James Meehan - Should Christians Cancel Lil Nas X?
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Vince Parker: Well, welcome back to Cultural Makers. And today we're talking. Should Christians cancel Lil NAS X? James, let's not hesitate. Let's not wait. Let's dive right in. I'm your host Vince Parker. And again with me always, the great, the awesome James. We have James, how you doing?
James Meehan: I'm doing wonderful. I feel like this is your best intro yet.
Vince Parker: Is it good?
James Meehan: It's fantastic.
Vince Parker: Well then we'll keep moving. We have been texting all weekend, right?
James Meehan: Yeah, we have.
Vince Parker: Right. The first text I got, I'm away, I'm visiting some friends in Phoenix. I get a text that says, 'Hey, have you seen this'? And I looked at the article and I'm like, Whoa, Little NAS X releases a Satan sneaker.
James Meehan: Yep.
Vince Parker: I think we gotta, get facts first.
James Meehan: Yeah, yeah.
Vince Parker: So here's the facts behind it. Little NAS X and a company known as MSCHF, M-S-C-H-F is how they actually spell it.
James Meehan: Come on. Because if you use vowels, it's not even cool anymore.
Vince Parker: Not even cool anymore.
James Meehan: Should we cancel vowels?
Vince Parker: No.
James Meehan: Oh okay, sorry. Continue.
Vince Parker: What would Vanna White do? Okay.
James Meehan: None of them are gonna understand that reference.
Vince Parker: Look it up. They are known for making products that are just weird and unique that are out there.
James Meehan: Yep. And so what they did is them and Little NAS X. I'm not sure who went to who. I'm not sure on that.
Vince Parker: Sure.
James Meehan: But basically they decided to collaborate on the sneaker. And they chose a Nike Air Max and MSCHF just bought a whole bunch of Air Maxes. So Nike has nothing to do with this at all. It's like going to IHOP buying a bunch of pancakes and putting your logo on it, right? They're IHOP pancakes, but IHOP didn't know what you were doing with the shoes. You just purchased the pancakes. So Nike has nothing to do with this at all other than someone purchased their product and customized it.
— Now the crazy thing is MSCHF actually did this about a year and a half ago, with the Jesus' shoe.
— Interesting. Yeah.
— Right? Same concept except for they injected the sole with Holy Water.
— But now here we are about a year and a half later and Lil NAS X, Satan sneaker. It's crazy. Let's talk about it.
— The internet is blowing up.
— Right. It's insane. Like I found a hundred texts like, "Hey are you gonna stop wearing Nike's"? My first response was Nike has nothing to do with this.
— And then they were like, what do you think about it? And I was like, from what I can see this seems like a hurting young man.
— Right. Like the things that he's post is like, "Yeah I was hurt by rude people and I just wanna hurt them back".
— And there's a video that released behind it from one of his new songs.
— And in the video I believe he's wearing the shoes. I didn't watch the video. I know I watch everything else, but I just I was like, "You know what? I'm not watching this video".
— Yeah. This was the line.
— This is the line.
— Now three and a half hours of the Grammys. Not too far, but that video, you don't need to watch it. But from what I've heard, you made the right choice.
— Yeah. James, what are your thoughts?
— Yeah. I mean, I think, initially when this all happened I didn't really have a lot of thoughts because I knew that more information was gonna come out about the shoe, about the story behind it. And it was you actually, who sent me a screenshot of one of Little Nas X tweets, where he talked about how the reason he released the shoe was meant to be a response to the hurt that he felt from Christians when he was growing up because of part of who he is and the things that he had done and choices that he had made. He had received a lot of hate and judgment and condemnation from Christians. And so in order to basically like get back at the people who had hurt him, he decided, you know what now that I've got an influence and a platform I'm going to release these shoes. And, for you know lack of a better term I'm gonna let all heck break loose, right?
— Interesting. Yeah.
— And what's honestly so heartbreaking to me is that for so many of us as Christians we have responded in a way that has basically justified the things that he thought about us. Because as a young man growing up, what he experienced from Christians was condemnation, judgment and hate. And after releasing these shoes, what has he gotten mostly from Christians. Condemnation, judgment and hate. And so we're asking the question, should Christians cancel Lil NAS X? And my philosophy on this is man, if cancel culture isn't a good thing when people we like are being canceled then we probably shouldn't use cancel culture against the people that we don't like. And this is something that I'm so passionate about because the fact of the matter is that for those of us who call ourselves Christians we have dedicated our lives to our risen and crucified King. Literally, Jesus, wasn't just canceled. The dude was crucified, right? And while Jesus is being murdered on a cross he's not praying Father cancel these people. He's praying Father forgive them because they don't even know what they're doing. And so as this story is developing and it's evolving and more information is coming out, my heart honestly is just breaking because this is a dude who was hurt by Christians. And in response to that hurt he experienced so many years ago now that he has influence in a platform he's trying to hurt Christians back. And we're just giving him all of the justification he could ask for to do it. And it just makes me wonder, man how different would his story and his life be if when he was younger, instead of receiving condemnation, judgment and hate from Christians, he received grace, compassion and love? You know, the things that we say we're all about.
