Virtually There

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kirk Franklin's Newest CD "Hero"

You know? I like Kirk Franklin. I bought his newest CD and there is a song, entitled, “Imagine Me,” a song about what Christian theology has normally thought of as “sanctification.”

Now I don’t mean for this blog to be blog that is entirely critical of this song as I’m sure when Kirk Franklin was writing the lyrics, he was not opening up systematic theology books to gage the extent of the theological correctness of that which he writes about. As a matter of fact, I think it would take away from the artistry and creativity of where he starts when he writes and much of what this album is about—his own life experiences—as is the case with much of what I term “black gaaaaaspel music.”

So Kirk Franklin is following tradition here. Like many of the spirituals written under chattel slavery, Franklin writes from the heart about life, pain, and hope for a brighter tomorrow. What else do we have to rely on when the dark nights of the soul smash down on us like tsunami? This, as a matter of fact, is what the Old Testament biblical authors called the children of Israel to do when they were in Egypt or when other nations attacked them and overtook them—to remember. Remember the promises of God.

But this is also where Franklin’s song may be at its weakest as well. When God calls us to remember, it is not merely to remember OURSELVES, but to remember what God has in store for ALL of creation. By this, I don’t simply mean our own psychological selves--- being freed from sins, passions and dispositions towards sin. What I mean would include, the larger vision of the church—what Brueggemann has called the “finished church.”

Brueggemann, in his book,

“Texts Under Negotiation”

says that,

“…the church is only an anticipation of the full, promised community of the whole world. It ill becomes the church to announce its own expected completion, because the church itself is not the goal of God’s creation.”

But it isn't only this as well. One day, the whole of creation will no longer be bound by what Brueggeman calls,

“fixed patterns of domination, no longer caught in the endless destructive power struggles…a world no longer bent on hostility but under God’s presence as a place where creatures “no longer hurt or destroy.”

The text for this is not somewhere to be found in Revelation (in completion and consummation) but is found in Gen 9: 8:17. God rethinks and recares for the world (cosmos) and the rainbow servers to remind God of his promises.

Again, it probably was not Franklin’s desire to get into some full-fledged theology of renewal. None-the-less, though I personally think he is on target, his vision is limited.



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