Has Kanye Lost His Jesus Complex and Found Christ?

If you find it challenging to sort out the spiritual impulses of Kanye West, a recent story by Kate Shellnutt for Christianity Today may be of interest.

Perhaps you have heard about West taking his “Sunday Service,” a religious weekly hangout for celebrity friends and family, to the Coachella music festival on Easter Sunday. Or you may have read the recent Forbes cover profile about West’s creative process and his upstart Yeezy shoe dynasty.

“I’ll be working on home designs and looking at references from three thousand years ago and reading the Old Testament at the same time,” West said in a video interview with Forbes. “It’s like a soundtrack to the visuals and the shapes and ideas and ideals of what we are creating. A lot of my creative friends, I tell them the Bible is better than Pinterest. You can bring something into space and time we exist in, while reflecting thousands of years of truth.”

Seemingly to illustrate his point, West is shown reading Scripture (Leviticus 19:19) from his cell phone: “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.” West tells the reporter that he reminds his apparel team that it creates from single-material and does not mix cloths. With a mischievous grin, West confesses that he wrote a “really rude” email to a former manager that every time the man wore a wool jacket with leather sleeves he “set culture back by 10 years.”

Admittedly, it is difficult to illustrate and link Old Testament inspiration to sneaker designs. Nevertheless, there should be no question that certain artisans were definitely skilled with divine talent and style. For example, Bezalel is just one example of an Old Testament character who was described as filled with the Spirit of God and “with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs … and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship” so that the tabernacle would be a spectacular work of art (Exodus 31).

The skills of artistic design, craftsmanship, rhythm, and style are still distributed and utilized. This is simply the way that some people are simply wired. They might be involved in drama, cartooning, architecture, landscaping, painting, sculpting, recording, editing, writing, photography, filmmaking – or shoe design.

Shellnutt’s article provides an unconventional set of observers and commentators to interpret the West story.

Whitney Bauck, Fashionista.com

“It’s gratifying to see a cultural giant like [Kayne West] create things out of a place of respectful conversation with the Bible,” faith-and-fashion writer Whitney Bauck, an editor at Fashionista.com, told Christianity Today. “Though West has done plenty of subverting Christian motifs throughout his career – i.e. posing as Jesus for a Rolling Stone cover and describing himself as a god – his attitude toward Leviticus here seems to be one of genuine delight and respect.”

At the same time, Bauck has questions: “How does Kanye decide which parts of the Bible to bring to bear on his work? Here he’s zeroing in on an Old Testament verse that the majority of Christians treat as a mandate intended for a specific time and people group that’s no longer applicable today,” Bauck said. “It’s not totally clear … whether Kanye’s using the verse merely as an inspirational jumping-off point to help him approach design differently, or whether he believes that’s what the God of the Bible still wants and asks of God-followers.”

The CT story also loops in gospel music legend Kirk Franklin – a long time friend of West. “People are on their journey, and when they fall, we need to hold them accountable, but let’s hold them accountable [by] loving them back to health,” Franklin told Beats 1 Radio back in May.

To read Kate Shellnutt’s entire report, click HERE.

 

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