Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the work of James H. Cone and his attempts to bring the Blues and the Church into conversation will be able to appreciate the set-up and designs of both these works. Hip-Hop Redemption is a scholarly, accessible read in which Watkins is honest with his personal doubts, fears, and frustrations with hip-hop culture, especially the themes of unmitigated anger, misogyny, and greed that run rampant in (and threaten to dominate) contemporary hip-hop. Beyond the Four Walls presents Hidalgo as the youth minister that you’d actually want for your teenagers: he’s committed to engaging the world for Christ in a way that makes a difference, and he does this by addressing the needs of the youth in his life in a way that they can relate to (without engaging in facile pandering).
In short, both of these men love hip-hop. Both of them love Jesus. Both of them want to create a world where it entirely possible to be involved in the Church and Hip-Hop in a positive sense, instead of setting up a frustrating and confusing cultural outlier like the holy hip-hop community. For the sake of people like me, I hope that they are quite successful.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Re: sentence # 5 of the above review: I recently read, and was reminded, that God opposes the ‘proud’.
Methinks this is also the next ‘church music battle’. ‘Secular music used in worship’ as a topic is beginning to show up in the most odd places.
This book is really helpful to youth leaders about ministry to this current generation. Thanks for sharing this book names with us.