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Monday
Feb012016

Photos of Kirk Franklin in the studio with Kanye West surface as the gospel producer says ‘I wanna sit where the sinners are’

Photo Credit: InstagramArticle By Emily Black // EEW Magazine Reporter

A gospel veteran gets social media talking as he takes ministry beyond the four walls of the church

Share No one expects to see Kirk Franklin hanging out with mainstream rappers Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Diddy and French Montana.

Yet, photos of the award-winning gospel composer, along with a bunch of mainstream rappers popped up on Instagram over the weekend, whipping Twitter into a frenzy.

“Is that Kirk Franklin?” several commenters asked.

Indeed, it was.

Around the same time the photographs surfaced, the 46-year-old platinum-selling “Stomp” writer tweeted, “I want to sit where the sinners are...the well sometimes make me sick.”

He was alluding to the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:12 where, in response to the Pharisees questioning why he spent time with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

Franklin, who some unconfirmed sources say is working with Kanye on his new Waves album, is known for kicking against and shaking up traditional church culture.

Photo Credit: Instagram“Ok...the point of my heart was the subculture of Christianity, where we just sit and go back and forth can be frustrating while the lost are dying and confused by our preaching but our living is not always the same,” said Franklin, elaborating on why he prefers hanging around the lost.

His social commentary jibes with the message of his chart-topping album Losing My Religion, which condemns rules-based, merit-focused religion in favor of grace-centered compassion found in a true relationship with God.

“I'd rather be trying to win them instead of arguing with ‘us,’” continued Franklin’s mini Twitter sermon. “Sorry if I confused anyone. I'm tired of practicing, I want to get in the field and play. That's all,” he added.

What Franklin calls “playing in the field,” meaning intermingling with unbelievers resulted in those now infamous Instagram snaps that got tongues wagging.

Though he has not revealed whether he is, in fact, musically collaborating with the “Jesus Walks” rapper on his Feb. 11 release, it would not come as a surprise.

Based on past discourse, the 25-year gospel industry veteran feels more at home among the unchurched.

Last January, in a blog post, Franklin wrote,I trusted Christ as my savior at the age of 15. Even then, there was something about the Christian church environment that made me feel like I was left out of some secret private meeting.”

He explained, “There had to be a place where everybody was learning how to talk — whether they were greeting someone, responding during the preacher's sermon, or using quotes that seemed to be out of some starter manual for new beginner Christians.”

Because of the focus on behavior modification and codes of conduct, Franklin said he felt isolated in his struggle to answer deeper questions.

“I sometimes questioned if God was even real. Was His Word even true? I seemed more like a heretic than a part of the 'Christian Club.’”

These days, instead of struggling to fit into a mold, Franklin is breaking it and gaining new fans in the process—both in the church and beyond its four walls.

RELATED: Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett celebrate birthday

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