Black Church: A Mix of Faith, Entertainment (CNN Opinion)

I'm lucky enough to have a job that requires me to think, read, write, teach and speak about the intersections of religion, entertainment and popular culture in American society. However, long before I began work as a college professor, I attended a church that placed as much emphasis on entertainment as instilling faith. There was a shared sense that the latter goal (i.e. instilling faith) depended upon an ability to perform the former task (i.e. entertaining). I vividly recall the Sunday in 1985 my father took me to the church bookstore after service to purchase a copy of the first Christian rap CD, "Bible Break" by Stephen Wiley, an Oklahoma-based youth minister/rapper who became a recurring guest at my church's annual youth retreats. By all accounts, my youth leaders sought to "keep it real" even as their real goal was to keep us "saved."

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