July 6, 2016

BILLY GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION:

This rapper is trying to get his fellow evangelicals to talk about race. Not everyone is on board. (Michelle Boorstein July 1 , 2016, Washington Post)

Evangelicals love to, well, evangelize, and in recent years they've grown tired of the mostly white cultural ghetto of Kirk Cameron movies and Christian praise bands they'd created over the past few decades. And for the born-again street kid, the clear, black-and-white truth of conservative Christianity was like a new drug he was happily hooked on.

Lately, though, the unlikely union has been hitting some bumps.

As Lecrae's stature as a musician and cultural leader has risen, the 6-foot-4, smiley former drug dealer has become a lightning rod in the evangelical community. Some badly want him to speak out more about issues like Ferguson and Donald Trump's rhetoric on immigration, while others say that he should "stick to the gospel."

Lecrae is part of a cohort that is itself in flux. The stand-off between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is challenging lots of narratives about American Christianity.

Is an evangelical someone who prioritizes fighting abortion and gay marriage or a pragmatist who looks for the middle ground? Does it go against Christian values to support a candidate who wants to deport Muslims and uses "Mexican" as a slur? And is there an "evangelical" position on police treatment of blacks in 2016?

Cruising Manhattan in the back of a stretch black SUV on a recent afternoon, Lecrae Devaughn Moore knows that he represents a new evangelical archetype. And he loves it.

"What I bring is unique. No one else brings to the table what I am," he said. "That's how I look at myself - a clear voice in the middle of it all."

American Christians, particularly the young, are dying for leaders willing to walk away from partisan polarization, and for some, Lecrae is a beacon. They flock to his concerts, they buy his books and they listen to his lectures.

"This generation doesn't have a Billy Graham," said LaDawn Johnson, a sociologist at Biola University, an evangelical school outside Los Angeles where Lecrae performed in April. "Lecrae is in a position where he could definitely for many young people be that voice and be that model."

Posted by at July 6, 2016 10:53 AM

  

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