Kurt: Good day to you and thanks for joining us here on another episode of Veracity Hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. We’ve got a unique episode for you today, something a little bit different. We have a musical artist in studio and you might be wondering how it is that this relates to thinking about these intellectual and analytical things. Well, let me tell you. When we are doing what’s called cultural apologetics, when we are defending the faith, really living out the faith, being Christ in the world, we are cultural apologists, so in that sense, in that broad scope, that tent if you will, issues of culture, talking about movies, talking about books, music, those things still fall within God’s realm and so that’s why today we are blessed to have a musical artist in studio here in West Chicago. Before we get to him though, we have a few announcements. First, if you live in the New England area, I want to tell you about this great opportunity for you to come on April 14 in West Hartford Connecticut. We are doing Apologetics in Evangelism. I want to encourage you to come for this one day seminar to learn how you can defend your faith and how we can implicate and utilize apologetics through sharing the gospel. We’ve got a number of great talks there. We’ve got Ted Wright coming in, David Montoya will be there, myself, Richard Porter, our boots on the ground there in Connecticut will be speaking and I hope you’ll consider joining us, April 14. If you’d like to learn more about that seminar, you can go to thedefendersconference.com to learn more and register.
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Okay. Today we are looking at the tent of cultural apologetics and we are blessed to have in studio a recording artist, Royce Lovett. Royce. Thank you so much for being on the program today.
Royce: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Kurt: Yes. So tell me, you’re here just for a long weekend here in Chicago. You played a sold-out show last night in downtown. Is that right?
Royce: Yes. On Commonground. My first time here in Chicago. Sad to say that, but I want to get here more. That’s good.
Kurt: The weather is a bit colder than where you’re from.
Royce: Yes. It is not this cold in Florida. To be honest with you, it does get in the 30’s, but this wind is something different.
Kurt: It can be cold here and chilly and it feels like it gets through your skin, but you’re from Tallahassee, Florida and so the weather there is probably a lot warmer.
Royce: Yeah. I can probably look it up and let you know what it is. But it definitely did make me put on a thermal, two sweaters, and my jacket.
Kurt: Yeah. Because you don’t have any heavy coats or anything like that.
Royce: Yeah. We don’t have those heavy coats in Florida.
Kurt: Nice. Again, thank you for being on our program today. I’ve got a few questions for you. First, if you could, tell me a little bit about yourself, your background, and your upbringing, and what got you interested in creating music?
Royce: Yeah. A little bit about myself. I am a father of two. My oldest is 6 and my youngest is 1, been married for almost 9 years, it’ll be 9 in July. I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida most of my life. That’s kind of a very heavy college political town.
Kurt: It’s the capital of Florida for those who don’t know. There’s Florida State University and FAMU.
Royce: Great schools. I grew up in two different parts of town. In the very close to Georgia country living in the sticks side of town and then when I moved out I moved super into the city. I’ve seen in my life and I think it’s developed me as a writer and as a father and a husband and just as a person, seeing those two different sides of living. Something else about me that kind of got me into music. I guess it would be just my Mom really because she was a worship leader at church so I was at church three times a week and twice on Sundays, no. That’s four times a week, man. I just always loved music. I grew up in a household. My Mom listened to a lot of Vineyard, Hillsong. My Dad listened to a lot of Gospel, Candi Staton, and then there was always that music, that soul music in the house that everybody could listen to. Marvin Gaye and lots of Michael Jackson.
Kurt: So music was just very much a part of your upbringing.
Royce: Yes. And then hip-hop was a my brother. I got introduced like that and then love songs with my sister and in all of that, I was really into music, but the thing I really wanted to be at the time was a sports player. I just loved sports.
Kurt: I grew up watching Michael Jordan.
Royce: Yeah. I feel like every person, guy or girl, at some point in their childhood, was like I’m going to be the next Michael Jordan.
Kurt: There was the whole catch phrase, “I want to be like Mike.”
