on a downward spiral and landed at rock bottom partly due the guilt of aborting his unborn child.
His life turned around after he checked in and out of rehab, then he rededicated himself to Christ. But like most young believers, he was fixated on following the rules, forcefully evangelizing and earning his salvation by going on missions trips. This was evident in his music because he admitted to preaching at people through his songs. His early songs appealed to only church audiences because of its explicit Christian content that focused on convicting people and encouraging them do better. He won pastors approval because he added quotes by great thinkers like John piper, John Wesley, C.S Lewis and Martin Luther King Jr. His popularity grew among the Christian community, but one day he was introduced to the idea of having a Christian worldview, instead of seeing everything with bifocals.
Following Jesus doesn't just save us from a less fulfilling life or eternal separation from God. It also saves us to a life that can radically transform the world around us through the power of God. - Pearcy
"Having a Christian worldview means being utterly convinced that biblical principles are not only true but also work better in the grit and grime of the real word" - Nancy Pearcy
Lecrae talks about the difference between consuming culture and creating culture. He then gives us a timeline of how this change in his perspective influenced his music. The change in his approach to music hit the CHH community hard because he was instantly shunned, accused of joining the illuminati and of course accused of no longer being a Christian. Lecrae is more interested in touching the lives of those outside of the church, people like him, who are outsiders and whose lives are not so clean or simple.
I highly recommend reading this book if you are curious about what it means to be a believer in a fallen world. We are called to be salt and light in the world, not to lock ourselves in our Christian bubbles and ignore the world around us.