Trying to describe my likes in music is like trying to describe what a bag of Jelly Belly’s taste like—the flavors are of a varied kind. That being said, I was raised on my Dad’s penchant for classic country music, like: Hank Williams Jnr, Merle Haggard, and Alabama; but you could throw in the influence of the 1960’s rock too: The Doors, The Animals, or anything by Joe Cocker (CCR for good measure too).
Then growing up in the music of the 80’s and 90’s just bent me towards the emergence of Hip-Hop, Pop, and the blend of “Hair-Metal.” So ask me what music I like and you might hear something like, “I really like some of the stuff that Cypress Hill did back in 1990,” while I do the New Kids on the Block Dance from ‘The Right Stuff’ while humming the Macarena (at a whisper anyway, I have to protect my reputation to some degree).
All that said, I want to approach important themes and mantras of my own generation and interpret them in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, when I examine the lyrics of the Beastie Boys’ No Sleep, I learn that our culture is greatly confused about what makes man, well, manly. Obviously with the vernacular of Hip-Hop idioms slang and denigrating words like “whore” and “hos” is something that is assigned to classifying women as cheap and easy and men as the mighty sexual conqueror.
Within the confines of the loud beats of No Sleep we hear a group of males identify their masculinity within the context of sexual triumph and fame. For example:
Ain’t no faking, your money I’m taking
Going coast to coast, watching all the girlies shaking
While you’re at the job working nine to five
The Beastie Boys are at the Garden, cold kickin’ it live
But the scriptures teach us masculinity isn’t enveloped in fame, fortune, or sexual exploits. Instead, the scriptures teach us that masculinity is grounded in God’s creative design. God created Adam to be a shepherd of the Garden and a watchman, but in the fall the cosmos came under God’s curse where the relationship between man and woman, male and female begin to be subverted because of sin.
Because of the curse we see manifestations of God’s design, something good like subduing the Earth (cf. Gen 1:28), getting twisted in different ways—where people no longer walk as friends and equals, but as masters and slaves. Men begin to look at women as objects to be conquered; women can sometimes look at man as someone to manipulate or to be controlled.
However, in Christ’s resurrection we begin to see the universe being put back in its proper order through the process of re-creation; through the Spirit of Christ, the sin that once kept men enslaved to a mentality of sexual triumph, have now been liberated to commit themselves in covenant love to a wife they intend on shepherding. What we would call a picture of biblical masculinity and the Gospel (cf. Eph 5:21-33), not the false bravado of No Sleep.
Join me later this week as I examine part II of No Sleep…and the longing for home.