Hip Hop Culture and the Teachings of Jesus: Embracing a Kingdom State of Mind
Hey family! We’re welcome to another episode of Church on the Block. Pastah J is still celebrating two significant anniversaries: 50 years of hip hop and 45 years of loving God and loving people at Lawndale Christian Community Church. This episode was particularly special as we were blessed by the wisdom of Dr. Terrence Zaire Gadsden, also known as DJ Rock On, who shared the correlation between the storytelling in hip hop and the teachings of Jesus.
Hip Hop and the Church: A Personal Journey
Rock On kicked off the conversation with a reflection on his personal journey, intertwining his experiences with the broader narrative of hip hop’s influence on our community and church. Growing up in New Jersey during the Hip Hop’s 90’s Golden era, he was deeply influenced by hip hop, R&B, and gospel music. This period was a defining moment in hip hop history, and it shaped his approach to faith and community engagement.
The Kingdom of Heaven: A Revolutionary Concept
The core of Rock On’s sermon was the revolutionary concept of a “kingdom state of mind.” Drawing from the Gospel of Matthew, he highlighted how Jesus, the true king, preached about the kingdom of heaven, likening Jesus’ teachings to “spitting eternal rhymes” on the sermon on the mount. This kingdom, as Rock On eloquently put it, is an upside-down one, where the poor, the humble, and the marginalized take precedence.
Earthly Empires vs. Heavenly Kingdom
Rock On contrasted the values of earthly empires with those of the heavenly kingdom, urging us to trust in God’s provisions and to avoid self-righteous judgment. He encouraged us to seek God for all our needs, embodying the kingdom’s ethics in our daily lives.
Hip Hop as a Conduit for Kingdom Values & The Teachings of Jesus
Throughout his sermon, Rock On masterfully used hip hop references and analogies to make the teachings of Jesus relatable. He highlighted the global influence of hip hop and its potential to promote God-honoring values like peace, love, unity, and community. He challenged us to look beyond the commercialized surface of hip hop and to embrace its power to uplift and inspire.
Being Countercultural: The Kingdom State of Mind
Rock On called for a shift from being mere churchgoers to becoming kingdom people—those who live out values of gratitude, hope, dignity, hospitality, forgiveness, peace, and nonviolence. He urged us to move away from individualism, consumerism, cynicism, and exploitation, and towards a community-oriented, hopeful, and dignified way of life.
A Prayer for Transformation
Concluding his sermon with a heartfelt prayer, Rock On expressed a longing for our community to reflect God’s love, grace, kindness, peace, and justice. He reminded us that the transformative work is God’s doing and that we should trust in His plan for a future filled with abundance, freedom, and generous love.
Pastah J’s Reflections
Pastah J shared his reflections on the sermon, underscoring the importance of adopting a kingdom state of mind and the call to be countercultural. He encouraged us to spread this message and use our podcast as a resource to delve deeper into the synergy between hip hop culture and faith. This is not just a celebration of the milestones of hip hop and Lawndale’s legacy; we’re also reaffirming our commitment to loving God and loving people. Thank you for tuning in. Prayerfully, we’ll see you next episode.
The sermon series (00:00:25) Pastah J discusses the sermon series at Lawndale Christian Community Church celebrating 50 years of hip hop and 45 years of loving God and loving people.
The DJ as the creator of hip hop (00:01:07) Pastah J talks about the role of the DJ as the creator of hip hop and its connection to the Creator.
The B-boy stance (00:02:07) Pastah J discusses the B-boy stance and its spiritual significance in relation to praising God.
Dr. Terrence Gadsden’s introduction (00:03:04) Dr. Terrence Gadsden, also known as DJ Rock On, introduces himself and expresses gratitude for being part of the community.
Lawndale’s impact on the community (00:05:19) Dr. Terrence Gadsden acknowledges Lawndale’s impact on the community and its innovative approach to church and community development.
Emceeing and Nas’s ‘New York State of Mind’ (00:07:11) Dr. Terrence Gadsden discusses the origins of emceeing and analyzes Nas’s song “New York State of Mind” in the context of a kingdom state of mind.
Nas’s storytelling and connection to listeners (00:12:18) Dr. Terrence Gadsden highlights Nas’s storytelling in his music and the connection it creates with listeners.
Kingdom state of mind (00:16:52) Dr. Terrence Gadsden delves into the concept of a kingdom state of mind and its relevance for believers.
Jesus as the King and the Sermon on the Mount (00:20:44) Dr. Terrence Gadsden discusses Jesus as the King and the significance of the Sermon on the Mount in shaping the kingdom state of mind.
Trust in God and refraining from self-righteous judgment (00:24:28) Dr. Terrence Gadsden emphasizes the importance of trust in God and refraining from self-righteous judgment in the kingdom state of mind.
Seeking the Kingdom (00:25:38) Dr. Terrence Gadsden discusses the concept of seeking the kingdom of God and the importance of being kingdom people.
Community Transformation (00:26:51) The role of the Holy Spirit in seeking God’s kingdom and the transformation that takes place in communities.
Living a Righteous Life (00:27:59) The significance of living a righteous life and seeking righteousness in relationships and lifestyle.
The Tension of the Kingdom (00:29:20) Understanding the tension of seeking the kingdom of God and the concept of bringing God’s kingdom to earth.
Kingdom People vs. Church People (00:30:20) Differentiating between being kingdom people and church people and the vision and impact of kingdom people.
Hip Hop as Global Currency (00:31:33) Exploring the global influence of hip hop and its alignment with God-honoring elements.
Living Counterculturally (00:34:35) Embracing a kingdom state of mind and living counterculturally in society.
Characteristics of Kingdom People (00:36:45) The attributes and actions of kingdom people, focusing on community, reconciliation, and hope.
Challenging Mindset Shift (00:40:15) Encouraging a shift in mindset towards community, gratitude, hospitality, and forgiveness.
Living with a Kingdom State of Mind (00:42:31) Embracing a kingdom state of mind and embodying kingdom values with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Closing and Prayer (00:43:59) Closing remarks and a prayer for embracing a kingdom state of mind and living out God’s love and grace.
Reflecting on the Sermon Series (00:45:17) Reflections on the sermon series and the impact of hip hop culture in glorifying God.
Dropping the Bars (00:48:01) Pastah J does a verse from one of his songs and reflects on the importance of being part of the church and embracing a kingdom state of mind.
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