Monday, March 23, 2015

A petition to ban Kanye West . . .

It's true.  Just about 125,000 people have signed an online petition to stop Kanye from appearing at the famous Glastonbury Festival in England (as of 3/23, but the figure is growing).  Glastonbury is a huge annual music festival in England.  A good size crowd of Brits found out that Kanye West was coming and they don't want him.  

The best part is why they don't want him.

Those signing the petition have included words like "egotistical, stupid, unthoughtful" and that he is "a disastrous musician."  Actually some of the words get more colorful than that, but that's not important.  Some have even added a jab that they would rather see Beck (the artist that Kanye bashed for beating Beyonce at this year's Grammys).  

What is most interesting is a word that keeps coming up in comments and in articles about Kanye.  It's not everywhere, but there is enough talk about him being immoral.  

It is interesting that we live in a world that has stripped itself of the stifling and irrelevant idea that there are religious morals - like if there were a God that He would care about how we live our lives.  But I can't help but see this word connected with Kanye West  - immoral.

What does this mean?

It means moralism isn't dead - it never died - it just changed form.  The church focused for so long on a personal relationship with God, stressing the idea of personal ethics and individual morals that we lost voice with a world that valued connection.   There was a time that morals were more about what we do behind closed doors.  There has been a significant shift.  Morals speak also to how we fit together - how we participate with the rest of humanity being just as important as our connection with God.  Morals are less about conforming to a list of ideas but rather bringing to life the person of Christ in our actions with each other.  The two are mutually dependent.  You can't love God without loving others.

People long for a God that gives them guidelines on how to connect with each other in love.

Kanye West is 'immoral' because he is loud, obnoxious and full of himself.  The narcissism it takes to compare yourself to Nelson Mandela is hard to stomach.  The insensitivity to those who serve in the military to compare yourself to a soldier violate the morals of a world community.  His immorality is evident in how he steps on others and apparently over a hundred thousand people have taken notice.  

Not everyone agrees, obviously.  Picking up on the talk about West's morals, Emily Eavis defended the concert promoters in The Guardian by saying: 

"I've seen people this week saying that Kanye shouldn't appear because, in their opinion, he's not a positive role model or because they think he's too self-assured. We book our acts by choosing the best and most challenging musicians on the planet – not by applying some kind of arbitrary morality test," 1

She missed the point.  125,000 signatures is not arbitrary and if she thinks this is about someone's personal moral choices she has no idea the kind of world we live in.  Morals matter because they are not personal.  Morals are more about us than me.

They are the same morals we find in scripture.  The Bible has always spoken to how we connect with each other.  Giving us advice on subjects like:

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4:2)

Haughtiness goes before destruction;
    humility precedes honor. (Proverbs 18:12)

Firing off at the mouth:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19)

Keep this in mind as you seek to live a different way in this world.  Morals still matter - especially when it comes to how we treat others.

And of course there is nothing wrong with letting your voice be heard - here is a link to the petition.  Be nice.



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