First, an admission: Until last week, I had been barely paying attention to any news about Kanye West, his wife or any of the activities that seem to be quick fill for the entertainment columns. I saw that Kanye went to the White House, and with a gaggle full of press surrounding him, talked to President Trump about the this and that of the world.
Again, nothing more than what I considered “interesting noise”. Even my friends who talk about entertainment with me, who brought the subject of Kanye up, I would tell them “I ain’t following, and don’t care”.
Even last week, when Kanye’s album “Jesus is King” came out, I at first mused and literally said “meh”.
Then, on Saturday, I started paying attention. It came from a Tim Pool video of which he highlighted the album’s release and what Kanye was doing. What he said at least moved me from “meh” at least.
I figured at that point “okay, maybe something is up.” So I went to listen to the album (if Kanye thinks he is going to get rich off of it, guess again, it’s all over YouTube, in its full form, free to listen).
Then, after hearing it, I paid more attention to what he has been doing. I listened to a majority of a church service, called “Sunday Service” he held at a church in Atlanta, GA. For the majority of the time I was at home, I went through video’s and listened to what was happening.
Which leads me to what the title of this piece is. That is, what is this and what am I seeing here.
The idea of Christianity as something to follow has been going down for a number of years in this country. The churches, even the one I attend, has been seeing drops of membership as younger people eschew the ideas of going to “Sunday Meetin”. Churches themselves have found it hard to be relevant in communities.
That has relegated the churches in some cases to become just social service extensions to remain viable – provide meals on wheels or sing some old timey Christian songs at group homes.
But what I have seen so far is something that yanks the faith back from obscurity and into relevance. It’s being done not by producing a new way to tell the faith, but by tapping into what people want – a good feeling – and utilizing some of the zeitgeist and sounds of the times to relay that.
In other words, Christianity through Kanye is working to try to make the faith something that delivers the good feelings that the generations crave. They used to get it through “likes” in social media, where which would deliver a hit of dopamine. Now it seems the hits are getting harder to get, no matter how many thumbs up one gets on a social media post.
Will one man, Kanye West, move society on the issue of faith through all this? We will have to see and, as said in the news biz, the story is developing.