Kim Burrell's New Gospel of Love

Feature

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gospel singer Kim Burrell's turn toward love songs has caused an uproar in the church. Gospel singer Kim Burrell's turn toward love songs has caused an uproar in the church.
(Jito Lee for Lewis Agency New York)

Kim Burrell’s gospel runs deep. Her father was a pastor, her mother an evangelist, and Burrell grew up singing in the Church of God in Christ. She’s one of the most influential younger singers in gospel, but her turn toward love songs has caused an uproar in the church. Her new release, The Love Album — the cover is hot pink — features Burrell’s interpretations of traditional gospel alongside covers of Earth Wind & Fire and Debarge.

There’s a suspicion of crossover in the gospel community; as Shirley Caesar, the Grammy-winning legend, puts it, the concern is artists who “cross over without taking the cross with them." She has contempt for those who would sweep the message under the rug: “The Bible said He would spew you out of his mouth.” But Burrell thinks the wall between sacred and secular music needs to be breached. Can Burrell, born and raised in the church and now a pastor herself, teach the flock a few things about the power of a love song?

How do you feel about proselytizing in pop music? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

Video: Kim Burrell's "Sweeter"
The video for Kim Burrell's "Sweeter," from The Love Album, has drawn criticism from some in the gospel community, who question what type of love Burrell has in mind.

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Contributors:

Eddie Robinson

Comments [24]

Gtoliver from SanDiegoCa

All of the comments are very interesting.. Scripture says God is Love and perfect love cast out fear. The commission for us(christians),the disciplined ones is to go out to the highways and byways and compell them to come. Scripture says you shall know them by their fruit...I believe since we are called to discern and not judge... why not become fruit inspectors as we are called to be? I believe God through his incredible grace is greatly pleased with us when we are living the Christ life..and not just a bird that parrots the name of Jesus ...yet lives a life contrary to Christ. Instead of being religious...self righteous...an accuser...a hater...try being a righteous and wonderful fruit,supplier,inspector and cultivator. You go KimB on your God assignment...gtoliver

Aug. 17 2014 07:03 AM
Courtney Walters from Serria Vista AZ

There is a boundary when it comes to music. Thats why they all have names such as Gospel,Blues,Rap etc. People want to start mixing all kinds of music together selling out i call it. You can't serve two masters. You should serve only God and not try to get glory from a man.A lot of them are selling out if u ask me. Be who u are.

Aug. 13 2012 03:34 PM
Ari from Richmond, Va

A lot of you need to read the book of Matthew again because we are forgetting not to judge. We are supposed to be in Christ, but yet forgetting the purpose Kim's song/video is serving. God doesn't expect us to be perfect nor did he say Christians are some kind of robots where we cant sing or talk about love. He is a God of love. I think many folk are judging her video because they are not bold enough to do what she did. I'm not judging, I'm just saying. Pastor's and churches talk about not judging, but they are the BIGGEST judges of them all. Then wonder why a lot of people don't want to come to church on Sunday. Clean your own closet out before you try to open the door and look in someone else closet. Once again I'm not judging, I'm just saying. By the way I'm 23 with the calling of Evangelist and Prophetess on my life. I believe we put God in a box and he is so much greater than that.

Feb. 29 2012 08:00 PM
kasandra aaron

Hi Kim burrell I love your songs.
If you ever come to los angles would you vist the city of refuge bishop noel jones.

Feb. 21 2012 05:11 PM
Elder stroud

too breach secular & gospel...is to introduce a lukewarm gospel...that as Shirley Ceasar said..."God would spue it out of his mouth....A gospel that moves your flesh ...not your spirit.

Jan. 30 2012 03:46 PM
JC Thompson from harlem

Brava Diva Burrell...EDIFICATION...how are we going to bring new sheep into the fold if we don't meet them where they are. We as Gospel music consumers (black folks) need to be more open minded like the Christian music consumers (white folks)...yes that is why the call it gospel music & christian music, which is a whole other crazzy topic... if you did not know) Regardless the Christian consumer/worshippers embrace all musical genre's..."what every it takes to bring a soul to Christ". In these days of HD, high tech and 3D everything, we have to show those who are lost that being a Christian can be fun, loving & exciting. That way may not be by wearing doilles and long skirts..(no offense to those that do), we must be in the world but not of it. Any Christian who has concerns over contemporary gospel..."not sounding like gospel" needs to re-evaluate their commitment to Christ. We have music that sustains, uplift & motivate the body of Christ...we need music, sermon and representatives that will edify, build and enlarge the territory body of our Lord Jesus the Christ. Kim keep sangan babeee!!!!!! xoxox

Dec. 23 2011 12:16 AM
valda blackmore from st.louis mo.

i loved all her songs. i love kimb. god is sweeter then the day before.

Nov. 07 2011 01:18 PM
RUBY JEWEL MATHIS TORME from LOVE AND LIBERTY H-TOWN

YOU KNOW RELIGION AND TRADITION. I KNOW GOD, HIS SPIRIT, AND MY PASTOR KIM BURRELL SPIRIT THAT LOVE PURELY, AND SWEEETLY. MAYBE YOU SHOULD CHECK YOUR LOVE. SHE HAS AND NEVER WILL CROSS OVER TO SECULAR. SHE HAS CROSSED OVER TO GOD'S HEART FOR THE PEOPLE HE SENT HIS SON JESUS CROSS TO DIE FOR. NOT THE ONE RELIGION OF HATE "KILL".

