5 religious leaders weigh in on Drake's version of God’s plan
A pastor, a rabbi, and other religious leaders consider the viral video and its holy message.
Drake's video for "God's Plan" isn't short on emotions. The visual, which Drake called "the most important thing I've ever done in my career," finds the Toronto native giving away nearly $1 million throughout the city of Miami. In one scene, he stops in a grocery store and pays for everyone's groceries, encouraging shoppers to buy as much as they want. He also donates money to a high school, gives a student a full ride to college, and signs a check to a women's shelter. At the video's climax, he stops one family on the Miami sidewalk and hands them a stack of money. Every time he gives, he beams.
Drake's presence in the wide array of charity has been a point of contention for some. Giving a lot, some people have pointed out, is always great, but giving while boasting about giving can change the narrative. And in some cases, Drake himself seems to be part of the gift, with shots of him sneaking up and bringing a fan to immediate tears presented just as lovingly as when he hands the same shocked fan a wad of money. On Ebro in the Morning, DJ Peter Rosenberg called the video into question explicitly, arguing that Drake's charity seemed to serve him a little too much, which didn't line up with their shared tenets of Judaism. On Twitter, fans held similar arguments, suggesting that filming the acts of good will diminished them. In all cases one fact remains true: no one really knows God's plan, not even Drake.
Still, some people might be closer to the plan than others. The FADER reached out to religious leaders across the spectrum to find out just as close — or far — Drake's vision got to the real thing.
Brandon Woodard, Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, Memphis, TN
"First of all, I love Drake... Yes, I am a pastor as well. That is another topic for another day. A cursory look at the video, yes! There are multiple angles I can go with this but I will use a basic argument for my position. In the book of Genesis, Abraham (you know the song, "Father Abraham had many sons... Okay... nevermind) was told by God that he would receive an awesome blessing but then God tells him this, "2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gen 12:2-3
God tells him in so many words you are blessed to be a blessing. This same idea carries throughout the Bible. Those who follow Jesus should be known by their love for others (John 13:34-35), how they care for the least of these(Matthew 25:31-40), how they interact with immigrant, orphan, etc. We are told to be salt and light (Mt 5:13-16), show self-sacrificing love (John 15:13). In the video, Drake is displaying how this can happen. I am not saying, all Christians need to give close to $1 million dollars away, but what I am saying is that we should be those who do our best to meet the needs of our community and people we come in contact with. We don't do this to get something, but to serve and be a blessing! (Mark 10:45).
We don't do these things to prove to God we love him or earn his love but we do things, similar to what Drake did, to express our joy and love for the fact that God loved us so much that he gave His Son to meet our most desperate need, the payment for our sins.
I believe this was a wonderful act that Drake did and we need to see more of it. I cannot judge a man's heart, and question why Drake did it... I will say this, I am glad he did what he did. Christians should be able to look at this video and be reminded of the call we have. The question I believe Christians should walk away asking themselves after watching this video is simply this, "How am I being a blessing to others around me?"
Mona Haydar, The Islamic Center at NYU, New York, NY
"The video had me in tears and made me wish that we would talk seriously about things like reparations in America for indigenous and Black peoples. It made me think about stolen lands and stolen peoples and the inequity we see as a result of those oppressions and how we become numb to it like the way we come to see poverty as simply the condition of a people instead of a symptom of systemic infrastructural injustice. People say that the system is broken and I don't believe that's true — I think the system is fully functional and is rigged the way it is to keep some people up and some people down. The video reminded me of unfettered capitalism and the destruction of our Earth mother.
Music and art can be healing, they have the power to bring people together in a way few other things can. Maybe food is one other thing which can do it to the degree that music can. I believe in the power of music to heal. I believe in the power of music to transform. Every song, every melody, every note can be an opportunity to grow towards our collective enlightenment - owning our power in the way of Love. We are all connected and I love that Drake is using his influence to serve love, beauty and dignity- with honor and grace. People might have things to say about it
— even I could critique it but I'm more interested in building than tearing down. Let's keep growing together on this path towards love. let's build infrastructures which right the wrongs of the world. I believe we can do that. Love can do that. Love like the tears of a mother who knows she can feed her children for another few nights — love can do that."
“As for God’s actual plan, who knows what that plan may be?” — Eddie Stern
Richard Lawson, Dean of Saint John’s Cathedral, Denver, CO
“Balancing my own sanity . . . I just gotta come home.” Drake’s spoken words at the start of his “God’s Plan” video get at the huge journey we are all on — where are we headed? “God’s Plan” is pretty reflective and even kind of prayerful, in my view. It’s dangerous for anybody to claim to know God’s plan in detail, so I love that Drake doesn’t get too specific, and instead evokes how we long for God’s Plan, a God who is real but always more than we can grasp in the moment. And I might be reading way too much into the line about loving his girl “only partly,” (“I only love my bed and my momma”) but this line reminds me of the fairly traditional thought from several religions that God — not money or sex and such — is the one to whom all hearts are open and all desires known."
Eddie Stern, Director of the Brooklyn Ganesh Temple, Brooklyn, NY
"So I watched the video, and read the lyrics. I have no idea what Drake is talking about, but the song is great. No wonder it’s number 1.
As for God’s actual plan, who knows what that plan may be? Giving away money to people in need and to programs that will help kids is certainly a good use of money, whether you have a lot of it, or a little of it. On the one hand, people might say that it is a bit self-serving of Drake to film and flaunt his charitable acts. However, one would hope that other people watching his video will be inspired to do the same. It’s good to be inspired by people we admire to think beyond ourselves, and to reach out to those in need. Most religious and spiritual traditions hold that true happiness is found in connecting with the people and world around us, because it is a shared happiness, a shared joy, and not just the pursuit of our own, individual happiness. Shared joy is much more fulfilling. Fulfillment in life is not just having enough money, or having a lot of stuff, it’s about actually fulfilling our souls with shared joy, and shared goodness.
That’s my two cents. And I love Drake."
Rabbi Elie Karfunkel, Forest Hill Jewish Centre, Toronto, ON
"Beautiful song...no further comment."