2/1/13 Jake about 20
Jake, a bored 20-ish rap artist in a hoodie, suddenly became animated when I asked about his spiritual beliefs. I later found out why. “You’re the second guy in two weeks that’s wanted to talk to me about God” he said. “The first guy kept telling me how he believes God has a special plan for me, that he can tell I’m destined for great things and that I have a bright future. He got me all pumped up about God, but then I got discouraged again and really doubt God even exists.” Jake is an aspiring rapper, who idolizes Tupac and Eminem, and had that self-promoting attitude that looks for any sort of angle to advance his music career. He had tattooed a symbol of the “Illuminati” across his chest, because being associated with a secret society is fashionable in the hip-hop world, and I could tell his take-away from his conversations with the first religious guy had likewise focused on just how God might also advance his career. His conclusion? “Church is hypocritical – I believe in keepin’ it real” he said. Early in the conversation he had told me – with a smile on his face – that he believes if he died right now he would go to hell. So why was he smiling? Because he didn’t really believe it. What he does believe that by the standards of church rules like attendance and conformity, that he would be condemned, “But me and God have an understanding. I think He would see past my lack of religion and see that I have a good heart and I don’t pretend to be something I’m not”. “Well then, do you mind if I keep it real?” I asked. “The truth is, you’re not guaranteed tomorrow, am I right?” He nodded. “And if for some reason you died in your sleep tonight you would wake up to God’s judgment. Now let’s forget about church involvement – how would you do according to the Ten Commandments?” I took him through some of them, to help him judge his own sin by God’s standard. I also talked about his need to fear God, that a holy reverence for God is the only way to begin a right relationship with Him. I shared some hard truths, and I know many fellow believers would say I was just wrecking any chance to interest Jake in the Gospel. But I don’t believe Jake would say so. He knew I was just keepin’ it real.