Newly Saved Rapper Ja Rule: ‘I Just Didn't Think That The Church People Would Welcome Me With Open Arms’
By Arty Simmons:: EEW Magazine News Reporter
It has been said by many an outsider that trying to fit in among Christians often wrongly perceived as perfect, while knowing you don’t have a squeaky clean past, is intimidating.
Former gangster rapper Ja Rule, born Jeff Atkins, who recently gave his life to Jesus and now considers himself saved, echoes these sentiments. "I just didn't think that the church people would welcome me with open arms,” said the 37-year-old Queens native in an interview with LA Times.
Ja Rule stars in the newly-released faith-based film, “I’m In Love With A Church Girl,” currently the #1 indie film in the country. In it, he plays Miles Montego, a drug dealer turned concert promoter—a character based on the life of Church Girl screenwriter, Galley Molina, a former drug trafficker who found God after he began dating a real-life church girl.
The PG-rated film, co-starring Adrienne Bailon, is produced by Reverence Gospel Media (RGM) of which Molina is Founder and CEO and worship leader Israel Houghton is Vice President.
"I was kind of nervous they would be like, 'Why would you pick him to be in a faith-based film? He's not a Christian. He doesn't even go to church,’” said Ja Rule, who shot the movie in 2010, before heading to prison to serve 2 years for weapon possession and tax evasion charges.
Let Ja Rule tell it, church just wasn’t the place for his kind.
But when Molina took the rapper to Hillsong Church in New York, headed up by 34-year-old Carl Lentz, pastor of Oklahoma City Thunder player and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports signee, Kevin Durant, Ja Rule’s mind changed.
Lentz, whose sermon recently broke Justin Bieber down, prompting the pop superstar to tweet about it, managed to touch the heart of Ja Rule as well.
"I felt comfortable there," Rule told LA Times. "The people looked just like me, they were dressed like me — nobody was in there in suits and ties all stuffy hitting you with the 'God is good now, brother' — that fake Christian stuff."