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Trap Music

Standing in line paying for a prayer and a prophecy

Hoping that the preacher speaks life in me

10 people 30 dollars, could I be in the lucky 10?

If I paid the 30 dollars would it wash away my sin?

But later I began to wonder if I didn’t have a dollar to give

Would the church still believe that I had a right to live?

I got trapped in the moment and didn’t realize

That things that made weak- made me stronger in disguise

-Ebony King

After listening to Tasha Cobbs’ song “I’m going to be ready” I couldn’t understand what was truly bothering me. Was it the fact that she had a secular artist on a gospel song? No. I think a lot of gospel artist are just a few bars away from being secular anyway. Was is it Nicki Minaj? Kinda.

It’s no secret of what kind of lifestyle Nicki promotes and this song suggests that her “blessed” lifestyle is in direct correlation of God’s blessing. When you take a song like this and combine it with scripture it can be very dangerous. It’s like a murderer getting acquitted and calling it overflow or a drug dealer coming up in the world and saying that he’s blessed. All things in perspective, it suggests that if we advance or prosper even if through corruption or immoral behavior that we are under the blessings of God. It’s almost like we’re saying that God is an advocate of that lifestyle. The blessing however, is that God continues to extend grace and mercy in our life of sin. Not in that we continue to prosper in our sinful living. There’s a difference.

Therefore, what truly bothered me was that the church continues to promote this misconstrued idea of blessing. It is this “name it, claim it” idea of blessing that continues to mislead people.

I went to several churches growing up. Those churches were usually in impoverished neighborhoods. Thinking back on that I now realize why the messages were always centered around financial blessings. The church was holding a dream in front of members while never teaching them how to obtain the dream. Sunday after Sunday people would rush to hear a word that encouraged them that someday their “blessing” would come.

Early in my faith I grew up as some would define as “poor”. When I went to church the Pastor continued to remind me of how UNBLESSED we were because we were broke. So as I got older I always wanted more. Even though I was successful it seemed like the “church” was suggesting that I was still poor. Then Monday-Saturday the world was reminding that I didn’t have enough. I was beginning to have a hard time separating the messages. While the world was constantly saying, I wasn’t enough it was also suggesting that if I sacrificed my morals I would eventually be enough. The church was telling me I would eventually be enough if I just “named it and claimed it”. What the church should have said to me is that while I am not enough, God is more than enough, that in my lack God would provide the increase, that in my weakness His power is made stronger, and THAT IN FACT IS THE BLESSING.

In this song, Tasha continuously references the scripture eyes have not seen nor ears have heard the blessings that are about to come… Isaiah 64:4 and 1 Corinthians 2:9…this scripture is used partially out of context. In fact, this scripture is used out of context in the church frequently. This scripture is actually stating that we cannot imagine all that God has in store for us both in this life and the life to come (eternal life). God will create a new earth and a new heaven. Tasha continues to state that God is doing a new thing, which is correct. But what is the new thing? Nicki is a mainstream artist who clearly promotes secular things…and those things sell. Thus, her mansion etc. is nothing new for those who live her lifestyle or anyone who works hard.

As a minister, I know that it is a truly a struggle to fish in 2017. This world is changing daily right before our eyes and there’s a strong temptation to conform for the sake of remaining relevant, but in this desire to be relevant Christian artists and ministers are losing their authenticity. It’s like an identity crisis happening in Christianity. And this identity crisis is promoting unsound doctrine. Yes, we must be intentional about going outside the box for the sake of saving lives. However, there is a way to be relevant while not manipulating the message.

Truth is, songs like this evoke the same emotional pull as mainstream music. I call it TRAP MUSIC because you get trapped in an emotion that may or not be based on anything substantial. Yet, it creates a vibe. Have you ever listened to a terrible rap song but the beat and hook is enough to keep you engaged? It even has you promoting things you don’t subscribe to? Well this song and others like it, is the Christian version of that. I listen to most types of music so I am not denouncing secular music. Some may even call me the freestyle queen. I believe everyone has the right to worship God whether mainstream, pop, rock, or hip hop. I am simply stating that Gospel music should be done in alignment with the Gospel.

Most people want to be successful. Which is why songs and messages like this are appealing. I mean who doesn’t want overflow? Who wouldn’t enjoy a beach house or a jet ski? However, it’s this same emotional pull that has moved me down the aisle to pay the pastor for a “prophecy” and a “blessing”. It’s this same emotional movement that lead me to think that a prophecy would remove the need for me to work and walk in obedience to the voice of God. It’s this very emotional pull that sends thousands of people to the altar every Sunday like fiends desperate for a hit. It’s a very temporary high that doesn’t last any longer than the song itself. So, before you get trapped in the moment or the pursuit of your blessing let me remind you of what “blessed” is. You may find that you already have exactly what you’re searching for.

You’re Blessed (Matthew 5:1-12)MSG

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

To be clear, as a believer you should work hard and experience success. We should be committed to operating with a standard of excellence and it should be of no surprise when we reap what we sow. The blessing…OMG, the blessing is when God empowers us to overcome adversity! It's when He gives us peace during a storm. It's when He alleviates our worries. That is a BLESSING. All the other stuff is a given and the world can’t give you what you already have. My dearest sisters and brothers don't get caught in the trap. Lastly, I leave you with this...

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)

SN: Don’t judge me if you hear me singing the song. I’ve listened to it several times to process my thoughts. Hey…what can I say? It’s catchy. Hopefully it will ultimately bring listeners to an awareness of her other songs which are amazing.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)