I attended my beautiful cousin's wedding a few weeks ago where the pastor joked that he was going to do something unorthodox and not to report him to anyone. (Yes, I groaned at that point.) Anyway, he proceeded to rewrite King David's 23rd Psalm from first person singular to first person plural! Isn't that so cute and meaningful? Wow, the psalm just sat there and did nothing before this Denver pastor rewrote it. Anyway, apparently there is something about that passage from Scripture that just invites people to mutilate it. Lilit Marcus and Patton Dodd write about new hip-hop masses for Newsweek. They show how the Rev. Timothy "Poppa T." Holder rewrote the 23rd Psalm:
The Lord is all that, I need for nothing. / He allows me to chill. /He keeps me from being heated /and allows me to breathe easy. /He guides my life so that I can /represent and give shout outs in His name. / And even though I walk through the hood of death, /I don't back down, for You have my back. / The fact that He has me /covered allows me to chill. / He provides me with back-up/In front of player-haters, / and I know that I am a baller and life will be phat. / I fall back in the Lord's crib for the rest of my life.
So true. I AM a baller! Anyway, even with a generous reading of the Psalm, I'm struggling to see where that "represent" portion makes an effective hip-hop translation of the great psalm.
I am reading a lot of this Beliefwatch portion of Newsweek, and I commend a mainstream publication for trying to amp up its religious coverage. I do wish that they would permit their writers a bit more space to flesh out their stories.
For instance, this story takes the angle that hip-hop services attract youth, but does not cite anything objective to support it.
My own work with youth makes me highly doubtful that a hip-hop service would be more attractive to youth than a hip-hop concert. I love rap and hip-hop and I'm absolutely certain that I would not trust some priest to rock the mic better than Jean Grae. I would, however, trust a priest to rock the liturgy better than Jean Grae.
Jean Grae pic from Ms. Mo on Flickr.