A Faith Commentary: What We can learn from The R.Kelly Tragedy about- Faith and Morality in A Fallen World

By Don Adams and Gregg L.Greer,  Editor @greer_gregg,| The BAWN SUNDAY

As I spend time watching the sad incidents about the R&B superstar R/Kelly unfold I began to think about the past and the great talent that inspired millions worldwide. My only thought is where did he go so wrong.
Even when R. Kelly was bluntly describing sex over hip-hop beats on his 1993 hit single, “Bump n’ Grind,” you could still hear a hint of gospel music in his voice.

The way the Chicago born would singer hold out certain notes, then squeeze-that hint of gospel influence had became a major ingredient on “R. Kelly” albums that plays down the frank sex talk, pumps up the romantically seductive crooning and opens and closes with hymns.

So what happened to the brother who could so easily put down Gospel and inspirational songs that even inspired the best of any church choir worldwide.

For example-I believe I can Fly was covered by choirs worldwide from preschool to Church! 

So, why is the “R. Kelly” tragedy so underwhelming? Perhaps it’s because Kelly has had so much trouble shifting gears-in his life, but as the star he is we must admit that his life has impacted millions.

In any case-when true spirituality is confused with morality we gradually fall. But, when we know the difference between spirituality and morality we will not confuse them and will follow a higher calling. If we allow the wills of the world to effect us even in our own thoughts we always loose.

Let’s look deeper into this subject;

What is Morality ?

Morality is what’s in the outside of a human being. Everyone sees it. I am not killing, I am not stealing, I respect people, work hard and I am well educated. I am a highly moral person, and don’t let anyone dare to tell me that I am not a morally good person. This is our image of a highly moral person. Isn’t it? This is how more or less we characterize a highly moral person.

Understanding Morality vs a Worldly Standard

But what goals and aspirations does this person have inside? I search for glory. I want to be rich. I want power. I am proud of my achievements. These are self-serving prideful things that are manifest inwardly and are not seen by others and sometimes even by the self.  

Applying Moriarty vs Worldliness in “Kelly’s” example

In opinion, the most reclaimable time that Kelly delivered his best and largest payoff himself is on the album-closing hymn, “Trade In My Life,” a heartfelt cry to his mother, who died of cancer in 1993.

 Backed by a choir directed by young gospel star Kirk Franklin, Kelly begins with the same suave, whispery style that dominates the album as he tells his late mother he’d trade in all his music, all his success, even his life itself, if only he could be reunited with her.

About halfway through the six-minute song, his emotions overtake his cool and his voice begins to rise in pitch and volume into a piercing, uninhibited shout.

According to one 1995 music critic we quote; “if Kelly wanted to do more than sell millions of records to the titillation-starved masses, if he wanted to be remembered as a major soul singer, he needed to integrate his gospel influences more thoroughly into his music.” 

But-it was not enough to just stick a gospel number on the end of a boudoir-music suite; he had to confront the contradictions between his life like the sporting approach to sex and versus how he dealt with religious beliefs.

Although forebears thought you couldn’t sing [both] R&B and spiritual, but I personally have tried rationalized this in his (Kelly’s) terms. By a I can do anything I want and still have my religious beliefs when popular-I tempted God yet instill- My philosophy of life is: Do whatever is best for R.Kelly.”

Part of doing what was best for Robert meant releasing some of the best R&B singles and producing some of the best R&B acts, partying, and everything in between-A life not uncommon for a secular entertainer.  

But In truth I believe Robert Kelly knew that- we are NOT to conform to the pattern of this world. The dictionary defines conform as “to be in agreement or accord.” That means we must turn our backs on what the world may offer us that is not in accordance with the Word of God, especially if the world is condoning blatant sin which God would not want us to participate in. And, we should be transformed which means to change the nature, function, or condition of, by the renewing of our minds.

When something is renewed, we bring it into being, we restore, regain, or replenish.   

Look at this lyric from Trade in my life:

Sittin’ here wonderin’ how did things go wrong
Every night asking myself what happened to our happy home
Will I ever see you again, I need to know my friend
Now the past has gone away but tomorrow’s on it’s way
Though the sun is going down, I need you around
I’m willing to trade in my life  

Said I love my music and I love my fans
But I’ve got to step back
Look at this thing like it sure enough is
Tell me do you remember when we used to say
Everything is in their love tell me

What does it profit a man
To gain the world and lose his soul?
I’m gonna trade it to be with you  

When you read these wonderful, and beautiful lyrics- then you know this song was penned by a person of purpose and change but where passion and good living, money and more is involved -it’s always faith that has to have an impact.

On the other hand, religious reminders should have a documented effect on moral behavior (unless we ignore them). … As a result, our hearts will keep drawing us to that specific task or work. As the day draws closer for you to accomplish and know God’s will for your life, your burden will become heavier until to accomplish it. 

A quote from Bishop Don Adam, of Building God’s Kingdom Network of churches in Chicago, IL.

Faith is knowing God can “Keep you and shelter you from the ways of the world day to day, if we submitted to his will. 

If you run away from God’s will, you will always go back because the burden will not go away. The burden also has love attached and, of course, when we pray for His will to be made known in our lives, He will tell us. As Psalm 143:10 says, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

As people of faith we could never condom or agree with any of the things that Kelly is accused of, but also as Christians we can pray for him and ask that this time brings a change of heart in him.

Just as R.Kelly is in humbling season, so are you and I. To avoid certain destruction-we must submit and yield not to the world but to God. In truth with Great Power comes greater responsibility.

Further Reference: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-meaning-of-membership-and-church-accountability

This article is the Six Part of the Series Building God’s Kingdom Series on Organic Discipleship: A book of this series will be released in May of 2019 


Bishop Gregg L. Greer a Public Speaker, Pastor, Social Activist, and the Editor of the Black America World News and the Faith and Leadership Journal. Greer is the Founder of Freedom First International a human rights NGO.  Pastor of Faith Journey International Ministries. He has written extensively about Faith, civil rights, and the intersection of economics and politics. His stories have also appeared in The Huffington Post,CNNApolitical America,and he is a frequent commentator on MSNBC online. His first book, Fighting for Human Rights is scheduled for release in Summer 2019Listen to Greers radio podcast at OneWorld Talks -if you are interested in interviews from him, you can email oneworldtoday@gmail.com His website is www.gregglgreer.com


Bishop Don Adams is a Senior Pastor-He is also a Contributing Writer to the Faith and Leadership Journal. Bishop Adams is the Founder, & General Overseer at Building God’s Kingdom International Ministries.
Founding member of VP of Freedom First International a human rights NGO.  Adams is the Founder Pastor of Changing Minds Ministries based out of Chicago, IL. Bishop Adams uses many resources and tools at his beckoning including-Praise and Worship as well as Expository Preaching.Bishop Adams can be heard on the Radio Show Building Gods Kingdom where he host with Dr. Mustafa Williams. If you are interested in interviews from him, you can email:  bishopdonadams@yahoo.com

Bishop Don Adams
Bishop Don Adams



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