— Because the Jesus that we follow isn't a Jesus who on this cross tried to cancel the people who were killing him. He was a Jesus who willingly laid his life down for the good of others. And so the thing that honestly has been really eyeopening for me is the fact that as Christians we can get so caught up in the ways of the world that we forget the way of Jesus. And man, I just think about how different our world would be if those of us who claim the name of Jesus would actually follow the way of Jesus. And here's the thing, do I agree with these shoes? Not a chance.
— No, I'm not wearing those same sneakers.
— I'm not wearing those shoes, but that doesn't mean that I'm gonna demonize the person who released them. Because to be a follower of Jesus is to be the kind of person that loves others, regardless of what they've done, regardless of the things that they've said, regardless of who they are, because that Jesus died for me when I was still a sinner. And so for those of us who are Christians, honestly what I think we can learn from this is when we claim the name of Jesus and yet ignore the way of Jesus what we're actually doing is we are misrepresenting the Jesus that we say that we follow and how different would our world be if we really took Jesus seriously and showed his love to people like Little Nas X who are hurting and in their hurt are lashing out at us. Because the Jesus that we follow, didn't say, "Hey, you know what you should do? You should love the people who you like and hate the people that you don't".
— He didn't, he didn't say that.
— No. He said Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. When somebody slaps you on one cheek, turn them to the other and let them slap that as well because that's the Jesus that we follow.
— And this is a perfect example of how to do that. But yet our response not all of us...
— Sure, right. Right not everybody.
— But a few, man, they're just, it's crazy.
— And I think that's the thing that's so heartbreaking is I know that there are a lot of Christians who are quietly praying for Lil Nas X, who are quietly doing their best to serve other people who are in pain. The problem is, is that often times we're really really loud with what we disagree about and we're really loud with our condemnation. When in reality I think what Jesus modeled is being the kind of person who's willing to get your hands dirty and wash the feet of the people that are around you. Literally Jesus washed the feet of Judas the dude who was about to betray him and that didn't change Jesus's disposition towards him. So, yeah.
— So when you think about this at the end of the day they're gonna be some people who do things that you wholeheartedly disagree with, right? And I'm not a fan, dislike, not about Satan shoes.
— Good clarification. Yeah.
— Just not about that.
— I also am not a fan of those.
— Just to clarify. I'm not a fan of Satan shoes.
— But people need the love of Jesus.
— Come on.
— Not the hate of people.
— Come on.
— And our response to people who do things that may seem evil or not right shouldn't be hate, they should be loved like Christ has loved us.
— Come on, 100 percent.
— And so, man, that's crazy. But we got more to talk about today.
— Yeah we do. We're just getting started.
— Just getting started. Okay. So here's the deal. We're gonna jump in. Let's talk NBA specifically the Brooklyn Nets. They have formed a super team. So I'm gonna say these names and let me know what you think. Okay we got James Harden?
— Kevin Durant.
— Come on.
— Kyrie Irving.
— Come on.
— Joe Harris.
— Come on.
— DeAndre Jordan, Jeff Green and Blake Griffin are all on the same team.
— Come on! It's the Avengers.
— I think they're gonna win a championship. What do you think with that level of talent? Is that enough to stop LeBron James?
— Oh man. I don't know, I mean.
— 'Cause all those people have been formed to stop LeBron James...
— I mean this is...
— In 36 roll, LeBron James.
— Well, so what I'm hearing you say is that LeBron James is the phantose of the NBA.
— That's gonna be a T-shirt. Let's go.
— And it takes all of the Avengers assembled to bring him down. Come on. But what if he gets the infinity stones?
— The Lakers have added some additional pieces.
— Yeah, yeah.
— LeBron's injured at the time of recording this video. So hope he should be back by then.
— So you're saying The Lakers are kind of like the Fantastic Four?
— Okay. All right.
— Comic books, movies. Less than a comment, who do you think is gonna win the NBA finals? Still got a lot of basketball to play but we'll go from there. Next up baseball kicking off April 1st. Do you watch baseball at all? Opening day?
— Nope. Not a chance.
— Okay. Then we'll just move on. If you watch baseball, do me a favor let us know, who's your favorite team?