Royce: But no, actually what really got me into music was I had an encounter with Christ 2003 in February in Tampa and it was that encounter that rode Damascus like “This is real and it’s for me.” I just kind of felt like, “Okay. If there’s this God thing, then there must be purpose that goes along with this.” I was just praying about it and I felt like the answers I got from the prayer was to do what you know and the thing I knew the most at the time, I started thinking about it, was music. I loved playing music. I used to freestyle and rap all the time. I was dancing. It just brought me so much joy and I love what music does for people, what it did for me, and so that’s how I kind of just got on that plan A, no plan B, just music and living that way.
Kurt: Nice. So as a musical artist, you are in the industry of creating art and for someone like myself who’s a theologian and apologist, I tend to think more like arguments, type of thing, but sometimes it’s good to think about what is art? Tell me, what do you understand art is?
Royce: I think art is an expression of one’s self, an expression of an emotion, no matter what that emotion is, whether one persons says it’s a good emotion, one person says it’s a bad emotion. It’s an expression of that. In those expressions, I think there is a release outlet, a way to decompress, a way to maybe even find revelation or understanding through art, a deeper meaning. One of the reasons why I think, like next week is Passover, most of the prayers that we’ll be singing at the house, I’m sorry, most of the prayers we’ll be praying at the house are sung. Because of that, I think there is this very emotional outlet of understanding that you kind of get, like when you’re just talking, Yeah yeah yeah, Dayenu, but when you sing Dayenu, and then you realize dayenu means, “It would have been enough”, and so there’s this prayer we sing, “If He just delivered us from Egypt, it would have been enough, dayenu”, but then when you sing it, If we just delivered us from Egypt, it would have been enough,” then it just hits a little harder so I think whether you paint that or draw that or you put that in words or poem or in a book or whatever artistic, I think it penetrates a little bit more. For me as an artist, it’s easier for me to say things to anyone, to the culture, to people, to my wife, to my children, to me, it’s easier to say certain things explaining it through music, through song.
Kurt: Yeah. There’s something to the human experience that requires art and living out art even, that it’s used for emphasis, it’s used to communicate truths to people and it’s a very important thing for Christians to be a part of as I had mentioned at the start of the program that apologetics can’t ignore the culture, so how do we reach people? I think I’m going to start coining a phrase. For some people we shouldn’t preach at them, but we need to reach at them. A way to do that is through art and through beauty and communicating the truths through that and so in that sense, you’re kind of like a cultural apologist, so as long as you’re not going to be singing deductive arguments, the philosophers would be like, “Huh?” or that might actually like it.
Royce: Depending. Everybody has their own boat to float in.
Kurt: Yeah. That’s right. Their different style and method. You’ve got this gift that God has given you and that’s the method you’re using. That’s great. So for awhile you were doing independent albums, independent recordings, and you were, I’m sure working your tail off. I know how can that be. Eventually you decided to sign with a record label. Tell me about, for you it took awhile to decide to sign with a record label. Someone like myself, I would have just jumped at the opportunity. Tell me about that time in your life.
Royce: Ever since ’09 when I got married, I got really serious about, me and my wife together, she’s my rock, my business partner, she was like, “Let’s get serious about this music thing and let’s put together the best record we can with the budget we have,” and we did. During that time I was playing a lot and I never really thought to sign to a record label. My whole thought about labels and things is I’ve just kind of noticed this to be true, but my thought is as you kind of go up this mountain, you get smaller up there, so if you do something wrong more people have the chance to notice that you did something wrong, so I was like “I don’t want to try to push for a label because I do it the wrong way, I don’t want all the labels to know I did it the wrong way” and so for about ten years, I was indy in music, traveling, touring, and then I got contacted by Motown, exactly Motown Gospel that contacted me. We talked and it took me about six months to kind of flesh out the idea and just pray about it because you hear so many horror stories coming from signing deals, TLC, Nsync, all these different stories of people giving their all, because I feel like coming into this you’re an artist. You’re not thinking about this business side of everything.
Kurt: Yeah. And you feel like you might be restricted.
