As a white male who has only lived in the predominately white neighborhoods of South Carolina, the farm country of Illinois, and the hill country of New Hampshire; I am unable to relate to what it is like to grow up in the inner-city surrounded by the culture and temptation of gang life. It is hard for me to wrap my head around being a part of a poverty-stricken culture that pushes you to do unspeakable things to find money and acceptance. However, as a Christ-Follower, I am called to love people, care for them, and share Christ with them. Therefore, insight is helpful.
Lecrae, a rapper who is a Christian, has opened us up to his childhood and what it was like for him growing up in the type of environment that many of us only see portrayed in movies. Lecrae opens himself up by sharing the details of being abandoned by his father, being abused, and his roller coaster life choices. Lecrae opens up about some very dark moments of his past but makes it clear that he has been rescued and forgiven by Christ and now he lives to get that same Gospel message out into a world that tries desperately to glamorize the lifestyle he grew up in.
As Lecrae shares his story it becomes very clear that God has called him to be a light in a very specific culture and he challenges his readers to think about their opportunities to share Christ as well. We are Christians who are in a specific environment in which we should be witnesses of the light we have. Lecrae is clear about the calling he has from God:
“I wasn’t some church kid who was trying to be hip-hop because it was cool; I was a kid who grew up in hip-hop who was making music as a Christian.”
Plenty of critics have found Lecrae to be an easy target. Critics of both Christian and non-Christian have given him great grief. However, Lecrae handles his struggle with the critics very well as he describes what his mission is.
This is much more than a story about an African-American kid who grew up to become a rapper. It is about a broken hurting person who found true hope in a Father who would not abandon him. This book is about a hurting soul who found true hope in a relationship with Christ. It is a picture of what our lives should look like as believer’s.
“But more than anything, Lecrae is a child who is unconditionally loved by God. I’m a sinner who has been rescued by God from my brokenness and called to glorify the One who has never left my side.
That’s who Lecrae is, and that’s who I’ll always be.
I would recommend this book to anyone. But especially to those who are working with or wish to work with inner-city ministries. This book is not a how-to on working with inner-city kids, but it is a way to get a glimpse of what these kids are growing up in. For me, this book helped me see how I can better reach out to and pray for those within my own inner-city here in central Illinois.
May you find this book a great resource in not just getting to know a rapper named Lecrae, but that it will challenge you to be a better light in the community you are in right now!
*B&H Publishing has kindly provided me with a copy of Unashamed to give away! Sign-up to follow my blog, share this review, follow me on Twitter (@joshprather) and Facebook in order to win! A name at random will be chosen on Friday (May 6, 2016) from those that follow and share the most! Thanks for reading a sharing!
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