Stormzy’s album #GSAP (Gang Signs and Prayer) has just become the No.1 Album in the UK, which is brilliant for so many reasons. Not only has he helped bring Grime (along with many other Grime artists) into the mainstream, but he’s done so whilst proclaiming his love for God. It’s not too common for an album to become number one in the UK whilst proclaiming “Look at what God did” – but the overall public sentiment behind this album has been powerful. Each song is so different and relays the story of a complex black man that has gone through so much… a man that is not perfect but real.

Chance The Rapper is another mainstream rapper who unapologetically proclaims his love for Christ, and so many people have responded to the rapper’s genuine passion. Chance’s recent Grammy performance went viral with Christians screaming about how he started his performance with the classic “How Great is our God” and non christians buzzing about how Chance was a refreshing kind of Christian that they could relate to.

One person said:

“As a non – religious person, Chance is the kind of Christian I wish we had more of. It’s clear that his faith means something deep and true to him unlike so many self proclaimed Christians who use it manipulate people for their own self – interest. Chances uses faith to spread a message of love, positivity and self – improvement.”

But why has there been such an overwhelming response to the emergence of rappers like Stormzy and Chance The Rapper? I believe the response is a rejection of the publicised and political charged religion that became notorious in 2016 for contributing to events like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. People are tired of religious leaders telling them how to feel or think, they are tired of important figures talking about religion from a place that is not authentic or vulnerable, but instead use the platform to point fingers and bring shame, all whilst subtly to trying to push a biased agenda.

Even though Stormzy and Chance are not religious leaders, they are people of influence that have authentically demonstrated how real faith can be, and  how it helped them in life’s grittiest and darkest moments. The way both of these artists talk about and approach their faith, it’s from a place of humbleness and gratitude, there’s no agenda, there’s no bias, all they want to do is share what God has done, and this is blessing people.These artists demonstrate that the world is hungry for people that bring the gospel of hope and joy from a place of realness.

People are tired of seeing seemingly perfect people telling them that they need to change from their sinful ways. Instead they want to see a a gospel of hope that meets them from where they are at, which is what Jesus did. Jesus brought hope to the tax collector, the prostitute, the cripple from where they were at, he never called them out but showed them love in a way that changed and moved them to look for something more.

This brilliant post was written by Wandy Bapide. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not reflect that of Black Sisters Network.

Growing older means going through a series of awakenings. Some big, some small. A deep and implicit assumption is shaken loose, and your understanding of the world tilts a little. Your eyes are opened, and now you can’t un-see something that had actually been staring at you the entire time.

I’m going to talk about two issues I ‘woke up’ to fairly recently. Firstly, sexism. It is everywhere. It’s more than just everywhere. It’s embedded, deep in the foundations of every culture we’re subject to and are a part of. Secondly, and more importantly, the restorative, transformative power of Jesus Christ.

It may not be immediately obvious how these two things fit together, but, bear with me.

For a while now, I’ve been trying to reconcile my faith with the negative connotations connected to patriarchy. To me, the Church and messages I heard from the pulpit seemed just as sexist as the messages I was hearing in the world. Expectations about women being demure, deferent, and the all-consuming mission to find a husband. Sermons about jezebels and husband-stealing women, policing women’s behaviours and preaching we were nothing without our chastity. I noted that there wasn’t the same emphasis on men remaining faithful or wife-stealing men, men protecting their chastity and being careful not to tempt women with their behaviour.

Come on now, we know men can tempt.

men tempting.gif

Patriarchal norms and thinking have oppressed men and women especiallythroughout the ages, and this is no different in the Church past and present. And that does not make sense. If the church is called to be salt and light (Matt 5:13-14), and we’ve been explicitly told that we “are not of the world” (John 17:16), then why, in this respect, do we resemble it so much?