Royce: Yeah. Because of that you’ll be very fruitful or very careless. Like, Tupac is probably everyone’s top ten rapper, but no one really knows that he was a horrible business person, horrible. I think if he was still alive that he would still be trying to get from under these contracts that he was in. That said, I was just praying. I really wanted to know this is what God wanted us to do, because I’ve lived my life like that since getting married. I’ve always wanted to be that person that we read about in the Scriptures like Paul that he prays, asks God what to do, he goes to sleep, God tells him, and he gets up the next day and he does what God said. I really don’t want to be that person that’s like, “Oh God. What do I do?” Then I wait a year, six months, trying to figure out did I hear God, did I not hear God?….
Kurt: Did you miss the boat?
Royce: Yeah. I was just I’m living my wife this way, I got married that way. God is taking us, me and my wife, across the world in these different places through doing this independently and using His voice to kind of guide me, not kind of guide me, to guide me, and so I was like, I don’t know if this is the case. Not every door that opens is the door. Finally, after a few things happened, I kept getting this word from different people and it was put the whole armor on and to make a long story short, I thought it was pretty clear and so I called and we signed and I will say the first year it was so stressful, because I was like, “Okay, God. You have me here. You told me you’d be here. I’m trying to figure this thing out.” Coming into it as an independent artist used to doing things for yourself by yourself, having all these different ideas, you have all these expectations of what should happen, but what I’ve just learned is that in any area of your life I feel like if your purpose is to be in that track or that field or that lane then God will put champions in the room to defend the purpose He’s given you and after I figured that out, I mean I will say I fell into really stressed out time. I was losing weight. I was really stressed out the first year and a half, but then when I realized that and God was “You just need to chill.” I realized why I was stressed out. I realized why things were happening and it caused me to pray for people differently. I was mad at someone for not doing something, but then I realized they didn’t do it because they were really going through something in their life. Anyway, I don’t want to jump off topic too much, but it’s been about four years, two eps, and one new album Love And Other Dreams out with these guys. I’m pretty excited about just what’s going on.
Kurt: Nice. One of the things that I appreciate about your music is that it doesn’t preach at people. It’s not that stereotypical Christian music. Some of your songs describe the struggles that people face, especially if they are growing up in less than ideal situations. I think you’ve got a song called Sunday Morning. Is this something that’s a personal experience to you or someone that’s close to you or just your observations in general?
Royce: Yeah. Sunday Morning is the only song I’ve ever written where, and I’m not a person to say stuff to get emotions going, so I’m not that person, but it’s the only song I’ve ever written where I completely bawled the whole time. I was just thinking about friends in school, my family members, and I thought we all had these dreams where we’ll be living right next to each other and doing the same thing in life or at least experiencing life together and to know that there’s some that I won’t ever see and there’s some that I haven’t seen in such a long time because of death or incarceration. It’s a hard place. On top of that, just knowing, we don’t have to get on those topics, but just knowing certain justice system things that just aren’t correct and aren’t right, knowing that, and also knowing what culture kind of does to us and this is all happening in my head while I was writing, knowing what culture kind of does to us because you lose someone by death or incarceration, for some reason you think the family, the children, the wife, the mother, the father, whoever, you feel like they need time and space. That’s not even the way your body works. When you get cut, your blood cell and your immunity system don’t say “That cuts needs time and space.” They all rush to help and heal. I was thinking about that and I was “I’ve really not been there for my niece the way I should be”, you know what I mean? or I haven’t been there for my younger cousins, their children, their wife. You don’t really know what they’re going through until you start talking to them. During that same time, I started understanding that I was one of those Christians that was a “It doesn’t matter Christian.” You get a hard question and you’re like, “That doesn’t matter. Just love God.” I used to be that way until I started writing letters and communicating and trying to build a relationship with those who I could build a relationship with. I started realizing that they have really hard questions that I haven’t even thought about that like why am I in my denomination? Why do I believe things I believe? You know what I mean.
Kurt: This is the show for you, Royce.
Royce: Yeah. I started searching these things out. One of the things I found out so interesting about searching it out is instead of things angering me about culture and subcultures and things that are taught as theology but is just kind of what someone wrote in their thesis, instead of those things angering me, when I found out truth, it really strengthened me, because you found a lot of people, and I’m going to speak right now for a lot of black American males, when they started looking into truth or theology and what is Christian and what is church? We get very hurt and then sometimes hurt turns into anger and then anger turns into God isn’t real if this is that. You know?