— Come on.
— Why is it your favorite team? And is it okay to wear baseball hats of teams that aren't your favorite but the hat is cool?
— Oh, that's a great question.
— Yeah, because I was wearing an LA hat this weekend and someone said, "You're a Dodgers fan". And I said, "No, I've just been to LA".
— And what did they say? They were like, "Oh, that's weird". So, do you wear hats of teams that you don't?
— So I don't wear hats because I got this gnarly cowlick. And if I wear a hat...
— What'd you call that?
— Cow-Lick, put it together, cowlick.
— Okay. Gotcha.
— Have you ever heard that?
— I don't. No, don't have one.
— Next up. Now James, I know you're not on TikTok.
— Come on. Not a chance.
— But I know you pay attention to things that are happening, right?
— It's so addicting
— It is. It'll get you. You'll be like. Just, you know, did you know Kat and Mike broke up?
— Yeah, unfortunately I just heard about this which like I said, I'm not on TikTok, but my wife and I actually love watching their specific videos. I think my wife has TikTok on her phone.
— And that's probably how we watch them. And so we've watched a ton of their videos and I think it's hilarious. And as we were watching their videos, we started to find out more and more about their story, which was to us this, like really cool story of a relationship that started in not the best circumstances, but developed into what appeared to be from the outside looking in a really beautiful marriage. And so when I heard about them choosing to separate, honestly it's just, it sucked. I hate hearing stuff like that. And there's not a lot of details as to what led to that decision, but man, it just, my heart breaks for them.
— So Kat and Mike, we're praying for you.
— We know God works all things that's good. But yeah, it's hard to hear things like that. Even when it feels distant because it's on social media, and you've never met them.
— But they can have an impact on us. But we'll be praying for them. And we've got some questions from some of our viewers up there. You guys have been asking amazing questions. So here we go, continue to ask the questions. We want to answer them for you. First question is from MacKenzie.
— All right, James, are you ready for this? This is a doozy. How do you stop being anxious when you're talking with people about God?
— That is a fantastic question. I think that for the most part when you're first stepping into some of those conversations you're gonna be a little bit nervous. You're gonna be a little bit anxious, right? Like as somebody who's on staff as a pastor at a church there are still times where I get nervous because what I'm thinking about is man, I wanna make sure that I don't say something dumb, so that if I invite this person to church or I share their faith with them, they won't get the wrong impression, right. Because I'm an human being with insecurities just like that. But the reality is, is that the more of those conversations I have, the more I realized that that nervousness and anxiousness is totally misplaced. And one of things that I found really fascinating is I don't remember where I read it or where I listened to it. But a long time ago I heard somebody that was talking about how the nervousness/anxiousness that we feel is actually our body priming itself to perform at a higher level. Like it helps us be more focused. It helps us be more intentional. It gives us more energy. And so it's this really fascinating thing that oftentimes we can see nervousness or anxiousness as a bad thing. And that is literally your body preparing you to perform at a high level. So when I get nervous I have learned to kind of reframe that as, oh, this is my body preparing itself to perform well in something that is important. And I think there are few things more important than us sharing our faith with others because the reality is, is that we get to share the best news in history.
— The news that that 2000 years ago, coming up Easter weekend, this weekend, if you don't have a church make sure you check out life.church online. I don't actually know what the website is, they changed it recently.
— Wow. Links in the bio, but check it out below.
— Easter weekend, we are celebrating the greatest news in history that our King Jesus did not stay dead. And we get to share that with others because when we enter into a relationship with Jesus, that changes everything. We have a new identity we're adopted into a new family. And we were given the purpose of bringing the good news of Jesus to every corner of creation. So all that being said I know, I didn't really like tell you how to not be nervous but I think being nervous is actually okay.
— It's okay.
— And I think it can be a good thing because the reason you're nervous is because this thing is important to you. It matters and your body is preparing you to be more focused and hopefully to do it well.
— And if you've just practice the more you talk about it.
— Come on.
— I think the less anxious you'll be about it and the more excited you'll be about it. Next up, LeShaye Miller. James, are you ready for this one? How do you decide on your career when you're still in school?
