Why Frank Ocean Makes Me Think About The Church


Last night, while watching Frank Ocean’s bizarre performance at the Grammy’s, I found myself thinking about the Church.


Ocean’s strange tribute to “Forrest Gump” had me wondering if all the hype surrounding him is undeserved.

To be honest, I wasn’t all too familiar with Ocean’s work. However, I was intrigued. I was interested to view his performance because of all the praises I’ve heard about Ocean and his music.

And, Ocean has a pretty incredible story! That is part of the reason I was so intrigued. In the midst of the hip hop genre, Frank Ocean came out regarding his sexuality. That took a great deal of strength and courage. I admired his honesty. He has done his best to hold his head high in the midst of mixed reactions (some applaud his courage, and then there is Chris Brown…enough said).

With all of the hype…with the story…I was eagerly anticipating my first exposure to Frank Ocean. I wanted to find out if the hype was deserved or if it was simply generated due to his story.

And, then, last night happened.

As I watched his performance, I kept waiting for his greatness to shine. I kept expecting this enormous breakout of incredible music. Instead, I was met with an uninspired, “pitchy” at best, performance. It really is a bad sign when I’m more impressed with your imagery than your music.

I found myself hoping that Kanye West would rush the stage and make an ass out of himself in order to save Ocean.

At the end, I found myself not wanting anything more to do with Frank Ocean. I found myself cheering against him throughout the remainder of the awards show (unlike SPIN magazine, I was glad Mumford & Sons won!). I was greatly disappointed. And, I found myself questioning the judgment of friends and music writers I once respected for their pro-Ocean views.

And, this is exactly when I began thinking about the Church…

Like Ocean, we have a great story. Even though there are growing numbers of “nones”, there are still people interested in Jesus, the Church, and Christianity.

Like Ocean, there is a lot of hype and even some praise surrounding the Church. Some are intrigued and interested in finding out what the Church is all about.

And, then those interested individuals visit a church. Sometimes it is a wonderful experience. However, sometimes it is bizarre, strange, uninspired, and “pitchy”. Sometimes people walk away from a church gathering wondering, “what in the heck just happened?”

Ocean’s performance reminded me that we should be good stewards of our great story. People should at least walk away seeing our passion, our love, our joy…they should be convinced of our commitment to the story. But, is that what happens?

When people check out your church, do they walk away wanting more or do they simply walk away?


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