So this hip-hop star walks into our art gallery and he's like...

Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. (Malachi 4:5, 6)

(NOTE: helpful obscenities ahead) Almost always, an absent father, father-hunger, and hatred define The New Yorker profiles of the purveyors of our Godless culture. Here we have a profile of the hip-hop group, Odd Future, and its best rapper, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile (alias Earl Sweatshirt) who at the time of the song's release was sixteen years old. From The New Yorker's profile, "Earl Sweatshirt begins one track by sneaking some autobiography into...

his wordplay":

I'm

half-privileged, think white and have

        nigger lips. A

tad different: mad smart, act ignorant--

shit, I'll pass the class when my dad starts

       giving shits,

but as long as our relationship is turdless,

       I'm-a

keep burning rubber and fucking these

       beats with burnt dick.

Kgositsile's father, Keorapetse Kgositsile, is divorced from his mother and for many years has been living in his native South Africa. He was named South Africa's poet laureate in 2006 and is a regular at national art and culture events, there. The New Yorker reports "one of his best-known poems is 'Towards a Walk in the Sun' (which) is a gruesome, hallucinatory catalogue of racially charged horrors and insults, most of them phrased as accusations":

You who bleached the womb of your

            daughter's

mind to bear pale-brained freaks. You

            who bleached

your son's genitals so slobber in the slime

            of missionary-

eyed faggotry.

Like father, like son. Except that, actually, they don't like each other--either father or son. And so their raps have become hugely popular. Bursting on the scene through Vimeo back in 2010 when he was just sixteen, the son's video, "Early," has been viewed three million times, Thebe's group, Odd Future, has been puffed by Snoop Dogg on Twitter, they've had the cover story in Billboard in which Billboard said they "may just be the future of the music business," they've been on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," been written up in the Guardian, The New Yorker...

This is the world we live in. Fathers and missionaries are hated. Meanwhile we preach grace and faith without the Fall, depravity, or repentance. We're sipping latte in our city art galleries while all the man-boys of the city drive by blasting obscenties against their absent fathers.

If they had any reason to cross the doorsteps of our urban church plants, think about how they'd react to the effete snobbery of our missional art galleries. Art? They do art! They've got it down!

But somehow this isn't the sort of artist missional and Reformed ecclesiastical entrepreneurs hanker after.

Our nation is consumed with father-hatred and our missional strategy is art galleries, woman deacons, hobnobbing with N. T. Wright, and sending missionaries to Africa to give soccer balls to children, microfinance loans to women, and condoms to men.

We have lost faith in the power of the Holy Spirit sent to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. We must plead with God to restore that faith. Men are dying in their sinful alienation and hatred and obscenities while we know the Father from Whom all fatherhood gets its name.

(TB; quotes from "Onward and Upward with the Arts: Where's Earl?" by Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, May 23, 2011, pp. 58-67.)

Comments

Interesting take on OFWGKTA. I am actually working on a similar article. I am a Philosophy Major at a small liberal arts school in Franklin, TN-New College Franklin. At the beginning of first semester last year, we read both the Enuma Elish and Hesiod's Theogony. Both are creation stories, and both tell raging tales of patricide and father-son hate. There are similar themes in the Odyssey as well, only slightly inverted with Odysseus and Telemachus. All in all, I think it the the relationship or lack thereof between a father and son that will shape them into these men.

I enjoy some hip-hop, even some of Tyler the Creator, but we as Christians, even reformed Christians have no answer for them. These man-boys are doing nothing new, only screaming louder and more perverse language. The church still has no answer.

Love your thoughts.

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