Quite a few years back, my old band played a concert with a rapper by the name of Othello. To that day, he had been the only rapper I had ever heard who was also an incredible singer. Then along came Mat Kearney. And now I can add another to the list.
His name is B.Reith and he by far as the smoothest voice in rap music I have ever heard. And because of that, he’s not constrained to just rap. I’ve been playing his latest album on repeat all day as I drove 94 back and forth, each time paying more and more attention to his lyrics. This verse caught my attention:
To the billions of people who are mad at God
Because most churches haven’t done their job
And hurt you badly
Yes it’s a tragedy—you lookin’ at a casualty
See I’ve judged instead of loved
You have every right to be mad at me
But please forgive us as we try to fix this
But this time not because of selfish ambition
This time because of Jesus who lives within us
See we are not religious, we are just redeemed sinners
And He offers peace in the midst of affliction
And He is deliverance from the deepest addiction
Though He may be hidden from your plain sight vision
Just look beneath the surface and you cannot miss Him
As far as all our problems go I know I can’t fix ’em
Just by singing a song, so much has gone wrong
Don’t change don’t come easy, together we can be strong
I was hoping that we could all start by singing along
As a long time Christian this verse really resonated with me. I’ve been hurt by the church. I’ve also judged instead of loved and been the one who hurt others. I’ve seen truth behind the statement Tony Campolo made in the documentary, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers:
It’s a quote from Saint Augustine—it’s a good quote. He said “the church is a whore, and she’s my mother.” What a great balance. Are you talking about unfaithfulness? You’re talking about the church. Unfaithful bride of Christ. Failing to live up to it’s marriage vows to the Lord. It’s a whore. But she’s also my mother. I wouldn’t be a Christian today and I wouldn’t know about Jesus and I wouldn’t have the Bible if it wasn’t for this thing called the Church. It has carried this thing called the truth for all of it’s flaws; for all of it’s shortcomings; for all of it’s weaknesses; for all of it’s whoring—it has still been that which has kept alive the gospel story down through the ages.
Yes, I’ve seen the “whoring” of the church. I’ve even been a part of that “whoring.” But I’ve also seen the beauty of the church and have longed to show others how gorgeous it is. It’s part of the reason I’m a pastor. And I believe the people at our church are determined to show you what the church can be. And if we succeed, you’ll hear about the way we love.
As a new fan, I want to push you to go buy B.Reith’s new album on iTunes or Amazon. It’s some of the freshest stuff I’ve heard in quite awhile. And as a musician myself, I’m fully aware of the struggle of artists who are dying to create something different for a world that listens to mainstream radio. B.Reith, if you’re somehow reading this: you rock.