Watered down gospelHave you ever used water to dilute a certain beverage of choice, but ended up using so much water that you forgot what you were drinking? Well interestingly enough, that’s how one individual that I randomly happened to meet, felt about the state of the gospel, and how it’s being presented. I was asked “How do you feel about gospel songs that don’t mention Jesus, or Christ, or God?” My reply was something like this “Well, I think those songs are okay. Sometimes gospel artists try to use catchy hooks (even if it doesn’t mention God) or nice beats to draw in an audience that isn’t necessarily inclined to gospel music; but certain gospel songs will cause them to lend an ear (“Go ye into the world” right? Mark 16:15). For example, Mary Mary’s “Shackles”, or  BeBe and CeCe’s “Close to You.” My new acquaintance totally disagreed. “The gospel already contains everything that’s needed, in it. We don’t have to add anything for people to like it.” I stood corrected. Great point.  

Songs like “Stomp” (Kirk Franklin) and “God in Me” (Mary Mary) have all gotten backlash to a certain degree (especially from the Christian community), for not being Christian enough, the beat being too “hip hop-ish”, or for minimal reference to God and the message of Jesus Christ. The funny thing is, the body of Christ rejects it, while the “world” embraces it.  But isn’t that the whole point anyway? To sort of cross over or be cool enough for the “world” to accept? Pardon me; I have to choose my words wisely, for the world to embrace (much better). But then again, whose job is that anyway? Do we have to come up with our own formulas to grab their attention? Or does the Holy Spirit do that? And also, how much of the real message do we leave out?  How far do we stray away to convince others to accept its appeal? Is that a good thing? As long as we pull them in, yes?  So many questions and a plethora of perspectives. Some artists even prefer to label their music as “Inspirational”, rather than “Gospel”, for the sake of appealing to the masses (which is totally fine, just saying.). But even select hip hop and R&B songs can be “inspirational.”

I love and appreciate, all of the above songs that I mentioned. I love and appreciate the artists too.  Undoubtedly, those songs have their place. But truth be told, the gospel in and of itself is enough. Ultimately it’s up to the individual to either accept or reject it.