— Wonderful question, LeShaye. I think that the pressure that a lot of young people feel to figure out their life while they're still in high school can be a little bit difficult to overcome. And so what I would say is know that you don't have to know for sure what you're gonna do yet. So for me personally, I was absolutely convinced for probably my whole life that I was gonna go into the military after high school. Well, my senior year of high school all of a sudden I thought, you know what? I don't know if that's actually what I want to do. I think I want to be an English teacher. Well then along the journey, I thought, you know what maybe instead of being an English teacher I should be a UFC fighter 'cause I trained mixed martial arts for years and I absolutely loved it. And I was like, you know, even if I can't make it as a pro UFC fighter at least I could start a mixed martial arts gym and coach other people and that would be a blast. But in addition to that, I should probably be a firefighter because that would be dope. And everybody loves firefighters. So I went on this journey of trying to figure out what the heck do I want to do with my life. That eventually landed with me working on staff at a church as a pastor. So I can give you that context to say, you don't have to have it all figured out now. What I would encourage you to do is to ask yourself a few questions to help you narrow the focus on what it is that you're called to do. So I like these four questions. I stole them from somebody else. So don't give me credit. But the first question you gotta ask is, what do I love doing?
— That's good.
— The second question, what am I good at? The third question, what does the world need? And then the fourth question, what can I make a living doing? That one's like pretty important.
— You gotta take care of yourself, right?
— Right. And so if you're trying to identify your calling, what is it you should do with your life? I would ask those four questions. And when you find something that is able to answer all four of those questions, I think you'll be a little bit closer to identifying what a potential career for you could be. So those questions are number one, what are you good at? Number two, what do you love? Three, what does the world need? And then number four, what can you make a living doing? And through answering those questions I think it'll help you get a little bit closer to answering your question.
— Very good question. Last one, James, are you ready?
— This one is from Lexi who's actually a Switch Online volunteer. Shout out to Lexi, switch online volunteers out there.
— SwitchOnline.life.church. Is that the right one?
— Shameless plug.
— Yeah. It is shameless.
— Yes. Here we go. Here's the question. She says, how do I put up boundaries, while still being nice? She says, she feels like every time she tries to do that she just comes across rude.
— I don't think I can answer this, this the story of my life.
— You do. Okay. I think this is a fantastic question and it's a difficult question, right? Because when we're putting up boundaries to create some space between us and others to make sure that we're not allowing other people to disrespect us and we're also respecting them in that process, it can be a little bit difficult to navigate that conversation, because at some point putting up boundaries requires us to tell people, no. And I don't know about you, but I am a hardcore people pleaser. I want people to like me
— Really? Okay.
— And as a young person I was told over and over again, "Hey, if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all". And so it led to this belief that I can either tell the truth or keep a friend. You can't do both, which is so far from reality. And so I've had to go through this process of to figure out how do I lovingly say no? How do I lovingly put boundaries in place? How do I in the process of putting boundaries model who it is that God's called me to be? I will say one of my favorite books of all time, it's by a guy named Dale Carnegie written like 80 years ago. It's called How To Win Friends And Influence People. And it is just a masterclass on how to be kind to people and also tell the truth. And so, again, it takes wisdom it takes discernment depending on situation but that's a resource that might be helpful for you. Vince, you probably have more expertise on this 'cause you're probably actually way better at this than I am.
— Oh man. This is how boundaries was first explained to me.
— Yeah, yeah.
— Okay, this is gonna sound crazy. But this is how a mentor of mine explained it to me. They said, let's say you're on the phone with someone, right? Let's say this person, you're on the phone with chooses to start cursing you out. Don't ask me why the explained it to me this way. It's this way, this way.
— That's good, that's good. They said, what if you just simply said to them, "Hey, here's the deal. If you choose to continue to curse me out I'm going to have to hang up the phone". And so what boundaries does is you actually give people an option to choose.
— That's good, man.
— And they're the ones making the decision. You're not making the decision. You're just letting them know that whatever way they choose to go down here's what's gonna happen. So, A, we can continue the conversation without you cursing me out. Or B, you can continue to curse me out but I'm not gonna be on the phone anymore. And so you need to understand that when you have boundaries set in place if you present them in a way that's an option to people and let them make the choice it's actually not you making the decision. They made decision for you. But if you just walk, if you just hang up the phone...
— Right, yeah, yeah.
— Then that comes the crossroads, 'cause they have no idea what they just got hung up on.
— But if you let them know, "Hey, here's the deal. I don't like being cursed at. If you wanna continue to do that I need to hang up the phone".
— Come on.
— Then again, they have ownership. Most times I think we might come across rude because we don't present the opportunity for them to be owners of what they're doing that disturbs us. So we have to let them be owners of what disturbs us.
— Write that down. Rewind. Listen to it again. 'Cause I'm gonna have to. 'Cause I'm taking notes, in school.
— James, It's been a crazy day.
— Yeah, yeah.
— Lots of fun conversations.
— Insane. So remember this man, we love you guys.
— We're excited to be here for you each and every week. Like, Share, comment, put your questions below. Do all the algorithm things. James, anything you need to add?
— No, nothing else. That was fantastic.
— All right see you later.