Linsanity! Part 2: Ex-Ruff Ryders Rapping & Asian-American Christianity

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More Linsanity!  Last night Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to a stunning victory over the Lakers–featuring the NBA’s second-best player, Kobe Bryant–and Lin scored 38 points (!).  I don’t know if you care about sports, but that is truly astonishing.  This is a player who was just about to be waived two weeks ago.  That would have been his third cut of the year.  Instead, he is igniting Madison Square Garden, dropping unreal numbers on the vaunted Lakers, and inspiring people all over the place.  Here’s more, by the way, on his strong evangelical faith (it’s a few years old).

This is truly Tebow-like; what is the Lord up to with sports these days?  As the culture turns its back on him, I suppose he may be testifying of his world-overcoming greatness in the unlikeliest of people, including forgotten athletes.

The rapper Jin tha MC, formerly of the DMX-led hip-hop collective Ruff Ryders, is a professing Christian who just recorded a song about Lin, the Knick wunderkind.  The song is linked above and is very good (with thanks to my Boyce student Danielle DeVault).  You can see Jin’s natural rapping talent, and the lyrics are quite good as well.  Here’s more on Jin’s very strange transition from sharing the stage with DMX, one of the biggest rap stars of the 90s, to evangelical.

See this if life to me to you it’s entertainment
its quite intricate and only I can explain it
to say I’ve come a long way would be an understatement
the moment of truth every single one is savored
chasing greatness not the pressure that it came with
far from picture perfect observe as I paint it
dealing with the games highs and lows
you win some you lose some yeah I suppose
but when the sweet smell of victory is by my nose
I see whats goin’ on even when my eyes are closed
guarantee you’re not stoppin’ me or blockin’ me
all I need is one shot promised you’ll be shocked to see
the outcome I don’t just play to win
everytime I lace up yeah I play for Him
doin’ my all to make sure that Your glory is known
while they fighting for the title see the King on His throne

John Starke just pointed me to a nice article from the NYT on Lin’s effect on Asian-American Christians.  Here’s a funny snatch that relates as much to gender as to ethnicity:

Many of them were not even basketball fans. Jay Kim, 29, had not watched the Knicks since they were in the N.B.A.finals more than a decade ago. Greg Wong, one of the night’s organizers, admitted to falling asleep when he watches sports.

“I don’t even follow football,” one woman said. “Wait, this isn’t football.”

I certainly can’t speak for Asian-American evangelicals, but I am thrilled that an athlete from this heritage is thriving and capturing the nation’s attention.  It is my earnest hope that this little ripple in the culture leads to a greater voice for Asian-Americans in evangelicalism.  That is a very needed development, in my limited estimation.  I would love to hear more from Asian-Americans on this point, so if you’re inclined, sound off in the comments.  Is “Linsanity” a good development on this front?  What can be done to give Asian-American Christians a greater voice in the church?

In the meantime, may Jeremy Lin only continue to thrive.  This is thrilling for sports fans in general and Christian sports fans who love an underdog more specifically.  From every tribe and tongue, we are the people, after all, who have in God’s mysterious grace left all we have to follow the ultimate underdog, Jesus Christ, God in human flesh.


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