Kurt: Oh yeah.
Royce: So in all of that, thinking about this, I wrote this song called Sunday Morning. It definitely came from a place that was personal that I go through and so I hope I answered that question pretty good for you.
Kurt: Yeah, and I’m wondering. You’ve got your guitar here. Are you able to play us Sunday morning?
Royce: Yeah. Let’s do that.
Kurt: Just looking at the time. You’ll play that and we’ll go to a break after this song.
*Sunday Morning plays*
Royce: For some reason, because of our conversation, I have misplaced these chords. I got emotional a little bit during explaining.
Kurt: That’s alright. Take your time.
Kurt: Alright. Thanks for sticking with us through that short break from our sponsors. Today I am joined in studio by recording artist Royce Lovett and we are talking about his background and his interest in being a cultural, a creator of culture, and what I’ve dubbed a cultural apologist if you will and we’re talking about his music. Before we get back to talking about that, we now have a segment of the show that we like to call Rapid Questions. Royce. You’re just like “Huh? What’s going on here?” This is sixty seconds where we’re going to ask you some goofy questions and we’ll see what answers you can come up with. We’ve had some pretty creative answers over almost two years. It’ll be two years in July that we’ve been doing this program. I’m going to start the game clock. As soon as I get it, I’ll ask the first question and we’ll get rolling here.
Kurt: Alright. What’s
your clothing store of choice?
Royce: Urban Outfitter?
Kurt: Taco Bell or KFC?
Kurt: What school did you go to?
Kurt: What song is playing on your radio these days?
Kurt: Where would you like to live?
Kurt: What’s your favorite sport?
Kurt: What kind of razor do you use?
Royce: One blade.
Kurt: What’s your spouse’s favorite holiday?
Royce: Pass. Thanksgiving.
Kurt: What fruit would you say your head is shaped like?
Kurt: What’s your most hated sports franchise?
Royce: My most hated?
Kurt: Just say Yankees. You’ll be good.
Royce: Okay. Cool.
Kurt: What’s your favorite movie?
Royce: Favorite movie? Fresh.
Kurt: Do you drink Dr. Pepper?
Kurt: What’s the one thing you’d be sure to keep with you if you were stranded on an island?
Royce: My wife.
Kurt: Okay. Thank you for playing that round of Rapid Questions.
Royce: Okay. Yeah. My bad. I couldn’t think fast enough about…we’re actually thinking about moving to four places. Nashville, Austin, Chicago, New York.
Kurt: Okay. Nashville. That’s a big music scene.
Royce: Yeah. It’s the top of my list right now.
Kurt: I gotta say if I can be honest, you lost a few kudos points with me there, let’s see. You don’t drink Dr. Pepper and you don’t go to Taco Bell or KFC.
Royce: I don’t, but if I had to choose, it would be KFC, but yeah. I really really try to cook at home more often than not cause I feel like I cook really nice. We should do that one time. We should have a cooking segment and I’ll cook something for you.
Kurt: I’ll tell you what though. I don’t know what your plans are directly afterwards, but Chris and I religiously after the program go to our local KFC/Taco Bell so if you wanted to indulge….
Royce: Okay. Cool. Let’s do it.
Kurt: Back to our structured program here for today’s episode. Before the break you played for us Sunday Morning. It was great. I really liked that song. Some of your songs deal with the struggles of life, but your message to those that might be struggling is that you don’t tell them to go seek out these vain pursuits, to just go try and make as much money as you can or to be chasing tail or to get hammered. That’s the message that some music out there conveys. Instead, your message is about love. Why is that?
