Akon

As some of you may know, Verizon Wireless pulled their backing of rapper Akon following a concert he did in Trinidad. He simulated sex acts and gang raping the girl. It turns out the girl was a minor and a pasotr’s daughter.

He has recently put out a very catchy song called “Sorry, Put the Blame on Me.” In it he says:

As life goes on I’m starting to learn more and more about responsibility
And I realize that everything I do is affecting the people around me
So I want to take this time out to apologize for things that
I’ve done things that haven’t occurred yet
and things that they don’t want to take responsibility form

It sounds magnanimous to say that I will take blame for what others do not want to take responsibility for. ut as the song goes on, there is no reason for anyone to take blame other than Akon for the wrong that he did Read the verse that he uses to try and put blame on other people in a backdoor kind of way:

I’m sorry that it took so long to see
But they were dead wrong trying to put it on me
I’m sorry that it took so long to speak
But I was on tour with Gwen Stefani

I’m sorry for the hand that she was dealt
And for the embarrassment that she felt
She’s just a little young girl trying to have fun
But daddy should of never let her out that young

I’m sorry for Club Zen getting shut down
I hope they manage better next time around
How was I to know she was underage
In a 21 and older club they say

Why doesn’t anybody want to take blame
Verizon backed out disgracing my name
I’m just a singer trying to entertain
Because I love my fans I’ll take that blame

So is he saying that Club Zen, the pastor, and Verizon are to blame for his lewd behavior? Is he saying that if she was not underage, he would be justified to have pretended to rape her on stage? Let’s not forget to mention that the underage girl was told that she would win a trip to Africa for performing on stage in a dance contest. That’s bating a girl and using her as meat on stage for a good laugh.

What bothers me is not so much that she was underage – although there are issues with clubs and such. The main contention I have is that Akon has tried to slough off the fact that he treated a woman in ways that people are charged with felonies for. Sad to say that this is not the main issue, either. This is merely a symptom of a greater oproblem in our society. As we have given in to pluralism and “what’s right for you, is fine by me” keeps people from condemning the sickening nature of the acts committed on stage, and instead they have pleaded to an implicit vulgarity that we all know deep down inside is wrong. Perhaps the only middle ground our culture has with morality – exploiting juveniles.

The main issue is that because people have bought into the lie that relativity is the final law for life, we cannot say that a man pretending to rape a girl is wrong. We cannot say that proselytizing prostetution and drug abuse is wrong. The morality that was once implicit is now gone and we have to setttle for arguing that he should not have pretended to do such a thing.

Shall I go on to mention the fact that Akon has a wife/girlfriend and sons (so the song says previously). Do we not see an inconsistency in life. He is not merely an entertainer – as though that existed. Even jesters have spheres of influence who will imitate them. Even troubadours have families that they are responsible for not only raising, but rearing in the fear and instruction of God.

No the problem is not just that a minor was involved. It is the fact that a man wo committed such violations can turn around and say that a sponsor are wrong for calling him to give an account for his actions.

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  1. Ummm, i just saw the picture of the incident and the girl in question looked like she was having a pretty good time.

    Sure the whole act was wrong but firstly it was a CLUB, secondly an above 21 club and what does anyone expect going in2 such places.

    If you dont want trouble you stay out of such places, her being there meant she wanted that excitement.

    So lets not not be so righteous and pass the wrong judgements on the wrong person.

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Less Hype. More Humility.

Please. Embedded in our consumeristic culture, there is the assumption that newer is better than older–though I prefer aged beef and cheddar to new. There is the assumption that grand and renovated and powerful is preferable to meek and lowly and weak.

The church often adopts this form of communicating in an effort to gather people into its doors. “God is doing awesome things here at Church _______.” The fact is that God is doing awesome things everyday and everywhere. He’s sustained your life. He’s given you sight and hearing and legs. And if you have none or only one of these, he’s still given you life and a mind to engage the world around you. Truly miraculous. What is more, is God not also doing something in the old, decrepit church that meets faithfully every Sunday? Is God not at work in the mundane? Is the changing of laundry and washing of dishes and working through an argument devoid of God’s presence?

