Resurrection and 1 Corinthians 15: Beyond Tupac Holograms

Not sure if you have heard or seen about Tupac’s recent performance with Snoop. Nope, you didn’t misread anything, and yes I meant to say Tupac. Tupac, the one in whom there has always been urban myths surrounding his death, which has led some to believe he is still alive. Yup, that Tupac! In a somewhat creepy manner, Snoop and Dre paid a premium to have their old friend perform once again with them live, by hologram. I can’t lie, it was pretty impressive. It was also very eerie to see someone we all (or most of us) know is dead on stage performing, with life like movement, traversing across the stage, and getting the crowd hype. Regardless of whether you agree with this action or not, certainly we can all understand the desire to bring back such a legendary and almost mythic hip hop artist. Tupac, in many ways, has become a larger figure after his death than when he was still living. He is considered to be hip hop’s pinnacle cultural prophet of the 90’s in the mind of most hip hoppers with any collective memory that reaches back before the turn of the 21st century. However, the reality is that Tupac is gone, and in many ways, there continues to be a hole and vacuum in the hip hop world that has not been filled by most of our contemporary mainstream hip hop artists. The hologram is impressive, but if anything it ultimately brings our attention to the reality that he is truly gone and that he is missed, rather than that some measure has speciously fooled us into believing he has come back to life.

I’ve been reading 1 Corinthians 15 a lot recently. It has been consuming my mental faculties for various reasons recently. If 1 Corinthians 13 is the Love chapter, then chapter 15 should likewise be deemed the Resurrection chapter.

Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. (1 Cor. 15:1-8)

What is important to note, as Paul rehearses the gospel which was passed down to him, is that the emphasis and launching point is the resurrection rather than Jesus’ death. The whole chapter is the outflow of Jesus’ resurrection. Notice also that Paul is initially interested in Jesus’ appearance to his disciples, the crowds, and ultimately even to him after his resurrection. However, Jesus’ resurrection, unlike Tupac’s hologram, is one that offers hope not despair. Tupac’ hologram is a reminder of our fleeting mortality, our brief visitation in these decaying bodies. Jesus’ resurrection, in contrast, points us towards hope beyond death.

For Christ’s resurrection is the first fruit of the resurrection that we will join him in (15:20). Jesus’ resurrection, was a physical and tangible reality, despite what some liberals have argued from within the confines of modernity’s limited theological vision and faith-killing enlightenment approaches to logic and reasoning. It was in the firm conviction of Jesus’ resurrection that people were able to risk everything and to be fashioned after Jesus, the prototype of a new humanity (15:49). Similarly, the oppressive threat of death, a favorite weapon of imperial and oppressive powers and forces in our world, no longer has any teeth in its bite (15:54-56). Disciples subversively rejected the Roman Empire has having rule over their life, because only the Messiah and his Kingdom were granted that. Likewise, we can also live with radical postures, as we reject false claims to the reigns over our lives, because nothing that can be done to us will pass through death to the other side. So we can speak boldly and say “No” to “God and Country” and simultaneously say “Yes” to “God and His Kingdom”. And if we say we reject the reign of America over us and accept the reign of God’s Kingdom over us, then we also embody those eternal realities right now as we begin to participate in the Kingdom of justice, peace, and righteousness that has centralized the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed at the Lord’s table.

Our new found resurrection boldness allows us to defy the social order, the status quo, and the dominant culture’s power plays. We should no longer be bamboozled into the belied lies of the ephemeral mainstream. Tupac’s hologram was neat, but nonetheless impermanent and death-dealing. Jesus’ resurrection offers us a game-changing imperishability and a life-giving hope the world needs.

“Without Ceasing”

The amount of hours that the average person consumes media and communication through TV, Computer/Internet, Mp3’s, radio, and cell phones are astronomical.  Many teens express that their social lives would end if they no longer had their phones.  Most of us feel that we NEED these things and can’t go with out them.  If we were to leave the house and drive for 20 minutes and then realize that we forgot our phone at home, most of us would turn back around to get it.  Media and technology are a 24/7 constant part of many of our lives. The unconscious motto many live by is “media and technology without ceasing”.

If we were to leave the house without communion with God, would we turn around to correct the situation.  Is God a life line that we can not go without.  Do you feel like you NEED  constant communication with God?  The apostle Paul calls us to “pray without ceasing”.  It is the constant awareness and communion with God everywhere we go.  What connection is most important for you, staying connected with technology and media or staying connected with God who is the only source of life-giving sustenance?

How are you balancing your life in the midst of Facebook, texting, farmville, wikipedia, google, skype, TV, Ipod, netflix, and your free mobile to mobile calling plan? Freestyle with me…

We Are The World 2010

I liked the new version overall… but to be honest, I thought Lil Wayne, and some of the other brothas using autotune to sing was real weak. Not trying to sound like an old man, but we are the world ought to have been about talent.  The black R&B singers represented well, aside from Wyclef, Kanye, and Will.I.AM, the rappers were whack (don’t get me started on that corny rap chant)!  What u think, freestyle with me…

Freestyle TV

Just wanted to make sure people were not sleep’n on Freestyle TV.  There are a few videos available to be watched.  Also from time to time you can catch live footage provided through the technology of Qik.com and my cell phone.  Enjoy the videos and let me know what ya think!

Freestyle TV… tonight

Keep your eye on the Freestyle TV page. Tonight I will capture some live footage of an event called HANG out, which will include Holy Hip Hop performances from local Philly artists. Ill be taking video at various points between 7 and 10pm. Enjoy it live and in freestyle or later at your own convenience.