Hip-Hop and Biblical Womanhood

[This is an excellent post from Jeff Robinson and the CBMW gang]


Biblical womanhood has shown up in a neighborhood where women are often denigrated and objectified in the basest fashion: hip-hop music. On his recently-released CD Storiez, Christian rapper shai linne honors authors Carolyn Mahaney and Elisabeth Elliott in a song on biblical womanhood. In the song “Work it Out,” the Philadelphia-born artist contrasts the Bible’s vision of the Gospel-transformed woman with the vain, narcissistic and radically individualistic woman of popular American culture: 

Verse 1
She’s not your typical girl
Sixteen years old and she’s dead to the world
Faith by her lifestyle demonstrated
because the gospel penetrated and now she’s regenerated
Her Master is greater than fashions and flavors
She patterns her behavior after the Savior
Back in the days you would have seen her standing in the mirror
Yeah, her skin was clear, but her vanity was clearer
Now she’s in the Scriptures and wants to be like
Hannah and Sarah rather than Christina Aguilera
Wordly girls imitate Missy Elliot
But she wants to be like Elisabeth Eliot
Not flexing her body, see she dresses with modesty
She’s not perfect- she confesses sin honestly
Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout
And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out

Verse 2
She’s not your normal wife
She’s twenty-four and Christ is the Lord of her life
Her walk is evidence that she trusts in God
And it feels so good to be justified
And no, she doesn’t have a Master’s in Divinity
But what she does have is a passion for the Trinity
When she recalls her previous prodigal seasons
And how at times she could be the loudest of heathens
She praises God for making this former feminist
submit to her husband for theological reasons
Worldly wives watch Oprah to learn to be a lady
But she’s reading the writings of Carolyn Mahaney
And she would never disrespect her husband in public
And if she does it, she repents- I love it!
Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout
And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out

Verse 3
She’s not your usual mother
{ahem} years old and she’s true to the lover
of her soul, she beholds the cross where He copped it
Once was agnostic, now she’s adopted
Her passion grows greater as she beholds him
Job title: homemaker/ theologian
Early in her walk, she would fight against His will then
The Lord used her marriage and the Bible to reveal sin
Now she fights to kill sin and her greatest joy is
serving her husband as she’s discipling her children
While worldly mothers stress shopping for the new style
She’s pouring into younger women Titus 2 style
Teaching others how to rightly see brothers and be mothers
And most of all better Jesus lovers
Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout
And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out

You running hard for the King?
I know that’s right!
Is Jesus your everything?
I know that’s right!
Did He really make all things new?
No doubt!
By His grace, whatcha gonna do?
Work it out!

In an e-mail to Sovereign Grace Ministries, linne said he is seeking to expose hip-hop culture to the substantive biblical doctrine of teachers such as Mahaney, John Piper and others:  “One of my greatest joys as an artist-along with spreading the fame of Christ and proclaiming the Gospel-is to be able to leverage the medium by exposing people in the hip-hop culture to sound biblical teachers like [C.J. Mahaney], John Piper and now Carolyn (Mahaney),” he said.

The song is having a tangible impact. One woman wrote to Sovereign Grace Ministries, telling its leaders that shai linne’s music had opened her eyes to biblical womanhood by pointing her to the writings of Carolyn Mahaney:

Because of your song, I picked up Feminine Appeal at Impact, and read the entire book in about a week. This is by far the best book I have read on being a godly woman. I will be reading it again to make sure I absorb the information, but she has already revolutionized the way I see my role as a single mother. Oftentimes the books written by white women tend to be geared more towards married women, encouraging them to stay home instead of having a job outside the home, but they miss those of us who have to work. The books for black women all talk about being independent and miss God’s perspective on what it means to be a godly women altogether. I love the way Carolyn Mahaney talks about how our first priority needs to be our homes, even if we have to work outside the home. I even like the fact that she said that single women need to know this stuff too so that we can teach the younger women even if we are not married. I also bought the book she co-authored with one of her daughters called Girl Talk. I’m not finished with that one, but she has already helped me with the way I interact with my 13 year old daughter and 14 year old son…I want to say thank you for mentioning this in your song. I am also looking into Elisabeth Elliott since you mentioned her as well.

Praise God for courageous, Gospel-driven men like shai linne and his fellow Christian rapper FLAME. I pray that our sovereign Lord will be pleased to bear much Gospel fruit through their bold, Christ-centered ministries to the hip-hop culture. For an excellent interview with shai linne, please see here.