Interview with Curtis Allen on Race, Racism and Christianity

A few days ago, my buddy Curtis Allen, aka Curt Kennedy, released the video for his single, “Christian Racist.” I immediately started conversing with him about the fallout that could be coming. More than anything, I wanted to be a part of the conversation with my friend on how we work toward living out what God has designed for us as brothers and sisters in Christ. Here’s the video.

The graphic images and the “controversial” subject matter (I don’t think it’s controversial) have a lot of people talking. Curt also put out a short explanation of the song and video.

Today, Curtis was gracious enough to join me for a Google Hangout and let me record our conversation. He was driving, so there are times where the connection is lost or sketchy, but the conversation was encouraging and challenging and helps us take the issue of race down to an every day level. Below is the hour long interview followed by an outline of what we talked about. Now we must move from talking to action… because the Church has been late to the conversation.

:21 Do you feel like this is going to help the conversation along?

“A Whisper is too loud if you don’t want to hear what somebody has to say.”

1:50  Curtis is driving so we might lose him… see Curtis’ angry face

2:11 Curtis is back

2:13 How does this issue and song work itself out pastorally?

“Church is the most segregated hour of the week”

This section is breaking up… but the problem is that most of the time we talk about race not on the street level, every day level. We’ve got to get people to the point where they never thought about it like that.

4:44-7:33… Curtis gets disconnected as he drives through trees

7:33  He’s back

8:00 What are your hopes for your boys when it comes to race issue?

“The church is behind in the conversation, except for diagnosing the problem”

“People are cool with you being transparent as long as it doesn’t offend them.”

10:25 Homosexual rights a civil rights issue?

“Calling it a civil rights issue is possibly the most offensive thing to me personally”

11:46 What kind of experiences have you had that brought you to the viewpoint in the song “Christian Racist?” What was it like going to the “white man’s church” and what’s it like now?

17:03 Respond to the dismissive comments on YouTube… those who say this shouldn’t matter or “I listen to rap music, so I can’t be racist.”

There are still culture and distinctions in Christ… in Revelation 7, not everyone is speaking the same language. “The Gospel gives us hope to get to where God calls us, but the Gospel doesn’t eliminate the process or the consequences of the history.”

“There’s a different color we strive for, the red of the shed blood of Jesus.”

21:32 What do you say to people who assume because of the medium that you’re an angry dude spouting off? They want to take it seriously, but they have a hard time with the medium.

“I said what black people say to each other, but not to anybody else”

23:15 If you’re a white guy talking about race then they are progressive, gospel centered and concerned for the Church, but if a black guy raps about it, he’s controversial. “That might be a little bit racist”

“I want to be able to talk freely and express myself through my music.”

Bring the conversation down from 30,000 feet to the street level, every day life.

29:06 My wife calls and says hi to Curtis

30:07 Why Curtis hesitated to put out “Christian Racist”

32:30 Liberals, Liberation Theology guys, and Prosperity guys seem to be way ahead on this… why is it that we are so far behind on bridging the race gap among conservative evangelicals… What have we missed along the way? What are steps we take to ensure we’re not a little bit racist?

“I don’t think every church needs to be multiracial, but every church needs to have a multiracial heart.”

36:13 Curtis pays a toll

We need to get past the idea of “accepting” other races/ cultures, but to have an earnest desire to see what other cultures have to offer.

40:30 If I’m willing to takes steps in a practical way in the community… what do I do as a white man to bridge that gap?

43:00 What do you say to a Black pastor to open that door?

“Do you believe the Gospel prioritizes this?”

“The Gospel doesn’t remove culture.”

45:26 What would you say to our teenagers, no matter what the culture says, to take a legitimate step toward realizing there’s so much to benefit from one another.

“Biblically, it’s Philippians 2:3-4, looking out for other people’s interests.”

50:45 We lose Curtis again.

51:19 He’s back

“I wasn’t making a sweeping generalization of all white people. The song makes a sweeping generalization of all “if the shoe fits” people.”

Now what do we do?… Another conversation sometime soon…

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