Pastor Defends Use of Explicit Jay-Z Song in Service, Says He Curses in Prayer Sometimes TooBlog
The Rev. Marcus Murchinson of Tree of Life Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California, is unapologetic. There is nothing wrong with a few expletives in church, he says, because he knows God can handle it. And he is standing his ground even though he's been getting death threats for his belief.
"The truth is sometimes when I'm praying, my prayers are not 'guide me o thy great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land.' I'm not quoting from the 23rd Psalm. I'm not quoting from Philippians. Sometimes my prayers have explicit language in them. God I am bleep, bleep, bleep upset. And because of that, I learned that God can handle that," Murchinson explained in an interview Monday.
His small church in Watts has been at the center of a viral video storm since one of his now fired drummers posted a recording of three young girls doing what he describes as an avant-garde performance of Jay-Z's "The Story of OJ" from the rapper's platinum album, 4:44,on Sunday, July 30.
"Jay z and Tasha cobs (sic) praise dance in church...What are your thoughts?????" the fired drummer Ben Thompson asked with a flush faced emoji.
In the recording that runs for about 90 seconds, Murchinson's congregation appear to watch in silence as the girls step, twirl and throw faux cash in the air to represent "follies" like wasting money on strippers described by Jay-Z in the lyrics of the song replete with the N-word and other explicit language.
Said Jay-Z in part:
Light n*gga, dark n*gga, faux n*gga, real n*gga
Rich n*gga, poor n*gga, house n*gga, field n*gga
Still n*gga, still n*gga
Light n*gga, dark n*gga, faux n*gga, real nigga
Rich nigga, poor nigga, house nigga, field nigga
Still nigga, still nigga
You wanna know what's more important than throwin' away money at a strip club? Credit
You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it
Financial freedom my only hope
F**k livin' rich and dyin' broke
I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that s**t worth two million
Few years later, that s**t worth eight million
I can't wait to give this s**t to my children
Y'all think it's bougie, I'm like, it's fine
But I'm tryin' to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99
I turned that 2 to a 4, 4 to an 8
I turned my life into a nice first week release date...
"The one thing that's apparent about language is that there's a difference between cursing or using derogatory language and using colloquial language," Murchinson said. "What Jay-Z was using in this particular presentation was not inflammatory or derogatory. He was making a point to just communicate in a colloquial dialect that people understand ... Ain't a word in that song that I don't know myself, that my congregation doesn't know and or have used. So why do we come into God's house and act like we don't know it?"
While the controversial post also included a dance performance by the young girls to Tasha Cobbs' more traditional gospel song "Break Every Chain," it is the performance set to the secular Jay-Z song that has received the most attention. The clip has received nearly 4 million views on Facebook alone as of Tuesday evening, four times the views of the performance set to "Break Every Chain."
And most reactions to the clip do not share Murchison's appreciation for colloquialism in the house of the Lord.
Los Angeles-based Christian entertainer Kevin Fredericks, popularly known as KevOnStage, summarized the pointed criticism from the conservative Christian community in a post on YouTube.