Royce: Cause I think you had a good day because someone showed you love. You had a bad day because someone didn’t show you love. I think love is the first thing you learn as a child, some part of it, and that shapes your life. I think that that’s the way it should work, love, purpose, security. Everybody wants security. Everybody wants purpose. Everybody wants love, but you don’t get all those things unless you get love first. We know how love is and you have love and you find purpose and when you find purpose, then you find security. That’s just why I love, I love love. I love writing music that way. It brings people together with the style I do, mixing hip-hop and the soul and the singer/songwriter. You get to see different colors of folks in the crowd and you get people singing together that probably would never hang out together in one room. I just really like that. I feel like we need more of real hardcore, cause I think that truth is[NP2] and love isn’t weak. I say that a lot. I think we need a lot more strong love in the world. We talk about love a lot. Actually, I think the thing we are talking about is letting me do what I want. That’s not love because, small quick example. I have a lot of family and friends tell me if I got married at a young age, life was over. Then if I had kids, life’s over plus that. That’s not their fault. They thought they were loving me by telling me to do something else. The thing is, you don’t inherit cancer. You inherit the refrigerator that gave everyone cancer so you have to take up the food in your refrigerator and put different stuff in there. That’s true for our physical and our spirit. We did that. We got married and we had children and life wasn’t over because that doesn’t equate to, if you put your mindset that life’s over, then life’s over. If you say, I remember our first time me and Hannah went grocery shopping together. I bought a bunch of Ramen Noodles because I thought we were going to be broke, because that’s what everybody told us. Then after we did the budget she was “Why did you buy Ramen Noodles?” We could afford to not kill our bodies and buy something else. That’s just the thing.
Kurt: I like what you said that in our culture today, it’s very much leave me alone. Let me do my own thing. Jesus, when He said to love your neighbor as yourself, what He’s saying there is not leave people alone. He’s saying actively reach out to people and I think you’re right. That’s the message today of just leave me alone, but Christians are called to go and love people.
Royce: And I find it so much that even in that same situation we’re talking about, believers, they get their light turned on and then they go hang out with other lights and all they do is hang out with other lights and we’re in a building every Sunday handing out other lights instead of taking that light someplace where it’s not that bright. That’s what we should be doing, exactly what you said. Having a story for every man. Being able to answer those hard questions and to talk and have answers and to treat the foreigners as yourself. You know what I mean? That’s exactly what I want to be about as a husband, a father, a songwriter, and all those things, Just learning to grow. That’s what we have to do.
Kurt: Your recent album, Love and Other Dreams, features a song called Up For Love, which really kind of communicates exactly what we’re talking about. Tell me about that song.
Royce: I was talking to my grandmother and she was raised in the 30’s and during that time, facing depression none of us could ever think about, and raising 13 kids, and having a job, and dealing with life on top of that. I was just talking to her. “Grandma. How would you wake up every morning?” Some people don’t want to roll out the bed for peer pressure and you’re rolling out the bed with all of this stuff everyday to face. I encourage anybody listening, go talk to your elders, they have so much wisdom because they’ve been through stuff that you haven’t been through and they can relate to you more than you think they can. I was just thinking about that. I was thinking about my Mom. Why she got up everyday. My Dad, why he got up everyday. I was just thinking about what do I want to be as a father. So the song came about like that. I want to get up for love and we talk about this thing about being awake. If I’m going to be awake, I don’t want to be awake and angry. I want to be awake and loving people. That’s kind of how that song kind of developed.
Kurt: Yeah. For some people it might be an everyday challenge.
Royce: Yeah. Definitely. I could tell you that there were some times, things have played out in our country in the past few years and I’ve been growing during those times and there’s been times where, I talk to some of our friends and they would just say, “I walked into Trader Joe’s and I literally didn’t want to smile at anybody” because the state of what was happening in the world and like you said, it can be challenging, but what you have to do is you have to grow in love completely and you have to smile at those people, you have to talk to those people you might not want to see and that you might not want to be around, maybe you want to be a recluse and get away, but I think learning to love no matter what is what we really need to do. That’s a hard thing, because I think it changes the way we, like Tupak said it. When we learn to love, it changes the way you eat, it changes the way you speak, it changes the way you treat people, and I think that’s a beautiful thing, I’ve seen myself grow as a father and a husband learning to love this way, like changing my perspective from a Christian that, “Oh. That doesn’t matter. Just love God.” but changing my perspective to “No. These things do matter.” And if it’s a hard question to you I want to know how I can answer that or help you answer that. Maybe we can wrestle with this together and in that wrestling, I’ve become more involved in my community and talking and bringing together racial reconciliation and it’s been a beautiful three years for me to be honest with you, writing that album, Love and Other Dreams, and within those three years experiencing those times from Up To Love, Sunday Morning, to Running, to just all those different songs on the record. I feel really good. I’ve been growing a whole bunch, talking about culture, apologetics, those different things, been growing in those places, and I just challenge everybody to want to grow in those places. There’s so much to know. There’s a Scripture in, maybe it’s in Esther I think where it’s to the glory of God to conceal a matter, the glory of kings to seek it out, and I think that that’s a challenge is we call ourselves kings and queens. Let’s seek out these matters and let’s encourage people as we do it because that’s what it is. It’s encouraging to grow in that way.
