Catching up with Kanye West’s newfound Christianity, his Jesus the King album and long Apple interview, I’m trying to understand what is happening, spiritually. He doesn’t watch porn anymore? That sounds about right for a 42-year-old man.
He doesn’t want co-workers to swear, or have premarital sex. He asks them to fast. He’s restricting sexual displays of his children and wife.
Jesus did not speak of any of these subjects.
Kanye wants to design clothes that adhere to the laws in Leviticus. Does he know? Those rules come with death penalties.
What path is Kanye on? He can seem like a man hitting middle age, feeling jealousy that seems to intensify into paranoia. “As a God-fearing, married Christian innovator billionaire founder, no one’s gonna take my opinion away from me.”
Proclaiming himself the greatest artist of all time, he now is intent on re-designing the conditions of human life, on his way to rulership—becoming president, etc. His Christianity seems to affirm his ego and social status on the way to becoming the leader of a re-designed, color-corrected world.
Accessing the stylistic cues of black Protestant tradition in America, he seems imaginatively to be Catholic. He calls Rome the “Silicon Valley” of spirituality.
He says he “suffers” when checking in with social media, and this reminds him of the suffering of Jesus. That is . . . kooky.
He says the imagery of female sexuality in social media makes him suffer even more. “I’m sure that’s there are other married men that suffer in a similar way that are happy to hear me say, ‘I am suffering.’”
When spirituality is founded on control of women, it’s not Jesus.
He likes to call himself a “founder,” a converted Christian ex-King Nebuchadnezzar who was a “god” to his culture, and now serves as a special link to the God of the cosmos?
I’ll buy some other brand of shoes, I think.
There can seem to be a real spiritual project happening? He talks about not having rivalries. That is powerful.
He talks about telepathy (“I’m actually reading Larry’s mind”)—being able to access the thoughts of men he’s close to.
That is a profound spiritual project to be working on. When humans are close we do seem to have some kind of psychic abilities, to read each other, at least, on much more subtle levels. Men have not usually done that.
I can see why a Kanye who opens to those levels might start to feel jittery, and strange. It would be straight men catching up to gay men.
I’d love to see everyone escaping slavery, physical, mental and spiritual, “Christian innovation” and gatherings without sermons?
Everything else? No.
He cites his marriage as a “God-bond.” I’m sure his wife is a truly magical presence, but there is no biblical idea of the human wife being a special theological situation.
The teaching is not that one’s personal family is sacred, but that all humans are family—the Family of God.
I’m concerned the weakening of Evangelicalism might leave a vacuum of power in which new wannabe leaders might find prominence.
There’s a real Jesus message in there somewhere?
But there’s a lot more, that isn’t great.
Christianity has, previously to this, offered to popular recording artists the illusion of being new prophets or special humans.
There was Bob Dylan, but my favorite is Dion, whose gospel record includes classics like “Make the Woman Love Me” . . . an instruction to God to “make the woman see I’d be so good for her, Lord.”
But it’s the great narrative of rock music, as in the classic 1962 film The World’s Greatest Sinner, about a man who starts out an insurance agent, turns rockabilly performer, and seeks to become a dictator.
We’ve had enough of that, thank you.