Everyday Yana Jenay


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The Miseducation of Sir The Baptist:Heaven


So, I have a question...

How does a song with universalistic lyrics get played regularly on a gospel station? 

A year ago, Sir The Baptist released his debut album, Saint or Sinner. With each song, he pays homage to his churched upbringing with the sounds of an organ and a choir. One of the most popular singles on the album is a track called Heaven. And yo, this joint goes hard! When I first heard it, I put my whole stank face on and “milly rocked” it out in the car. Like, “Yeah, we going to heeeaaa-ven!” 

But, as I continued to listen, my stank face faded. I could no longer join in on Sir The Baptist’s jubilant chorus once I realized we had different views about heaven. 

In this song, Sir The Baptist creatively and, dare I say, masterfully asserts his universalistic theological position by listing off how some of our favorite artists and athletes who have passed away are currently enjoying heaven. Tupac. Aaliyah. Muhammed Ali. Whitney. Nate Dogg. Prince. The song then crescendos into this classic gospel hymn...

When all God’s children get to heaven, 
Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be…

Now, without critiquing Sir The Baptist’s view or trying to use our finite minds to determine whether or not this list of earthly greats made it to heaven or not, let’s get back to my original question...

How does a song with universalistic lyrics get played regularly on a gospel station? 

Sometimes before playing this song or other songs with a little bounce in them, the radio station reminds its listeners of its mission statement to "bridge the gap between the streets and the church.” As someone who has a great appreciation for crafty lyrics laid over a dope beat, I’m totally here for it.  

However, given the conflict of interest that lies at the intersection of this song and the gospel station's mission, I'm not here for it.

Universalism teaches that all roads lead to God.
 
The gospel teaches that one road leads to God. 
 
Universalism asserts that you are your own bridge to God.
 
The gospel asserts that Jesus is the bridge to God.
 
Sir The Baptist’s heaven is about entering into an utopia that he equates with a good high.
The gospel’s heaven is about entering into the presence of a holy and benevolent God who transcends the highest of pleasures that could be experienced in this life.

Sir The Baptist’s heaven and the gospel’s heaven don’t match. Beloved, this isn’t our story. This isn’t our song. A song that carries a gospel sound with gospel-ish words, but doesn’t carry the gospel message, isn’t a gospel song. 

As more and more artists take on the sound and language of gospel music, it’s imperative that we listen well to identify the counterfeits.  

Because unfortunately, in failing to do this and continuously playing this song, this gospel station not only misses the mark of its mission to “bridge the gap between the streets and the church”, but it also makes the bridge into the family of God (aka Jesus) harder to find.