Words of peace with urban beat
Rap inpsires title for MCC resource on peacemakingBy Marla Pierson Lester Mennonite Central Committee
AKRON, Pa. — Cruz Cordero still recalls how stunned he was the first time he heard a hip-hop artist rapping about Christian faith.
In the hip-hop world the 16-year-old Cordero knew, Christianity was not popular, and he knew the artist would be ostracized for promoting it. He wondered why rapping about God was worth that. And that started him wondering about God.
For Cordero, now 30, the encounter sparked a journey that has led him to ponder what it means to live as a Christian and to spread the message of peace that Christ offers.
Cordero’s is one of many voices featured on a new Mennonite Central Committee DVD about peacemaking, Thermostat: How Can We Turn Toward Peace in a Time of Fear?
The DVD uses Bible stories, role plays, rap, dramatic readings, poetry and personal accounts to encourage intergenerational conversation and learning about peacemaking, war and Christian conscience.
A study guide organizes three hours of video into 33 study units on themes such as peacemaking, imagination, allegiance, security, military recruitment and nonviolence.
The title comes from a rap by Cordero, in which he suggests peacemakers must not only reflect the temperature or situation around them, but work to change or regulate their environment.
“If it is warm outside, the mercury of the thermometer goes up,” Cordero said on the video. “Well, thermostats are different… . Thermostats regulate the surroundings. If the surrounding is cold, then the thermostat is going to change the surrounding depending upon how the thermostat is set.
“As Christians we should be thermostats in our society. We should be transforming and changing the climate of our culture rather than being conformed by it.”
Cordero, of Philadelphia, became a Christian as a teenager after hearing Christian rap. He started attending Diamond Street Mennonite Church. As he asked more questions about who Mennonites were, he delved deeper into the church’s peace stance.
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