Episode: Kanye West's Long, Complicated Relationship with Christianity

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Kanye West's Long, Complicated Relationship with Christianity

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.

Rapper Kanye West is one of the biggest pop culture personalities of our time. His critically-acclaimed and chart-topping music, premium fashion line, controversial public persona, blunt political opinions and his marriage to Kim Kardashian West keep the Chicago hip-hop artist consistently in the news.

Last week, West finally released his much-teased and highly anticipated album “Jesus Is King.” In much the same fashion as anything West does, the reaction to an album full of gospel music and theological lyrics has been enormous and polarizing.

Some Christians see Kanye's life as just the highs and lows of an extreme and public display of what it looks like to walk with God over the course of a life. Others may see his conversion as more of a linear event that culminated sometime in the past year, which included this album and also the beginning of his hosting pop-up Christian services around the country.

How you understand Kanye’s conversion probably depends on the spiritual tradition someone comes from says Femi Olutade, one of the hosts for the hit music podcast, Dissect.

“If you come from more of a classical evangelical background, there's a lot of focus that's on kind of conversion stories and this kind of momentary ‘born again,’ born from above kind of experience, where everything changes,” said Olutade. “You have this overwhelming sense of emotion or thought that is just radically different before and after.”But not all Christians have the same understanding of conversion.

"I would say that in the largest span of understanding Christian faith and life, [conversion] is one moment over a much larger period of what it means to follow God,” said Olutade. “...And I think it's something that's a constant struggle, that takes constant repentance, constant forgiveness, constant tears, and constant working through.”

Olutade joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and Wes Jakacki to discuss Kanye’s long relationship with Christianity and what is and isn’t different in 2019.

This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Christianbook.com. Over five hundred thousand Christian products to choose from, all in one place, and always from people who share your values. Christianbook.com.

This episode is also brought to you by the Wheaton College Graduate School. Respected and represented the world over, the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Wheaton College Graduate School will inspire, challenge, and equip you to be a servant scholar for Christ and His Kingdom. Learn more at wheaton.edu/QTL

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Find our guest, Femi Olutade on Twitter, on his podcast, Dissect, and on Medium.

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Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder

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