Saturday, February 21, 2009

On Lupe Fiasco and Cousin Lynn's Comment

My cousin, Lynn, made the following comment on my blog concerning Lupe Fiasco--I have some comments for her comment myslef--I'll make them after her's . . .

"I too love Lupe Fiaso and his music. Check out him and Jill Scott in Daydreamin' one of my all time fav's.
I have agreed with you and proclaimed my frustration in the church and the way they have capitalized religion.
I have agreed with you and proclaimed my frustration with Christians who only go to church so they don't have to be Christians everyday.
I have stated that I am not religious but instead spiritual in nature, trying everyday to break down the barriers that lead men who claim to be ruled by a teaching of love to kill in the name of doctrine.
However....I am a follower of Christ. I believe all of the differences from one Christian church to the other to be minutia. They all believe in Christ and that is the important part. Are they perfect, absolutely not. I believe everyone has the right to accept whatever religion they want, Christian or not, but I, in no way, would support or declare another religion as something that I was proud of or agreed with. I can agree to disagree with people and allow them to say what they will, but I will not be proclaiming what I do not believe in. Do not allow your voice to be used for something you do not believe in. By posting this video you, in essence, are proclaiming that you agree with him and that Mohammed is the equivalent to Jesus or the true prophet of God.
I can not agree with you on this one."

Obviously, the part where we digress is witnessed by her own transition "however". Cousin Lynn is under the assumption or presumption that my posting of Lupe's Muhammed Walks somehow constitutes my "witnessing" or "proclaiming" a Muslim message. More importantly, she assumes I would (or perhaps should) have a problem with that.

Since Cousin Lynn is a faithful follower of this blog--I feel rude not directing this to her--not to single her out; but in an attempt to not be rude; or so as not to feel as though I am talking behind her back instead of to her face. That being said--I will henceforth direct this to her . . .

Lynn--the assumptions/presumptions laid out earlier get to the heart of your issue. You state that I alleged that I "support or declare another religion as something that I was proud of or agreed with". I did no such thing. In the original post I said I was a fan of Lupe and that this song was "smart and good". I did not issue a testament to the tenets of Islam; and if saying something is good is the same as saying I am proud of it--then there is a chasm of difference in our understanding. Likewise, declaring something as "smart" is not limited to Christian themed or secular themed material, art or media. I assume (yes I know it is dangerous to assume) that you have no issue with his other work--as you yourself even recommended his music in your opening comment. Therefore, is the issue JUST that the song I chose was about Muhammed? It doesn't change his beliefs (anymore than it changes my beliefs) to post it. It doesn't make the song go away or not exist--so I don't quite comprehend how posting it is a declaration or promotion of Islamic values or beliefs.

Secondly, implied or inherrant in your comment is that I should see something wrong with Lupe's beliefs or with my posting the song. I do not. I believe what we have in common is greater than what divides us. I know you fervently defend the right of everyone to believe what they want to believe; you have no objection to Lupe choosing to be Islam--indeed, you state such in your comment. Your only issue is that I posted said song. But I ask you--why is it offensive. If America gives us the right to think, believe and express whatever we choose personally; is not the logical consequence listening to each others beliefs? Listening to someone else doesn't mean I am brainwashed into their thinking--instead it means often that I have a clearer understanding of my own beliefs--BECAUSE they are exposed to other beliefs and challenges. Faith that cannot be exposed to other beliefs or review is not faith worth having. Your passioned defense of Rick Warren's presence at the Inauguration was one of the voices that caused me to self-reflect and review my own critiques. (see here) Is that fairness of opinion only reserved for Christian beliefs?

Finally, and this is the crux, I have nothing against my fellow humans. I find there is some peace and truth in the teachings of Muhammed. I find solace in the wisdom of the Jews. I appreciate the symbolism and learnings of Shiva and Hinduism; I can learn from Jainism, Buddhism and Taoism. And yes, I can and do look for guidance in the teachings of Jesus Christ as well as Darwin or Marx or Jefferson or Ghandi or Lincoln (all 6 were "non-traditional believers"). In fact, Lupe remade/released that song to show what we had in common. After listening to Kanye's Jesus Walks, he thought "Hey we believe Jesus was a prophet too. Lets highlight what we have in common." (listen to interview here - segment 1 has the interview--and scroll down near the bottom for the extended interview) His understanding or worldview is not the same as mine, but neither is yours; but I can appreciate his sincerity. I can appreciate his attempt to show that Islam and Christianity share a same G-d; share many of the same teachings; and many of the same people. I have no problem with anything he said in the lyrics (click for full lyrics)

"For we all are sinners

Bless us to be among the winners

When it ends

But until then please strengthen the mission within our hearts

All praise is due to God"



Cousin Lynn said...

My final comment on this topic: I appreciate your comments, but you did not change my original feelings towards the song. Let anyone believe what they want and you have the right to look at and take in the thoughts and ideas of other religions in order to strengthen your own. But no matter how liberal we get, and how far from the teaching of any organized CHURCH we may feel we've gotten, my final and ultimate belief is that Jesus is the one and only son of God and Mohammed is a prophet (yes, of possibly the same God, but the organized religion that has adopted his teaching does not believe in Jesus being the son of God…equal to Mohamed is not enough) but he is currently dead. Mohammed does not walk. Sorry if this pisses anyone off, but just as I give you space to believe what you want, these are my beliefs and I am not ashamed of them. I'm just saying you need to be careful what you support in the attempt of supporting others’ right to choose. You can give someone the right to choose the wrong path, but you don't have to follow them down it.

Chad E Burns said...

Thank you for commenting as always. And this blog, like this country is open to debate and many viewpoints. there is not and will not be any "silencing" here. :)
I guess my only comment back is how am I "supporting" Islam by posting the song and saying I think it is "smart and good". I thought it was clever. Much like the company that started making the "Christian Fish" on cars (with Ichtus-Greek word for Fish in them)-and much like the way those fish were given legs and the word Darwin and Evolve were written in them. Lupe's version was clever and smart; the music was good. It hought it was interesting to hear a popular song express a different worldview from my own. It allowed me to see a glimpse of what it might be like to live where my beliefs and worldview are not dominant and pervasive (notice I didn't say wrong or bad). I appreciate trying to understand Lupe's point of view, much as I do yours. And as far as "teachings" why is any other religion assumed to be monolithic--do you not think there are individuals who too believe Muhammed was just a prophet, is dead; and was wrong in some accounts or interpretations, but still see some good from that worldview/belief system. Again--what we have in common is greater than what divides us.