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Question: I thought I had read somewhere on your site that hip-hop was not a good form of dance. Sadly, our church will have youth doing a form of this in their Christmas Festival Concert. Do you know of any articles that would help me in conveying my concerns about his form of dance in our church?
Answer: No, I don't know of any article, but I will try to summarize the problem. (This was written some years ago)
Hip-hop has found a welcome in many of today's "seeker churches." Marketing Christianity to the unbelievers ("consumers") in the local community, they try to demonstrate their willingness to adapt the world's popular entertainment to their "Christian" worship. In the end, this attempt to appear "tolerant" and "open-minded" -- ready to set aside the old Biblical boundaries that offend the world -- tends to backfire. It causes the church itself to conform to the corrupting values God told us to shun. See The Church Walking with the World and The Global Church
Those who see nothing wrong with today's hip-hop phenomenon might do a quick Internet search using any search engine. They would find that hip-hop comes complete with its own culture -- including sensual fashions, language, dance and values as well as sounds. If they need more proof, listen -- but just for a moment -- to the throbbing beat and glaring profanities on some of the websites. Or just settle for a less offensive page: http://www.hip-hop.com
This Hip-Hop Poem -- rapped to the throbbing drum beat -- describes the physical sensation produced by the seductive blend of drums, dance and verbal imagery:
"Dark, smooth, sensual Pouring over my tongue like ocean waves on sandy shores Breathing in my ears with the BOOM-POUND of a heartbeat The excitement.. it's hard to fight it... My pulse is like a riot About to be sparked by one burning fire... It's like cherry scented candles dripping wax on bare backs when the rhythm attracts highly emotional acts Exquisite oral.. aural.. oral ecstasy...."
Churches that import the hip-hop culture usually replace the vulgar language with Christian sentiments -- a deceptive way of profaning the God they claim to worship. They ignore or forget that God called His people to separation from the enticing thrills that manipulate emotions and undermine His values. See also Popular Music with Pagan Roots
Take a look at three examples:
Come Join Us For A Life Changing Learning Experience: "Kelly Brown: A staff member of the Christian Dance Center and teacher of Hip Hop and Jazz. She is the leader of "The God Squad", the Jr. High ministry team of HCI."
Moved by the spirit: "Dance. In some places of worship, it's becoming as routine as the sermon and the offering. 'We want to encourage young people throughout the city to experience dance in a religious setting,' said Paula Egins, director of the Praise Dance Ministry at St. Mary's Road United Methodist Church....'I think it's becoming more prevalent in churches partly because of videos. We're more visual people.'
"The main guest presenter, Patdro Harris of Atlanta, taught children as well as adults. About 40 people attended the three-day workshop, featuring everything from ballet to flags and streamers to hip-hop featuring a song by CeCe Winans called 'Somebody Wanna Pray With Me.' ...
"Most people don't have an icon for dance being holy. They don't know how being funky or groovy can reveal the Spirit. God made me funky - it wasn't my choice," said Harris.
"People feel connected with a higher spirit or God through dance.... People can see another side to the beauty of spirituality,' said Jahmal Adderley."
Stanford students earn credit for studying hip-hop lingo "(AP - Sacramento Bee, 10-26-01) "Stanford students are bringing hip-hop's tongue-twisting rhymes into the classroom as part of a linguistics course on the street culture art. While fellow students wrestle with Shakespeare and Melville, 31 classmates in 'The Language of Hip-Hop Culture' study the lyrics of rappers Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs and Killarmy while the sounds of Mos Def play in low volume on a boom box in the corner.
"Course instructor H. Samy Alim, editor of Stanford's Black Arts Quarterly, says hip-hop studies explores an important cultural influence. 'Hip-hop is the next chapter of African-American folklore,' Alim said. 'Street cred is huge, it's No. 1. Now we're developing academic credibility as well.'
[For a language that teems with vicious and violent sexual and racial suggestions?] Psalm 12:8
"The course focuses on connections between language, youth culture, ideology, and identity.... [profanity deleted]. Hip-hop study has become a focus at several top college campuses. The University of California, Berkeley offers a class on the poetry and history of Tupac Shakur and Harvard University will establish a hip-hop archive next year."
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