Kurt: What would you say is your role as a creator of culture?
Royce: I’m still finding that out. I think I definitely would say to get people to talk. I do this thing called Conversation Series where I play some music that might have a hard message and I share my story as transparent as I can because I think our transparency is someone else’s blessing. Your vulnerability is someone else’s blessing. In that, I’ve seen people in these groups that we get together to talk, people that think differently, conversations happen that they would probably never speak to someone that either had the different economic status, different skin colors, different belief patterns, different denominations, probably would never talk, and getting those people to talk through that or through the music that I’m writing and those things, that’s definitely want to be is like a bridge of culture so we can talk, because if we’re not talking, we’re not growing in any kind of way. Go ahead.
Kurt: We’ve got a question here from Michaela online who’s watching. She asks, “What kind of hard or uncomfortable conversations has storytelling through music allowed you to have through people?”
Royce: I tell a really cool one that’s on my head now because I was talking about it at the last show. I wrote this song called T-Shirt Man which is a song talking about a culture thing that I think happens probably in every less than ideal economic status culture where someone young dies, mostly by violence, they get a shirt made of their friend or their loved one and it has the date on it, so the chorus is “The T-shirt man is making a killing from all the killings. Bang. Bang.” In the story I talk about how this single mother who raised a really good kid, kind of through her bringing what she’s learned of how to love her children to her world, some of those things weren’t right and so it hindered him in certain places so you couldn’t really see him grow and then in his life he wasn’t involved in gangs or anything, but he really wanted to see security in his household, because that’s what he didn’t see. Through trying to find security, he starts to learn to rob people and he says he’s not robbing, he’s not killing or hurting anybody, but he’s like “Mom. Haven’t you noticed the lights have been on? Do you think that was just you. I’m trying to take care of my daughter”, but during his robbing people in this story, he becomes gang-affiliated, which is an easy thing to do. Some people don’t know. You can be standing by someone and they think that you’re friends and you’re just gang-affiliated. It’s a very easy thing to do. Not to scare anybody, but in this story I’m just telling you.
Kurt: So that’s been a difficult conversation that you’ve had or uncomfortable conversation through the storytelling.
Royce: Yeah. The story kind of gets a little uncomfortable as you play it and you talk about it, but this cool thing happened at the end of the song. It kind of reveals. We had a young lady in one of these conversations that she didn’t talk the whole night until the mess hall and she said, “That was such a blessing to me” because her mother and father were leaders in the southeast Black Panther movement and she’s “I know my stuff. I know my scars. I know what history has done” and “I’ve always had a hard time thinking about our forefathers as insecure people. Once hearing that story and hearing these conversations go back and forth, there is just such a lift in the room when you start noticing people looking at each other like, “Wow. The thing that was missing at the beginning of this thing called Western Culture, America, was love.” You had people move here only thinking about security, and when you only think about security, you step on people, you break people, you hurt people. That’s exactly what’s come all the way down. In this story, it says Chris’s Mom worked hard. She had two jobs, but she was taught to work the system when it got hard. She told his teachers he was dumb for a little more cash and now he’s stuck in homeroom in a remedial class. She’s trying to love her children by providing for them, but because she told the teacher he was dumb to try to help out a hard financial spot of trying to find security, she didn’t show him love to stretch and….
Kurt: Challenge him.
Royce: Challenge him in schools and so he’s in this other place.
Kurt: And now he’s set back.
