Let’s “chop it up.” Let’s put a weighty matter on the table and dissect it until we can digest it, digest it until we possess it, and possess it so that we reflect it. Who talks like this; who welcomes this kind of thinking or this kind of activity? Paul said that “the mature do,” they embrace the idea of straining and agonizing to take hold of maturity (Phil 3:15). Welcome to my new syndicated column “The Chop Chop” where we advocate unpacking meatier matters of faith and culture for the benefit of our souls.
This is only possible because God has provided everything we need to live a quality life of godliness (2 Pet 1:3). What could be worse than someone with abundant resources who produces little or nothing? It’s like the person with an in-home state-of the-art gym who never displays one ounce of fitness. Although they have everything needed to get results, they don’t produce. This could be said of the believer in Jesus Christ who has been granted the power of the indwelling Spirit, the Scriptures—which are able to make one wise—the community of faith— which provide support and accountability—an eternal inheritance that can’t be stolen, and the promise that the God of heaven and earth is for them—yet they never mature.
My forthcoming third album The Chop Chop, implores listeners to follow the exhortation of the writer to the Hebrews who encouraged wavering believers to combat their spiritual flightiness and flakiness by leaving the elementary teachings of Christ and going on to maturity (Heb 6:1). Similarly, “The Chop Chop” column is purposed to encourage and equip us to move from milk to meat, as we counter-culturally opt to tussle in the study and in the “prayer closet” as a sign of our commitment to know our God and be like Him.
Like Paul had a unique burden for his people, Israel, I have one for the urban context (especially the hip hop generation). As a student of culture, I have become convinced of the need for a paradigm shift. By watching the ebb and flow of hip hop history I have seen every coast, region, style, and vibe have its time to shine and lead the culture. I can remember when almost everyone in the hip hop community looked to New York City for their marching orders, today it is arguably Atlanta. Similarly, intellectual hip hop transitioned to “gangsta rap,” party rap, “crunk rap,” and now “clap and snap” rap. Complexity gave way to simplicity, and social conscience surrendered to sensual seduction.
As a missional Christian laboring in the urban mission field, I nearly salivate at the prospect of an increased appetite for theological weight approaching. I believe that many of us are being provoked to desire a more substantive era in music and art. Palates are maturing and hunger is developing for a more meaty diet of spiritual nutrition. Naturally, babies go from desiring a bottle, to what is on their parents’ plates, and I believe this is a spiritual reality as well. Therefore, I welcome you to “The Chop Chop,” where truth is broken down, rather than dumbed down, so that its nutrients can benefit our inner most being.
The phrase, “chop it up” or for short “chop chop” presupposes:
1. The need to “chop” itself is an admission that some things we need are too much for us until they are broken down. Peter admitted this about the writings of Paul which he referred to as the Scriptures in 2 Pet 3:16. Also, the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:30-31 wrestled with a passage from the book of Isaiah, before realizing his need for guidance in understanding the text. Likewise, we admit that what we need is sometimes too much for us based on where we are at that time.
2. The understanding that all Scripture is God’s word, and is profitable for holistically preparing us for every good work (1 Tim 3:16). Rather than avoiding what challenges us and making a b-line to the simple things, we must do what Acts 2:42 reveals the early Christians did—devote ourselves to what is being taught, and like Psalm 1 meditate on it, day and night.
In the title track “The Chop Chop,” the second verse opens up:
“lets get a cypha, I’m hyped because the Bible’s coming out/ I know you’re crunk but do you know the God you’re crunk about?”
Wouldn’t this encourage the hearts of parents, pastors, and peers alike? Rarely do you see the Scriptures as the center of the party and the after party. Usually, we are ready to close the book and get on with the “real” fun. In fact, I have been to countless churches where an unopened Bible was the norm. But, I have seen—and foresee—a shift taking place! The Scriptures are no longer something we “get out the way” but the foundation we build even our extra-curricular activities around. Can you imagine teens and young adults spending more time in libraries than in front of the Xboxes? What would happen in a world where we prefer God-honoring music to the “soft porn” of pop culture? I envision ruff-necks in a circle discussing our historic faith and its current relevance. I see men and women who want more than just a “shout” on Sunday, but extended time in the Scriptures chewing the meat, breaking down the bone to savor the marrow. Come with me and let’s intentionally grow from milk to meat.