By Victor Ochieng
If something is not done about today’s church, it’s soon going to be very difficult to differentiate between the pulpit and strip clubs. We’ve heard pastors preaching their own gospel; we’ve seen men and women exposing their bodies in our altars; we’ve seen young girls “twerking to God.” What haven’t we seen in today’s church really? If it’s about robbing congregants, we’ve seen it all; if it’s about pastors going out with young girls in the church, it’s all over the news.
One church has just found a new way to steal the limelight. They’ve allowed their members to praise dance to the song “The Story of O.J.” by rapper Shawn Carter, popularly known as Jay Z. It wasn’t some dance in a worldly event; no; they were actually dancing right in the church.
The video, that has since gone viral from the Tree of Life Missionary Baptist Church.
The Watts-area church has come under serious attack from social media users for the act.
The video was recorded using church drummer Ben Thomas’ cell phone. When he shared the video, he wrote a disclaimer saying, “Ok I just want to say that I didn’t upload this video with ANY NEGATIVE intent.” He even went ahead to say that anyone who made negative comments about the church was responsible for their comments as that wasn’t his intention. He explained that he had recorded the video for family and friends.
“Is this too modern or should other churches allow the youth to do the same?” Thomas asked, also saying, “If it has offended anyone I apologize.”
“The Story of O.J.” comes forth as the most publicized song in Jay Z’s latest 4:44 album. The song is centered around O.J. Simpson, who was recently paroled after spending years behind bars, a song that also journeys listeners through Jay Z’s experiences through the world of financial literacy. But don’t forget that this very song also has some profanities, including the F and N words.
After facing serious attack from the online community, the church responded through Music leader, John M. Bernard Jr., who clarified the whole thing through a Facebook Live PSA. The leader admitted that the church intentionally used the explicit version of the song, but also added further context explanation, saying, “It was intentional for it to be that way,” and then he added that the dancers “ended their dance presentation with Tasha Cobbs’ ‘Break Every Chain.”