The spiritual enigma that was Prince

John J. Thompson

John J. Thompson
April 22, 2016

A surprisingly spiritual figure, Prince married the unseen with the seen, the ecstasy of the spirit with the ecstasy of the flesh.

April 22, 2016

Satan is also a "spiritual figure" quoting scripture, and misquoting it with. Satan's goal is to lead people away from God's will--just as does Prince.

Randy Leinen
April 23, 2016

I'm not sure what the purpose of your article was. Maybe I missed it. But it almost seems to me as if you are lifting Prince up as someone to be impressed with because of the way he used his "talents". You end your article with,

"In Prince we caught a glimpse of the creative power of God as it flows through human hands. We heard sounds and felt things that were not of this Earth."

Someone else could have written, "In the prince of the power of the air (Satan) we catch a glimpse of God as it flowed through human hands (demonic activity). We heard sounds and felt things that were not of this earth. Would any Christian think that this is something to be impressed with?

My point is that the source and intent of that person are what matters - not how impressive it is to humans. When people do things that are impressive to man, God is not impressed, unless they are things that bring glory to Him, because it is all about Him. I do not see Prince as a man who did that, at least publicly. So calling those things out (his accomplishments) as impressive seems the wrong approach for an article on a website called, "Think Christian." If he ultimately did "not" find God then his entire life was a waste. And it should not be looked at in any other way than with pity. That is what should be called out.

Malachi Moore
April 23, 2016

This is great and balanced look at Prince. As an artist (illustrator) myself and above that, a Christian, I've tried to be careful to speak well to the sheer creativity Prince innovated music with but without giving an entirely wholesale endorsement of every thought and idea he expressed. For the ways in which he pushed others to move creatively outside the arbitrary boundaries of art - that much I do appreciate.

Same goes with Bowie. When looking at their accomplishments and impact, as Christians, I think we can do well when we recognize the great while in no way minimizing the unGodly.

Ted Williams
April 24, 2016

Great article-I think you covered the full spectrum of his work and life in a spiritual context.

April 24, 2016

Beauty and skill all originate from God and ultimately will glorify God(I'm Calvinistic, can you tell?). Thanks for pointing out the good and the bad of Prince. I pray that Prince and any who follow him find Jesus.

Craig Wadley
April 24, 2016

The first couple of replies here criticized this article, but I think they missed the point. One, in fact, asked what the point of the article even was. Here are my two cents, for whatever they may be worth.

I am most definitely a Christian, and I have no trouble admitting that I loved Prince's music from an early age. It was apparent to me, even before I became a Christian, that Prince's public persona was, well, let's just say "dirty." The article here pretty much sums that up.

When I became a Christian, there was a period of time (about four years)that I gave up all music that wasn't overtly Christian - and this was a big deal for me, as I have a Mater's Degree in music and used to be pretty arrogant about that kind of thing. Little by little, God is allowing me to enjoy some of the stuff that I once listened to, but I hear it with different ears now. Honestly, some things that I still like the "sound" of, I simply can't listen to. They rub me the wrong way, because of the contents of the lyrics, which is where this gets back to Prince...

This article is not about admiring Prince or being impressed by his music or lifting him up as a good Christian model (which he wasn't, at least not publicly). But let's be real. Every one of us has sin in our lives. Not that we want to admit it, not that we think it's ok, not that we want it to be there in any way, but we know it's there, whether it is a publicly visible thing or not. With Prince, we see the journey of man who was beautifully creative, often profane, yet always searching for the divine. We don't (and can't) know the final state of Prince's soul, what his standing with God is/was. But if we look at his life, I think most of us can relate.

We live in a sad, sinful, broken world, and whether we like it or not, we are a PART of that broken creation. At the same time, we who call ourselves Christians believe we have found the way, the truth, and the light. But we took a journey to get there - some were longer and more bumpy than others, but we all took some kind of journey away from sin and brokenness towards God.

That journey, that STRUGGLE, as seen in the life of Prince, and how it reflects our own personal journey, was the point of the article. At least that's what I think.

Wally Marshall
April 25, 2016

Well said Craig Wadley, well said.

We are all flesh and blood and are born into sin. We all fail God miserably yet we all continue to seek the Truth.

Jesus Christ is the Truth.

April 27, 2016

Prince, like a lot of other talented musicians, could hold me spell-bound. The only reason anyone can create something captivating is because they were first made by the Creator himself. What they do with their talent is up to them. I couldn't listen to everything he sang, Prince created many things I could admire and enjoy.