Royce: Yeah. That’s what happens in all cultures. There’s so many stories of things like that in all cultures. That’s one of the hard conversations, Michaela. Different things like that, sometimes, not sometimes, all the time I think when we get in those hard conversations, we find a lot of humanity. You’re not going to find a lot of, “That’s the answer to the rest of the world.” You know what I mean? You’re not going to find those, but I think when people in the room find out the humane, like humanity thing, amongst us, and then we angle it vertical, you find this love and relief. You know what I mean?
Kurt: It can be stretching for people. Nice.
Royce: We’ve only got a little bit more time here. I’ve got a couple questions here. Which musical artists have been some of your inspiration?
Royce: Inspiration. Definitely Lauren Hill, Israel Houghton.
Kurt: How about George Clinton?
Royce: George Clinton. I met George Clinton once. I wouldn’t say….
Kurt: Oh yeah. He’s the godfather of funk.
Royce: Yeah. Funk is awesome, but I didn’t listen to a lot of him to be honest with you, but I did have a hilarious story of the first time I met George, I opened a forum and after we got backstage, I was in the green room and he walks, my first time seeing him, my first time meeting him, he opens the door. He walks in and everybody’s like. “Hey. Hey.” He doesn’t say anything. He just looks around the room and he takes the pizza out of my drummer’s, my drummer has a piece of pizza in his mouth like in his hand, and he takes the pizza out of his mouth and he eats it.
Kurt: He just starts eating it.
Royce: And he walks out. Then we’re just all like “That’s George Clinton.”
Kurt: Yeah. He could do what he wants. That’s hilarious. I ask because some of your songs have that funk style.
Royce: Yeah. A lot of funk. I love funk.
Kurt: Nice. No man succeeds without a good woman behind him so what has your journey been like being a man intent on having a blessed family life?
Royce: It’s been a stretching one for both of us because in this journey of music and culture and trying to learn and grow and live different, me and Hannah, my wife, married nine years in July, had to learn, we might not find a balance, but if we keep trying to find a balance, that’s the key. You know what I mean? That’s the reason why they heard me this weekend. They don’t get to go to roll with me all the time. It’s a terrible idea to take your family on a tour bus. People think tour bus life is like fabulous. It’s like camp. You brush your teeth, you don’t touch people’s food in a refrigerator, it’s the worst sleeping arrangements, but it’s been such a blessing, that’s why they’re here with me now because I love to be with them and travel with them when arrangements are correct and she’s challenged me in so many different ways.
Kurt: Earlier you said she was kind of like your business partner too. She’s been helping you along.
Royce: She’s the one who told me to quit my job and do this. Everyone for Royce Lovett music, you can thank Hannah, cause I would still be trying to do a job and juggle this and she’s “Quit your job and do this because you love doing it.” She’s the one who started “Let’s invest some money and get this packaging looking right. You know what I mean?” It’s been a beautiful thing. I think every marriage has their point of misunderstanding and what I’ve started to learn is that those of those points where you’re trying and you’re beginning to stretch and grow because that’s what you have to do, last year, when my baby boy, my youngest one was born, was a really rough time for Hannah and I because the birth didn’t go the way we had planned and different things and me and her think about that time, those six months, cause some things happened financially for us where I literally had to be “Okay, God. I don’t know where the money’s coming from.” I am literally on the phone with my landlord and saying “I’m predicting three months right now I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I just want you to know.” God just worked it out. Not me at all. Not Hannah at all. That happening and financial stuff happening was a really rough six months and that can pull on love and respect and kindness in a marriage, but that’s definitely, that time, me and Hannah talk about it, I think we talked about it yesterday, about how we just feel that that made us grow so much more and in that, I wrote a song called “I Want To Love You.” It was just really talking about that place of hardness, but it was, “I want to win. If love is something we have to win at, let’s win at love.”
Kurt: Could you play that song for us?
Royce: Yeah. Definitely.
Royce: So my son, my oldest, I don’t think he was referring to this, but me and Hannah was arguing about something and then afterwards into the room and he said, “Hey Dad. Are we winning?” I don’t think he was referring to me and Hannah and the family, but it just hit me really hard. That’s how this song came about.
Kurt: Nice. Thanks for playing that.
Royce: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Kurt: Yeah. It’s been great having you on the program today.
Royce: It definitely has. It’s been good talking and thanks for having me play some songs.
