Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday's Weekly Rap Up - April 3, 2015 - "Identity"- Json

I've been listening to Json's "No Filter" album for the last few weeks. There is a good deal of this album that you and I would most likely not identify with. Json gets incredibly personal on this album. No Filter address the difficult things in life, where Json begins detailing his birth, being born to a mother who used crack cocaine. He goes on to tell us of his past growing up in St. Louis selling crack cocaine, finding hope and salvation in Christ, and sharing some of the most difficult things in his life, including the sexual abuse suffered by his wife while she was young, and the effects it has had on their lives now that they are married. The larger struggles of lust, greed and the desire to be wanted and accepted are prevalent throughout the album as well.

There may not be much of those experiences that you or I can actually identify with, but, there is much to be celebrated, encouraged by, and to be learned from what Json presents. As I listened to "No Filter", the song that stuck out most to me was "Identity". It is probably the song I can relate to most, as I have not experienced many of the things that Json is so transparent about on the rest of the album.

In a recent Rapzilla interview Json says “I talk about identity. That’s at a height in our culture. When we start talking about identity — you gotta see [God] properly. If we don’t see him properly, we can’t see us properly. I wrestled with identity when I was growing up. You don’t hear men talk about it, so I wanted to give men a voice.”

All too often we make attempts to cover up our struggles, in some sort of attempt to hide them, or distort them with filters. Our culture is feeding off of presenting ourselves to be an enhancement of what we really are. That's why there's not only social media, but there are countless photo editing applications for our smart phones so we can touch up our photos and post them to social media within a few seconds. In fact, Json credits his album's name from the popular Instagram hashtag of "#nofilter". 

In our lives we tend to have a much higher view of ourselves than realize, especially when we as Christians keep in perspective the character to which God has called us. It's certainly not easy to admit that we're probably much more sinful than we imagine. We don't really know who we are, and don't know who defines us. But we're not without hope and guidance as to our true identify, found in Christ. The book of Ephesians provides a wealth of truths where we can root our identities. Our identities are "either found in Christ, or found in worldly passions, which is at its root, idolatry." These are exactly the types of issues that Json addresses, specifically in his song "Identity".

Identity is something that is increasingly being compared and used to attribute value to our lives. We're increasingly made aware of how we don't measure up or compare to others. Jai sings during the chorus, "Who loves me? Who cares for me? I wonder these questions as I sit and stare at reflections of all my imperfections. I'm glad you see beauty. You love me." That's where our identity is found; in our Creator.  We know he created us and declared good his creation. We've all got God-bestowed dignity, beauty, value and worth. It's too often that we forget this truth, and look elsewhere to find our identity.