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Kanye West, Sunday Service, and the Pursuit of Faith

Since earlier this year, Kanye West has created and hosted gatherings on Sundays which he’s dubbed “Sunday Service.” These gatherings have drawn heavy crowds wherever they’ve been held, and have consistently caused a variety of responses, ranging from curiosity to outright skepticism and mockery. For me, I didn’t really pay much attention to these “services” until a few weeks ago when footage and conversations on social media greatly increased.

At first these services consisted of a list of songs that were sung by a large choir as they turned the songs— many of them secular, into gospel-sounding productions. In an article by Fader, Kanye is quoted from Netflix’s My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, where he states, “It’s just an idea we had to open up our hearts to make music that we felt was as pure and as positive as possible and just do it for an hour every Sunday, and have something where people can just come together and feel good with their families.” It started as an exclusive event that was invite-only, and has since exploded with the invites open to the public, as crowds have swelled immensely.

This kind of attention and the intense discussions that surround Kanye and the Sunday Service comes on the heels of Kanye’s highly-anticipated record that will soon be released, Jesus is King. With the amount of commentary flooding the culture now, I know that this may seem like another drip into the streams of running water, but I do have a few thoughts that I’d like to share:

  1. Kanye’s life has contained Christian influence for a long time: From Kanye’s “Jesus Walks” to G.O.O.D. Music signee Chance the Rapper’s faith conversations and Christian concepts in his music, Kanye has been surrounded or has expressed Christian themes, concepts, and thoughts throughout his lifetime. He has also personally spoken of his religious beliefs and has even declared that he’s “..a vessel, and God has chosen me to be the voice and the connector” in an interview with Fader
  2. For a long time, we have witnessed the sharp and jarring evolutions of Kanye’s reflections and musings publicly: From Yeezus, to sharing “dragon energy” with Trump, who’s his best friend, to feeling used by conservatives which led to a break from politics, Kanye has truly jumped from multiple ends of the spectrum in a way that can make it difficult to know where he will ultimately land.
  3. These sharp changes in Kanye’s perspective have always drawn fans to his cause: When Kanye proclaimed slavery was a choice and expressed his transformed political views and was subsequently canceled, he found a new group of supporters who celebrated his “rebellion from the liberal Hollywood and political machine.” Since then, it kind of appears as if many forgot that he was canceled before, and decided that there’s grace for him. Some still haven’t welcomed him back, but as we can see, Kanye is still able to draw a crowd.

My aim is not to determine what I believe Kanye is actually up to, because I cannot determine a person’s motives by their actions. I also am not at a place where all of my thoughts about Kanye are fully realized, and that’s okay if this is you, too. But what I do believe we must keep in mind is that true fruit will always last. The church in America, a celebrity’s profession of faith, and the confusing relationships these realities have, has always been a struggle for us Christians in America to wrestle through, and my heart’s desire is that Kanye will not be propped up and used as a form of validation for us.

It takes time to truly work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, and with the shifts that Kanye has experienced through the years, I truly pray for sober minds to prevail and be around him so that we will see Christ magnified in Kanye’s life. Wherever he stands with Christ, my prayer is that he knows Christ is Lord and will bear the fruit of that profession. At the very least, we can say there’s something that is happening; may we walk wisely as we observe and see the process through. What are your thoughts about what’s taken place this year with Kanye? Would love to hear your thoughts below.

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About Lamar Gibbs

Lamar Gibbs is a writer and content creator from Queens, New York. He’s been published on multiple platforms (Jam The Hype, Wade-O Radio, Culture & God, etc.) He's currently building on a vision God placed on his heart called Thoughts Of Redemption—a blog with the purpose of celebrating the process of thought and God's hand in it—"Change your thinking because He changed your life".

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