Bad Rap: A Response to Macklemore’s Same Love

I tried to ignore this song. It’s just a pop song. And the thing about pop songs, no matter what it is that they’re saying, is that they usually don’t stick around long enough to make a lasting impression. When’s the last time that someone told you that their life was changed by a Neneh Cherry song?

But then Christians started to respond. And not with the “Get this garbage off of my radio” reaction that one might expect. Many were accepting the song. And many more who may not have ever even heard the song are okay with the message. Sometimes pop music can be more influential than we think.

The song is from a rapper named Macklemore and it’s called Same Love. The message is simple. Gay is normal. It should be accepted. Opposition is intolerant. Get with the times.

“The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision

And you can be cured with some treatment and religion

Man-made rewiring of a predisposition

Playing God, aw nah here we go

America the brave still fears what we don’t know

And God loves all his children is somehow forgotten

But we paraphrase a book written thirty five hundred years ago”

Don’t you just love it when people condemn making judgements on large segments of the population by making judgments on large segments of the population?

This song is a good example of what it looks like when we craft theology to meet our agendas and create a god in our own image. This man-made religion applies the status of Scripture to feel-good sayings (“God loves all his children”) while questioning the status of actual Scripture. Hey, why let the truth get in the way of a lifestyle when it’s so much easier to make up your own truth?

The Bible never classifies all people as God’s children. In our natural, sinful state, we are all God’s enemies. Not just the homosexuals. But the Southern Baptist pastors. And the politicians. As well as socially-conscious rappers. We are all God’s enemies apart from his grace. Yes, we’re children alright. Children of wrath, fighting against God (Ephesians 2:1-3).

“When I was at church they taught me something else

If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed”

Intolerant. Hateful. Homophobic. That’s how you are classified if you believe that homosexuality is a sin. D.A. Carson calls this the intolerance of tolerance. You don’t have to be in the Westboro cult to get that label. You can serve AIDS patients and develop friendly relationships with homosexuals but that one belief earns you the scarlet letter.

But it is myopic to classify the Bible’s message on homosexuality as hateful, intolerant or homophobic. God hates sin. And that’s where most people cover their eyes and ears and begin repeating the mantra.

Hateful. Homophobic. Intolerant.

Hateful. Homophobic. Intolerant.

So, with ears covered, the rest of the message isn’t received. Yes, God hates sin. But he loves you and sent Jesus to take the punishment for your sin. This is why Paul can speak the way that he does to the sexually progressive Corinthians.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

Were can be a beautiful word.

“Such were some of you.”

Sexually immoral. Idolaters. Homosexuals. Thieves.

Were.

It’s not like the sin of homosexuality is any worse than the others Paul listed. He wasn’t trying to cure gays, as if that alone could somehow make them right with God. The real issue here isn’t homosexuality. It’s pride. Pride convinces me to keep my identity in myself. My sexuality. My accomplishments. My heritage. But Jesus calls for men to lay down their identity and to find their true identity in him. The gospel frees us to abandon who we were while embracing who we are in Christ.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

Any person who stands before God under his own identity is doomed. Eventually, our own identity will weigh us down. Real rest is only found in Jesus.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

Macklemore says that If you’re gay, it’s your predisposition. So live on and be yourself.

Jesus pleads with us to do just the opposite. And his plea is loving.

It’s just not the same love as anything else the world has ever known.