By now, I’m sure many of you have seen this really kind of astonishing “Christian Side Hug” video. If not, avail yourself, and my apologies:
As an attempt to appropriate the tropes of hip-hop to make a Christian point, this seems pretty much fail in terms of quality. The delivery’s choppy, and the rappers seem out of breath about half the time. There’s basically nothing, much less anything interesting, going on in the music. And the lyrics are just incredibly awkward. The chorus lines “I’m a rough rider / Filled up with Christ’s love” seem a pretty classic example of “I do not think it means what you think it means.” And asserting you know how Jesus hugged people is just dopey. It’s really too bad. Religiously-inflected and religiously-directed pop music doesn’t have to be this terrible.Exhibit A in that argument absolutely has to be Rich Mullins, the Christian pop singer who died in a Jeep accident in 1997. Mullins made music that was explicitly devotional, but that also sounded great and had tight lyrics. I’m not Christian, but “Hold Me Jesus” is a solid piece of pop songwriting no matter your religion:
It would be good for devout Christians to make better popular music. It’s just bad to get yourself dismissed on sheer ridiculousness: people actually have to engage with you when you make good art.