Ok, so to make some disclaimers... before the criticism born of misunderstanding. I'm not recommending that you listen to Eminem. Let me give you some reasons why I sometimes do, along with some important context.
First, Eminem is a brilliant young man, whose history has both warped his view of reality and the world, and imbedded a certain deep anger within that he's wrestling with.
Second, he's fabulously talented.
Third, I listen to and read pop culture and art in order to understand the culture in which we live. When you exegete the culture through its pop artists, art, literature and the like with focused critical thinking, faith in the Spirit for discernment, a guarded heart (remember, it was Jesus who warned us about how "input" effects "output") you begin to discern several things.
- You can begin to understand the culture's hermeneutic - or way or interpreting reality.
- You can begin to develop a language to effectively communicate with that culture. Remember, communicating with micro-cultures is just as difficult work as it can be to translate and communicate with traditional overseas missions cultures. (I just realized that I've never explained this. Another blog series. Remind me.)
- The purpose, of course, would be to be able to communicate the Gospel as Paul does at places like Mars Hill and elsewhere by telling the gospel story in a way the culture understands. (Maybe sometime I'll write about how Paul uses the pop-culture of his time in several places to teach/ preach about the gospel.)
Fourth, I think it's important to have discussions like these within a community of faith, to evaluate the culture, to understand how a Christian world and life view compares to other views on the world, and to seek bridges between these worlds. (I suppose this is going to get us into a conversation of Christ-Culture debate. I've thought a lot about that, and am definitely in the camp of Christ transforming culture, but not necessarily by mimicking it. More on that later, too.)
Fifth, a good beat and well written lyrics, well, 'nuff said.
Ok, lastly, I wasn't implying that the music of Eminem was a sacrament, or that poetry was for that matter. However, because I don't have a sacred-secular dichotomization in my understanding of the world, I think that many things are sacramental in terms of contact with the divine, which is, of course, different from the whole discussions of Sacraments with a capital "S" as means of grace.
Enough aside for now.
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