LONDON — A congregation in London is raising eyebrows over its practice of quoting from celebrities such as Kanye West on their outdoor blackboard rather than Scripture as a way to attract attendees.
“You’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes,” read a recent quote outside of St. Andrew’s Church in Hornchurch, London, attributing the lyric to rapper Kanye West, who also goes by Yeezus.
“Someone will always be prettier. Someone will always be smarter. Someone will always be younger. But they will never be you,” another sign read.
As previously reported, West, who is married to Playboy cover model Kim Kardashian, the step-daughter of Bruce Jenner, is known for songs such as the lofty “I Am a God,” “Drunk and Hot Girls,” “Hold My Liquor” and “Jesus Walks.”
“I just talked to Jesus/He said, ‘What up Yeezus?’/ I said, “[Expletive], I’m chilling/Trying to stack these millions,” West raps in “I Am a God.” “I know He’s the Most High/But I am a close high/… I am a god.”
The sign quoting from West’s song “Only One,” a collaboration with Paul McCartney, was chosen because of its message, leader Barry Hobson told the publication Complex.
“The quote was chosen not because of who wrote it but because of the content of the comment,” he said. “The quote ‘You’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes’ reflects the value that Christianity, and in particular Jesus, and places on the understanding of what it is to be human. … In short, I found Kanye West’s comment quite insightful.”
63-year-old volunteer Terry Keens chalks lyrics on the blackboard as she regularly selects quotes from celebrities and various world religions, “thinking their messages can be applied to Christianity, and that it’s a more effective and inclusive way of getting people through the door than quoting Scripture,” reports the London Telegraph.
“You walk by churches and they have quotes from the Bible and people don’t take any notice,” Keens told the outlet. “Hopefully people might walk past and want to visit our church because we don’t seem stuffy.”
“I have tried to keep up with the times as if you just have church Bible quotes it puts people off,” she also told the Daily Mail.
Keens said that she selected West because she likes “to get quotes from other people which hold church values like love and peace.”
Hobson said that his favorite of the nearly 300 quotes that Keens has written on the sign is “Jesus had two dads and He turned out fine.” But not everyone thought the sign was acceptable as some passersby expressed concern and objection to the assertion, which served as support for children being raised by homosexuals.
Quotes from Winnie the Pooh, Winston Churchill, Gandhi and Spongebob Squarepants have also been utilized.
While some have expressed support for the signs in stating that they like that the messages are not “preachy,” others have conveyed deep concern.
“So this particular ‘church’ wants to be seen as modern and relevant in today’s world. They ditch the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ — as it doesn’t interest people today. They stop quoting verses from the Bible — a book they say they believe. They then start to quote from anything but the Bible. It is a wonder that they don’t start quoting from the Book of Mormon or some other religious book,” one commenter wrote.
“So the [minister] is going for quantity and not quality. Surely [when] a so-called Christian minister puts the words of a narcissistic rapper who fancies himself above Jesus in place of the Gospel message, he is is more than a fool,” another stated.
“Not that long ago the Church of England saw its mission in spreading the Gospel and preaching Christ’s salvation — instead of spreading some Kanye West drivel. In the long run however, the likes of Hobson will see that if you want to live just like everyone else in the secular world, you don’t need a religious institution to help you feel good about it. Until then this ex-church will continue to deliver everything a secularized and bored public clamors for,” a third remarked.