I remember when I first looked at this picture, I thought, "what a cute, happy child." You may think the same... in fact, I sure hope you do, because he is just like any other cute little boy. I'm trying to be sneaky, I do have more information about this boy that maybe I should give you. He was born in St. Joseph, Kansas on October the 17th, in 1972, to Debbie Nelson when she was only 15, named after his father, Marshall Mathers Jr, now into his 30's he is known as Marshall Mathers III. If you're still confused, this little boy is better known in the Pop Culture world as Eminem. Is the kid still cute?
As I said, my first thought was "what a cute, happy child," but as I learned who this little boy was the thought continued to, "what happened?" Maybe this needs a bit more explanation first. There is a reason why this topic interested me so much. I was actually doing some work for Canada Youth Culture, because the syllabus said we need to listen to some songs by Eminem. The textbook is a little out of date, because Eminem isn't so popular anymore, but it reminded me of a time, less than a few years ago, BEFORE I was a Christian, when I would listen to music like this all the time. I never really thought of it then. But to get the songs for class, I called up one of my friends and asked her to send me some of my old music. One song in particular that I used to really like was the song "Square Dance." Before I was a christian I was having major problems with my family life and church, and before I was a Christian, I felt that this song did an extremely good job at expressing my anger at towards the Church.
But as I listened to it this time, I listened as a Christian. I have no anger towards the church, and I know Jesus as my God and Saviour and I thank him as often as I can for every blessing. So as I listened, I couldn't help but realize not how hateful the music was, but more how angry the music was. Yeah, it can be argued that these two emotions are extremely similar, but just keep reading. That's when my friend showed me this picture. I was perplexed... how could that little boy in the photo be so incredibly angry as a 30 year old? What happened? That's when I noticed, to my extreme surprise, my intense feeling of compassion, and sorrow that someone could have been so hurt to be that angry.
At this point, I sat in my dorm room, and I realized how some people at Tyndale are so blind to their own ignorance. Last year, I arrived in September, having being a Christian for such a short time, I remember having so many conversations with other students on the topic of Eminem. They had a wide range of comments, expressing their hatred for Eminem and his anti-christian attitude. So at this point I would ask what songs the know by Eminem, and they would name "Slim Shady Please Stand Up" (the actual name of the song is "The Real Slim Shady") or the song "My Name Is." Those were the only songs they knew of by Eminem. Then, what I found the funniest, was that most would admit to never, not once hearing these songs.
Before I go any further, it must be noted, I'm NOT talking about all Tyndale students here, and I am NOT saying that Eminem's music doesn't have violent, vulgar, and anti-christian language. I am merely using Tyndale as an example of the Christian community as a whole. Its the same every church I go. SO many Christians have SO much to say about D-12, yet know nothing about the group, or its leader. The way I see it, if you're going to criticize any music, at least listen to it first. I listened to Eminem most of my life, There are thousands of "Eminems" in the world, and I feel that rather than looking at him with hatred, and prejudice, they should be viewed with compassion, and care. We should look at this picture and think, "What went wrong? How can we as Christians prevent it?" Before I was a Christian my reasons for being angry with the church were because people viewed me in a similar way they viewed Eminem. But viewing people in this way only furthers the problem. Eminem himself says this "quit giving me my ammo / Can't you see why i'm so mean? if y'all leave me alone, this wouldn't be my M.O." is a line from his song "My Dad's Gone Crazy." (M.O. means Modus Operandi, and is a police term for "Mode Of Operation").
So I hope this doesn't offend anyone, again, I'm not saying every person at Tyndale, or every Christian is like this, I just notice a lot of people are. And I'm not saying we should all go out and listen to Eminem, but if you are someone with this point of view, maybe we can look on these people with compassion, and the love of Christ, rather than condemning them.
Those are just the thoughts that came across as I saw the picture, I just found it interesting and sad that that little boy could grow into the person he is now. No one should have to endure pain like that, the hard part is trying to communicate Christ's love to someone in his position.