I see so many churches trying to drum up excitement about the latest outreach or project, when what our culture needs is the staying power and sobriety of faithfulness in the ho-hum drudgery of going to a job you hate or a marriage that is contentious. What we need is not more hype, but more humility. More service and less heavy-handedness. We need more gentleness and less power grabs.

If we don’t, what then becomes of the senior citizen who is tired? What becomes of the baby who is sleeping? What becomes of the unemployed and outcast and burdened? They are forgotten. They are seen as less valuable because they aren’t producing the kind of energy requisite for assumed faithfulness to the disciples’ call.

In reality, we need less loud voices and red faces and sweaty brows and more silence and calmness and a deep well of contentment.

The New Economics Will Be People

So I went to a coffee shop this morning and was struck by the utter efficiency they were churning out drinks. In fact the team lead said this much as encouragement to the six other workers behind the counter.

I walked in. Smiled at the barista. Was greeted with a blank stare as he continued to froth the milk and deliver the piping hot skinny latte with extra foam to the drive-thru. I walked to the register and was passed with nary a glance…even when the team lead said “Hello.” No she didn’t look at me, but made sure that her metric of greeting a guest in the first ten seconds was met. A box that is checked. That’s what I was. A large dark roast with no room for cream and sugar. And surely there was no saccharin here. There was utility and efficiency.

In all our pandering for growth our marketing of environment is nothing more than a marketing tool. The timers and grids for efficiency have crowded out the thing that matters. The only thing that matters in products.

You see, the products that are pushed are labeled as though they were made for you. In reality, the products being sold to you have (for the most part) been made for the manufacturer. People have merely become a means to the end of bigger, faster, better.

In the new economy, people will matter more.

They won’t matter because they need to matter to grow the business. Too often companies tell you that you’re important because they want your money. They don’t want to make a difference as much as they want their new car or luxury vacation.

I want to say this loud and clear. In the new economy, people will be the end in themselves. They will no longer be viewed as a metric or a number. In the new economy, mom and pop will be sought after. Because, after all, we all know that the verbiage of how you matter to company x is just verbiage. It’s merely eliciting a response for another end.

In the new economics, people will want to matter. They will flock to the place where they are known by name. And not just to tout the “community” of an establishment. Did you notice the subtlety of that one? No, people will know your name because they know you and you matter. Your name is not known just to brag that you matter and sell the belonging you too can have if you buy your next skinny latte with extra froth…hold the pandering.

We are not there yet because executives are still measuring. Measuring people. Yet, what the new economy will have to embrace is not a spreadsheet or a graph. They will be forced to embrace people. Not to grow their graph. But to grow their own soul.

On Conformity

As much as I hate to admit it, Christians push conformity. Conformity to the wrong things. Being shaped by a group and set of ideals is inherent to being part of a group–be it Christian, straight edge, atheist. But I am speaking about and to my tribe.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of being a part of several different denominations and have seen this shadow overtaking much of the piety of its adherents. It wasn’t meant to do so.

Do you homeschool? The correct answer depends on the group you’re talking to. Do you go on mission trips? Do you adopt? Do you run around incessantly from meeting to meeting showing how you are making an impact for the kingdom?

We have steered far off course when we get away from the simplicity of the Gospel. Of a life changed and being changed by the Gospel. That is, before Christ’s ascension, he said to merely teach all that he commanded. Yet. Yet, much of our passing on of information is not what Christ taught. They are various implications and applications of what he taught. And so,

Might I encourage you to be slow in conforming to the standards? Not just of popular culture, but of the popularity of whatever group you find yourself milling about. The shadow looms to block out the sun of joy and hope. It chokes out the simple call to humble obedience to Christ, changing out a yoke that not even the teachers can bear.