Oct. 22 2011 05:35 PM
Brandon from OH

OMG if God don't condemn her in her heart than neither should we leave her alone if she is wrong she will pay for all the ones she caused to stumble.

Aug. 25 2011 05:13 PM
Sunshine from Clovis, Cali

I love what Kim Burell is doing now. She is using the voice her Heavenly Father gave her to make people feel good. Her voice is inspirational to me. I can feel the God in her soothing my mind, body, soul and spirit.

By the way I discovered the letter J is only 400 years old. Maybe we all should start investigating who Jesus really was and find out the truth. The Good Ship Jesus was a British slave ship that exported African slaves.
Most church people don't know this.

It is time to get off that Good Ship Jesus, go Google. Kim Burell has awaken to the truth and the spirit of our Heavenly Father is expressing his love through her. Revelation 12, God's Son Shall Come Forth on Schedule.
God Bless Kim. I love that girl.

Aug. 20 2011 04:29 PM
NUBREEDSAINT

MY CONCERN IS THAT THE MESSAGE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS IS LOST IN THE "SEXINESS OF THE VIDEO" AS A CHRISTIAN AS WELL AS AN EVANGELIST WE ARE CALLED TO SHOW THE DINSTICTION BETWEEN A HOLY LIFE AND THE WORLDLY ONE... MY OPINION I SEE NO DIFFERENCE IN THIS VIDEO AND BEYONCE'S

Aug. 06 2011 09:50 AM
renee vinis

OMG PEOPLE, please let it go and focus on worst things that is going on in our world. This topic is not important.

Aug. 03 2011 10:58 PM
AT2W from Dallas, TX

Kim Burrell should be ashamed of herself wearing lingerie and laying in the bed. What does that have to do with God and her so called worship. Sac-religion at its finest.

Jul. 05 2011 12:12 AM
Peter Seymour from New Jersey

As the composer of an original wedding processional called “Hymn for Her”, I found your comments about religiosity in music fascinatating. Although my “Hymn for Her” is not technically a “hymn” as it has no lyrics, the couples that have used it have embraced the music as well as its whimsical title.

Yet, with NY’s approval of same-sex marriages, a few friends have mentioned that “Hymn for Her” might be off-putting to some gay couples. I find this disconcerting as I wrote it to celebrate the love of any couple. I am hoping the gay couples might be willing to break with stale wedding music traditions.

Keep up the great work.

Jul. 01 2011 10:56 AM
bete from Brazil

A lot of judgment! Well if God is inside me everything is for His glory, if I made music about love, what is wrog about this?
Bete From Brazil!

Jul. 01 2011 10:11 AM
Abby

Well, first of all the music was NOT good. Based on the song I would NOT purchase the album. Finally, this crossover is all about money and NOT God. There is no blessing in this.

Jun. 28 2011 08:40 AM
George Hoover from Seattle, WA

Art is about, among other things, what's in the artist's heart. Proselytizing is OK, but please, the art should come first.
I am an atheist; I fell easily in love with The Indigo Girls self-titled album. Great songs, delightfully performed. I eventually tumbled to the fact that these were Christian songs. That didn’t make me love them less. The songs are well crafted, interesting, and very human. These songs are about people looking at life, expressed in practical language that communicates well. I can appreciate the point of view and even understand the resolution, without needing to “Believe”.
The Indigo Girls are artists. Proselytizing embedded in art works.

Jun. 27 2011 11:12 PM
Keepin It Real from Belmont

"Who Does That!" Why do Haters hate?ANSWER: because they really wish they were you. Kim Burrell is not condemned to hell because she wants to sing about LOVE.... If she is truly saved this is what the world needs to hear about...LOVE IS WHAT JESUS PREACHED TO THE PEOPLE.....Why do we continue to make this music thing so complicated? God has given each of us GIFTS that are unique for his glory. If she draws one person to Christ and never mentions the name Jesus, He is glorified and the angels in HEAVEN are rejoicing... YOU GO KIM BURELL let the Haters Hate and stay humble and watch God bless you...

Jun. 27 2011 08:46 PM
sunny from wa state

have you listened to some of the disgusting things being sung about? do you remember "Jesus Is Just Alright With Me"? Let her sing!

Jun. 26 2011 10:48 PM
Aethiops from Brooklyn

This is a VERY interesting topic! How is it that they don't sing against "SIN" like same sex marriage?

Jun. 26 2011 05:34 PM
Femscribe

Proselytizing in pop music? Sure. That's what music is for -- expressing beliefs, desires, opinions or whatever the artist wants to convey, for whatever purpose. It reaches those who want it, and bypasses those who don't.

Jun. 26 2011 11:35 AM
Eric

If, in writing a song, the singer naturally speaks of his/her love of Jesus or Buddha or whomever, then it's just a song in which the writer just happens to be religious.

But if the singer sets forth to purposely sing of their beliefs or to preach, it might as well be a commercial jingle. Just substitute "Jesus" with "Ford F-150" if you don't think so.

Jun. 25 2011 01:30 PM
SIgne wilkinson

It's ok to preach about ho's and bitches, violence and death but not Jesus? God forbid!

Jun. 25 2011 12:17 PM
Josh Branson

In many, if not most, popular songs, there is no "line" between secular and sacred, and as Christ didn't only preach to the saved, we shouldn't be drawing a line in the sand!

Jun. 23 2011 09:16 AM

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