Friday, December 16, 2005

Eminem Knows Best

All truth is God's truth, right? Then I'd like to affirm the truth of an Eminem song. (I love finding truth in unexpected places.) I was driving home from work tonight when I heard his song When I Am Gone on the radio. It is about his relationship with his daughter and wife (I think they got back together), and it describes how difficult it is to be a good dad while doing anything else, especially being a megasuperstar. Marshall Mathers is growing up, setting a good example, and giving a voice to a new generation of fathers.


Anonymous said...

What are you smoking?

A said...

Do you mean Eminem?

Anonymous said...

No I think he means Robb the how bizarre out there can you get with this as a "truth" of God's.

A said...

I wasn't inquiring of anonymous, as to who he was referring to in asking the question, "What are you smoking?"

Robb referred to the artist as Eminen and I think he meant Eminem.

Robb said...

First of all, yes, A, I meant Eminem, and the spelling error is fixed.

Second of all, tonight, I am smoking A Fuente Gran Reserva, fine gift of fine friends in Michigan.

Third of all, is there not truth in this song? Did you read the lyrics or just the name of the artist? The song is about the struggles of being a father, about how careers hone in on family life, and about how one dad is finally realizing that he made the wrong choice by choosing his career over his family. Is that not true? And if it's true, doesn't it conform with God and his will? And if it conforms with God and his will, why can't I affirm it and celebrate it and rejoice in it?

Great song, Eminem. One of many.

John said...

What up, Robb? A Fuente, nice!

Interesting argument developing here. After seeing how hip hop music and specifically eminem has influenced the kids that I minister to, I am quite reluctant to think of him as a good example or a speaker of truth.

The first thought that comes to my mind is "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while." It seems to me that Mr. Mathers has aimlessly stumbled upon one of GOD's timeless truths.

Em's love for his daughter is simply a reflection of how God created us, not a reaction to Him.

After hearing some 13 year old's sing the song, "Fack", recently (check out the lyrics to that one) I can't suggest that Eminem is a positive example of anything noble. If I did, teenagers and adults (sadly enough) would both use my endorsement as justification for his music.

As James puts it, a salt spring can't produce fresh water.

Just my thoughts. Take it for what it's worth. Feel free to refute. Just wanted to give my 2 cents.

Robb said...


You make valid points. The pressure of keeping the constituents happy is great (I hate to put it in those terms, but you know what I mean). I have repeatedly run the risk of endorsing things people didn't think I should endorse by using controversial examples of goodness.

My hope has always been to teach discernment - when something is bad, run away from it, but when something is good, embrace it. Can we teach people to be wise enough to be able to tell the difference between a quality song and a sub-quality one? Especially in these days of iTunes, such a prospect ought to be available to us, because you don't have to buy the whole album to get a good song.

On the grander scale, I always struggle with Christians being the garbage police, running around looking for something bad to complain about. I much prefer to find the good - to find God - in unexpected places ... like in an Eminem song, or in a Rolling Stone magazine, or in a movie like Crash, or on CNN.

The Fuente was nice. You growing your hair out? Looks good.

Josh Powers said...

What I have learned from "fack" is that, if we had sex robots and cloning, we could avoid a lot of the complications of sin, like gerbils stuck up our butt.

klasieprof said...

WHen working with Prisoners or Parolees I had to deal with Many Items being shoved where the sun doesn't shine.
BUT in my newfound clarity, defer to offer those options here.

jyoevkut: the sound a WIDE mouth canning jar makes when removed surgically from "where sun doesn't Shine" exit hole.

Robb said...

I am shaking my head right now.

Sara said...

Robb, I have come to the conclusion that someday i'm going to see you and Vanessa in the headline of a newspaper, and you're going to end up on the cnn network...

(i'm not implying you're going to get kidnapped or something.)

I really think that you and the others involved in your ministry are going to do something unlike the church or America has ever seen before.

Just thought i'd say, that i may not be able to participate at the moment because i'm still figuring things out for myself, but i'm praying and askiing God to bless this and you guys as much as he possibly can...

You've always supported my decisions of faith, and i'm going to support yours.

Thumbs up for walking in faith! I hope that i can and will stick to my own convictions and stand up for what i believe as much as you and vanessa have yours.

I love you guys.

John said...

I agree that we can find God in unexpected places like an Eminem song. No doubt. But I think that referring to him as a good example is a stretch. Discernent tells me that though this may be a decent song (amongst a few others) it doesn't make him a good example. For example, the smashing pumpkins are probably my favorite band and the spiritual themes in their music are quite frequent yet I would still hesitate to put such a label on them. Frankly, I wouldn't put the good example label on most Christians. Like you said, no one likes the garbage police.

Discernment to me is not just about finding God in unexpected places. There is so much more to it. Those who know Christ, should probably see God (his character or his plan at work) in every situation seeing as he is the creator, writer, director, and producer of all that is. Fidel Castro, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Charles Darwin, R Kelly, Che Guevera, Hitler, bin Laden, Darth Vader etc. etc. etc....have all stumbled upon elements of truth and tripped over part of God's creation so there is a lesson to be learned from them(maybe even a positive one). But discernment tells me that they aren't a good example or a voice of fatherhood, leadership, religion, the force etc. You have to dig much deeper to figure out the whole story they are telling.

I promise, I'm not garbage police. If I was the garbage police, the first thing I would do is lock up 95% of Christian artists and professed "Christian" mainstream crossovers.

Again, just my opinion.

Josh Powers said...

It rings true John. And I agree with your critique of CCM. I would like to see some suggestions of what criterion we should use when judging music. It's a complex issue that is rooted in deep elements of our worldview, but I'd still love to see some attempts.

rocket said...

Let's go to Grenz. Who Needs Theology? p. 128. "It is not sufficient simply to discover the theology at work in our culture; we must interact with it. Thus we probe further: How does this theology square with Christian conviction? To what extent is what I see here a helpful contemporary expression of biblical theology? Is the gospel present here? Or am I finding non-Christian, even antibiblical beliefs at work?...We must also challenge our culture: What do I find here that compels me to respond with an unflinching no? And how would sound Christian doctrine correct the bad theology operative here."

I'm finding enough antibiblical stuff in this song to seriously question whether or not it is a "helpful contemporary expression of biblical theology". The first verse has karma. The chorus has an incorrect view of afterlife. The second verse includes cursing.

While the main thought of the struggles of being a father are good, I believe there are enough "antibiblical beliefs" here to disqualify this from being a "helpful contemporary expression of biblical theology".

A said...

Huh. In the words of Hurley from Lost, "Didn't see that one comin'."


Robb said...

Rocket, you're taking that Colts loss hard, aren't you?

rocket said...

I am. But I've learned a lot from Browns fans on how to deal with disappointment. :)