I believe that this is where the restorative power of Jesus Christ comes in. Jesus came to reconcile us to God the Father. Through Adam and Eve’s mistakes in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world, creating a void between humanity and God. Romans 5:16 tells us that man’s sin (the Original Sin) brought condemnation to the world, but verses 17 and 18 tell us that, through Jesus, we have a “free gift of righteousness” and we are saved from the consequences of sin.

How is this relevant? Original sin and the Fall of Man go some way to explaining modern patriarchy. In Gen 3:16, God spells out the curse for Eve; one line struck me in particular: Yet your desire and craving will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

So, as a result of the curse, man has power over the woman. She will desire him and he will dominate her. The curse introduced the power imbalance we see today.

Couple this with Genesis 1:26-28: God purposes to make mankind in His image and likeness, giving mankind dominion over the earth. Mankind means both male and female – it says ” male and female He created them”. In the Garden, at no point is woman referred to as something to be dominated, subdued, repressed or oppressed.  In fact, both men and women are to have dominion and sovereignty over God’s creation, not each other.

26 God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. [Ps. 104:30; Heb. 1:2; 11:3.]

27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Col. 3:9, 10; James 3:8, 9.]

28 And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.

Jesus came to restore us and deliver us from the effects of the curse. If the gender power imbalance originates from the Curse, and the fallen nature of mankind has exploited it to oppress and subjugate, then we need to realise that Jesus came to deliver us from this too.

Christ’s love surpasses knowledge. We all have equal access to this love, don’t we?

Jesus is our bridge to the Father, and coming into a loving relationship with the Him is meant to be transformative. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).” The heart, mind and soul are the sum of who we are, and to love God with each of these is to see them all change in response to Him.  Too often, the patriarchal belief system is used to justify particularly damaging behaviours and practices in the Church, with no real scrutiny. If this is also the same belief system that is used to hurt women and men outside the Church, can we say that the love of God has truly changed us?

Personally, I’m at the beginning of a journey with Christ – discovering my purpose and what it truly means to be a woman of faith.  I have questions, doubts and theories. I’ll need to let go of some of my deeply-held beliefs and unquestioned assumptions to fully embrace what God has for me. We should all be prayerfully questioning where the foundations of some our beliefs lie and asking God to liberate all aspects of our thinking.

This brilliant post was written by Blessing Inyang. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not reflect that of Black Sisters Network.

As a black woman, I’ve always lived with the burden of having to prove myself to people. From trying to prove that I’m not just typically ‘loud obnoxious and intimidating’ to my white peers, or even trying to prove I wasn’t a “ boujee oreo” to my black friends. Most of my life has been spent trying to impress those around me, dancing to an invisible tune that would leave me feeling empty, used and exhausted.

Because of my intense desire to prove that I was ‘more’ to people, my identity was constantly changing, one day I was a fiery pop punk princess, the next day I was a nonchalant R&B Queen, a Hip-Hop Diva the day after that, and by the end of the week I’d be looking for banjos on amazon and considering starting a Mumford & Sons style folk band. But whenever I put on these various personalities I never felt like myself – I never really felt comfortable or at peace with who I was. I didn’t feel like I could rest. I was constantly moving and running, trying to stay one step ahead of people’s preconceived notions.

Galatians 3: 26 – 29 says “ So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

This verse is so important because it demonstrates the importance of understanding our identity in Christ, and it highlights how when we are in Christ there are no specific groups of people, there is no us or them, me or you. There’s no need to try and be something or anything because we are ALL ‘heirs’ of the King. Instead we align our hearts with the knowledge that we “belong to Christ”. If our identity rests in that truth, then it should not waver and change with the fickle minds of people.

What God says about us always stays the same, it never changes. This give us a chance to REST in the knowledge that when our identity is in Christ, it is solid and it is safe.

This is something that I hold onto dearly as a black woman – a need to understand that I shouldn’t view myself through the lens of those around me, but to instead firmly understand who I am in Christ and to place my identity in him. I’m not completely there yet but it’s safe to say that I’m not any closer to buying a banjo and starting a folk band.

This brilliant post was written by Wandy Bapide. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not reflect that of Black Sisters Network.