Kurt: Yeah. Great to hear more about your music and your inspiration and your message. It’s a good one, that’s for sure. Keep up the good work.
Royce: I appreciate that.
Kurt: Royce Lovett. Thanks so much for joining us on the program today.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the pleasure of playing this jingle.
Kurt: That’s the mailbag sound. We got a message, an email from a listener. If you have a question and you want to ask me, just send me an email. Kurt@veracityhill.com. This question comes from Wes. He writes, “While out with some Catholic friends of ours down here, the subject of religion came up. One of the first comments made centered around praying for the dead in purgatory so they could be purified and be able to enter heaven. When I asked where such practice was stated in the Bible I was eventually given some Catholic websites that stated they were church tradition and gave some passages from books that were not in the Protestant Bible. In one of the articles, it was stated that C.S. Lewis believed in purgatory and praying for the dead. Your thoughts on the subject?”
Well, Wes. First I want to thank you for your question. You brought up a couple different topics here so let me first with the limited amount of time here I’ll see how I can do. Yes. C.S. Lewis did believe in purgatory and praying for the dead, but I don’t think that when we’re seeking out the truth ourselves, that shouldn’t necessarily carry weight. For many people, there are some positions that we think they were incorrect or inaccurate so that shouldn’t necessarily hold too much weight, but let me talk about this, this idea of being purified before going to heaven. Catholics believe that 1 Corinthians 3 is a passage in the New Testament which supports the idea of purgatory. I’m going to read here a couple of verses. This is 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Here I don’t think this verse really supports the notion of purgatory for a number of reasons. One, it’s our works that are refined in the fire and two, Paul notes here in verse 15, if it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss, but yet will be saved so the builder himself will still be saved even though as only one escaping through the flames, Paul concludes there. 1 Corinthians 3 does not support purgatory at all, this idea that some people will end up going to hell and others could be saved and really, I think one of the important distinctions to be made here is this. As Protestants we believe that a believer is justified through their faith in Christ and that Christ’s work is sufficient on the cross. The notion of a purgatory in order to refine or to have one be justified by God really goes against the theories of the atonement, because it’s Christ’s righteousness that God sees in us. It’s not our own. If there were some concept of a purgatory, I would have two qualifications to it. First, it’s not something that justifies us, but prepares us as a bride gets ready on her wedding day. It’s sort of that preparation time. Secondly, I don’t think if it were to exist, it exists in this sense that souls go there right now. Even in 1 Cor. 3 here, Paul talks about the day as in the day of judgment, so if something is going on with this concept of a purgatory, it’s almost like getting ready to get ready for the wedding day and it’s something that is to come in the future. I hope that helps a little bit. I would say it this way. If there is something like a purgatory, it’s very unlike what Catholics think it is. We would then need to distinguish between C.S. Lewis’s version of purgatory with a traditional Catholic version of it. To the point here you made about books not in the Protestant Bible, I want to clarify something here because there’s a popular misconception that the books in the Catholic Bible that aren’t in the Protestant Bible were taken out by the Protestants. That’s not true. When you look at the history of the canon, the New Testament or Old Testament canon, it was only until the Council of Trent that the Catholics adopted and formalized, they canonized these books as being part of inspired Scripture so for the first 1,500 years, Christians did not recognize those specific books as being part of the Scripture, so can those books still be useful? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that we should take everything that they say pertaining to our theological beliefs. I hope that answers your message here. I want to thank you for writing in and if you do have a follow-up, just please write back and let me know if you’d like me to expound on some specific area there. Thanks so much for your question about the nature of purgatory.
That does it for our program today. I am grateful for the continued support of our patrons and the partnerships that we have with our sponsors. Defenders Media, Consult Kevin, The Sky Floor, Rethinking Hell, The Illinois Family Institute, Evolution 2.0, Fox Restoration, and Non-Profit Megaphone. I want to thank our technical producer Chris and our in-studio guest Royce Lovett and I want to encourage you to go check him out on Facebook and Twitter and be sure to subscribe to this YouTube channel as well which I already have and last but not least, I want to thank you for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.
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[NP3]Unclear at 50:30