I've given a few talks over the years on the music of Eminem. Mostly, these talks were to younger audiences who were interested in a Christian's take on Eminem's message and music. Along the way, I started to reflect on the how issue. How should I approach Eminem's music? What ought my stance and attitude be?
What follows is the manifesto I wrote for myself.
I approach the topic of Eminem’s music with fear and trembling because I am a follower of Jesus Christ.
On the one hand, if I excoriate Eminem without truly spending time with him, I am diverging radically from the path of my Master, who was a friend of sinners, and a refuge for the social outcast. More than that, I can identify with Eminem as one who is an outcast, who is stuggling to deal with the brokenness of the world. His story is my story.
On the other hand, much of Eminem’s music reflects the corruption and decadence of our culture, and I am to do my best to protect myself and others from being “spotted by the world:” something that the Bible continually warns against. So, in my interactions with Eminem I stand on dangerous and narrow ground, with the chasm of self-righteousness on one side and pollution on the other. This is, as far as I can tell, the only choice for the Christian.