One in particular was posted recently by one of Prince's long-time colleagues, showing a different side to the musicality of the man. Here's a glorious jazz rendition of George Gershwin's "Summertime": https://www.facebook.com/steve.purcell.14/videos/10208003585861701/?pnref=story

Doug Vande Griend
April 28, 2016

Me, I didn't even like Prince's music, whether considering the message or the "artistic" quality of the music.

Maybe a generation gap. Wait, no, we're roughly the same age.

Seriously, I marvel at how the lives of those like Prince or Michael Jackson or Elvis, or even (and especially) the Kardashians, become such cultural drivers. Not a good sign in my view.

Christine Lewis
April 29, 2016

Oh pleeeeeeease, enough already!!! I am so fed up with Christians looking up to these world 'stars'... what is wrong with you??? Have you read any of his lyrics? He was a seriously worldy, messed up, perverted, broken figure of a man who had a music gift... well... yippee, so did Lucifer for crying out loud. Spiritual? There are all kinds of spiritual, his kind was NOT of our lovely Jesus. Please, the bewitchment that is happening across church culture at the moment, usually in the area of music and entertainment (which is one and the same in the church these days)is alarming to say the least, and your article is class A example. 'Looking unto JESUS' have we forgotten? He is all the superstar we need. As I said... enough already!

Jean Eisenstat
May 23, 2016

i have been so moved by his search of spirituality, whatever form it has taken. many do not even try. He recognized that his gifts and talents were from God, he showed humility inspite of fame, and in his latter years great compassion and generosity which were out of a loving heart. only God knows his heart and being a christian myself, i for one pray he found a relationship with God, that God will accept, and recognize. as the Bible states the last enemy to be destroyed is death, we all must face it.He believed in an afterlife, and i hope he will be there. everyone must meet God one on one, i will trust God with the outcome for prince rogers nelson and myself as well

Aundria Premo
June 17, 2016

Seems to me many "Christians" commenting have hateful and mean spirited responses to this article. I'd like to point out that, after committing to live a more pure life to better represent Prince's faith in Jesus Christ, he likewise reflected his salvation in his later works. He went on to cease playing certain explicit songs from his earlier repertoire, such as Sexy M.F., while publicly proclaiming Christ as Savior. He implemented a "swear jar" at Paisley Park, and even practiced celebacy in his last few years of life. It also appears that the death of his and then-wife, Mayte Garcia's one week old son became the tragic jumping off point where Prince turned his sorrow & grief over to the Lord. It's not happenstance that his emancipation from Warner Brothers seemed to be a tipping point for him, as per details given by those close to him. It's rather disheartening to read the words demonstrated in this comment section, some of which seem to suggest he was a man separated from Christ, as if they know Prince's true heart, or worse, that they know better than God Himself. I'm not trying to be rude with anyone, but the fact remains that anyone can triumph over past sins and failures.

June 27, 2016

It was clear that Prince was searching for God especially in the song Annastasia where he held concert in Germany before a multitude of crowds singing out God is Love Love is God Girls and Boys love God above. He literally was preaching. In the ending of the song he sings - save me Jesus I've been a fool - how could I forget that you are the rule - I am your child you are my God. It looked like he was being convicted and had a divine intervention while singing the song I saw tears in his eyes as he looked up above to God crying out to God in the song he wrote Anastasia. Sounds like it was someone who may have tried to convert him to liberate his mind as the song states.

Judie Zoerhof
April 21, 2017

I loved this article. Just as Princes's music does, it created in me thoughts of Christ and my life struggle to separate what edifies and what doesn't. It is a struggle to edify and be edified as we use the tools and world that Christ made for us. It is our heart that matters and our desire to give Him our all. Christ will decide what is grain and what is chaff. Music has the power to move us to worship and praise God. But not all music inspires all people. So if something doesn't touch you, or if someone's struggle doesn't fit your sense of normal, are they wrong? It is interesting to note that at one time John Calvin thought all music was sinful. Music touches my soul. I know what brings me closer to God and what doesn't. As long as I strive for his will, he makes it holy.

Mackenzie C
November 19, 2017

Psalm 51: 5 states that we are all born sinners and seen as sinners in the eyes of God. Yet, he continues to love us and stand by our side. God alone truly knows us, and God alone truly knows what's in Prince's heart. I pray that Prince may grow in his relationship with God.

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