In recent weeks a video has surfaced, and to date is approaching 2 million views, on the popular YouTube.com site, in which a “Christian minister” does a rap song ostensibly to “reach the youth” of his community, Dubuque, Iowa, for Jesus Christ.
Amidst the outrage the spectacle has stirred, over “Pastor” Jim Colerick and his wife’s refrains of “Jesus Christ is my ni**a,” another narrative has begun to emerge.
Upon closer examination of the production it appears that there is chicanery afoot. A stamp on “Rappin’…” claims it originated from the West Dubuque 2nd Church of Christ in Iowa. However, as Jeff Schapiro a writer for the Christian Post reports:
“A link to the church’s website appears at the end... Although the news page on the site says the church shut down in 2004, a Whois search on DomainTools.com reveals that the domain name for the site was just created on Jan. 15 of this year.”
Equally suspicious is the fact that Brian Spinney, the person who uploaded the piece to YouTube, claiming in the description that he helped his “pastor” make the video while he was in high school, is now selling downloads on another site for a dollar a pop.
Regardless of the origins and authenticity, perhaps the more pertinent issue is the content and its propriety. To many Christians, applying a term such as “ni**a” to Christ the Lord is reprehensible; to some others, apparently not so much.
Opinions solicited by this Examiner have varied:
(Michael - Leader of a music program at a church near San Antonio Texas)
I love it! It’s obviously a spoof and a setup but if this is what a small town church has to do to get some attention in the community then more power to ’em.
(Rachel – Former member of a Delaware praise and worship group)
My first thoughts were that it was funny. But then I quickly got disgusted because they confirm just what a lot of other people think of Christians – that we are LOONEY! I have a sense of humor but I am ashamed to be associated with people like this.
(Karen – Former member of a Delaware praise and worship group, aspiring Christian music starlet)
Oh wow. It got me the first time they said ‘ni**er’ and then kept saying it. I don’t know how that is supposed to minister to anyone in a serious way and how someone of the lifestyle they are ‘trying to reach’ would be open to what they are saying. It distorts the truth and waters down the truth. It gives me a sense of ‘religion’ and not relationship with Christ. It seems almost condescending and judgmental… Crazy!
Examiner considered the opinions of Michael, Rachel, and Karen, all 20-something Christians involved in ministry in various capacities, to be particularly germane as the music style involved is geared toward their generation.
Of course at the time these sentiments were offered, neither this Examiner, nor the trio, were aware that there was no actual West Dubuque 2nd Church of Christ in Iowa or that the endeavor was a scam by the proprietor to make a quick buck.
Following up on his DomainTools.com research, the Christian Post’s Shapiro also queried Mr. Christopher English, pastor of an actual church, GracePoint Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Dubuque, and was told that he [English] has never heard of West Dubuque 2nd Church of Christ or its pastor.
English added in an email to Shapiro that:
“…the video is offensive regardless of whether or not it was really created for a church youth program.”
Perhaps a less conspicuous point that observers might overlook is Colerick’s declaration: “If you wanna reach those kids on the street, then you gotta do a rap to a hip-hop beat.”
Christ himself took a very different position on that subject. In the Gospel of John (12:32) he says:
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
Of course the context of this was to indicate the manner in which he [Jesus] would die. (John 12:33) But the broader principle, without doing violence to the Scripture, is that exulting Christ, preaching about his life, his ministry, his love, salvation, i.e. redemption to the Almighty, exclusively in and through him, is what draws people to God, not jejune attempts at cultural relevance like the one made by the “Rappin…’” video.
It can be argued both ways until one is blue in the face, whether or not such a video has any merit at all. But it is utterly nonsensical to believe that “…Jesus Christ is my ni**a” in any way, shape, or form is an exultation of the one Christians refer to as “the Lord of Glory.”